22 August 2009

Philly 2009: Sephardic Internet resources

As promised, here's a report on a Philly 2009 session with Jeff Malka on Sephardic internet resources.

Jeff is the author of the award-winning "Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World" (Avotaynu 2002; and the just-published expanded second edition, 2009).

For Tracing the Tribe readers looking for resources for their Sephardic quest, here's a run-down on the program. Many of which are resources are linked to Jeff's own growing site, SephardicGen.com:


- Consolidated searchable index of Sephardic names - Consolidated Name Index – has some 73,000 names, will have more than 120,000.
- SephardicGen searchable databases
- Gazeteer of Sephardic Countries
- Sephardic Family Pages
- Sephardic Names
- Alain Farhi's LesFleurs de L'Orient contains the genealogy of Sephardic families from the Ottoman Empire and Middle East, with some 96,000 individuals in the current database.

Said Jeff: The user guide is extremely interesting. Alain began with his own family and added in marriage links to others. Some problems are that material is user-donated, some is not well documented. "As with any genealogy site, take it with a grain of salt." He discussed the Iraqi Dangoor family, descended from the exhilarch (King of the Jews) when he was exiled to Babylon, as well as the ancient Malka family.
- Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture (FASSC)

This site focuses on the eastern Mediterranean, rabbis of various communities, some linked to databases, etc.
- Sephardim.com, with an extensive index of family names and heraldry.

Although originally culture and cuisine, it now contains very useful information, a name database indexed from valuable books, Sephardic recipes, coats of arms and heraldry (many Sephardic Jewish families had coats of arms), a general guide of how to research, an active discussion group with more than 2,300 people worldwide, and DNA information.
- Etsi

- Hamburg Portuguese Cemetery

- EIRI-Eretz Israel Records Indexing

- Akevoth - Dutch Jewish Genealogical Database

- Inventory of the Portuguese-Jewish Community of Amsterdam Archives

- Istanbul Rabbinate Jewish Records (Marriage and Burial)

- JewishGen's Sephardic SIG

Jeff paid a nice compliment to Tracing the Tribe, naming it as a major source for keeping up to date on what’s happening in the field. Thanks, Jeff.

As far as Jeff's own SephardicGen.com site is concerned, he calls it "confusing" (in a good sense) because there's so much material. Categories include Sephardic history, Sephardic genealogy, websites by country and topic, Sephardic gazetter and a world atlas.

There are some 50 searchable databases. Jeff’s purpose in organizing his site was to help people, raise awareness and become interested. He considers it to be a one-stop site.

There's also a new phonetic soundex. The older Daitch-Mokotoff was organized to help with Ashkenazi and Eastern Europen names. The newer Beider-Morse system is more useful for Sephardic names.

If you are just starting out to research your Sephardic family, consider beginning at SephardicGen.com

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