Welcome to the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society!
You're here because you've found Ashkenazi, Sephardi or Mizrahi DNA in your genetic ancestry but you might not be sure what that actually means!
The Australian Jewish Genealogical Society may be able to help you put your Jewish ancestry in some context.
First, which state are you in? There are distinct Jewish Genealogical Societies in Victoria and Western Australia so if you are in these states and need personalised attention please contact them for direct assistance. Alternatively, our websites may be able to get you started on your genealogical journey.
Discovering you have some Jewish heritage can lead to a whole host of other questions. Understanding your Jewish heritage can be a daunting propositions. Finding the roots of your jewish ancestry also poses challenges, especially with the upheavals of the 19th and 20th century, most notably the Holocaust, but also the mass migration spurred on by pogroms and industrialisation.
We have an extensive GETTING STARTED page on this website to help you get your bearings. If you have questions regarding Jewish practice and custom there are sites such as My Jewish Learning and Jewish Virtual Library that may be able to help you gain an understanding of these areas.
Ashkenazi Jews are predominantly European in their origins - although DNA studies have found that most Jews have remnants of Middle Eastern DNA.
Sephardi heritage indicates descent from Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal over 500 years ago. It can also refer to some Jews from Middle Eastern and North African countries, many of whom were actually exiles from Spain and Portugal.
Mizrahi Jews are those predominantly from Iraq and Iran but it can also refer to Jewish communities in the wider Arab world such as Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia.
How much you will be able to find on your ancestors may depend largely on where they came from and when they came to Australia. If they originated in Europe there may be records going back to the start of the 17th century. The LDS Church (The Mormons) collected millions of records over more than a century, now preserved in the Familysearch archives. Many of the microfilms are now being digitised. Most indexes and some digital images of original records are available online but many images are only accessible through designated Family History Centres run by the LDS Church. You can search for the one closest to you at THIS LINK on the Familysearch website.
If your Jewish family originated outside of Europe it may be more challenging to find traces of them; not impossible however. Jewish organisations have worked tirelessly to collect and collate information and records on communities across the world. These are available in a host of databases and resources, links to which are available on this website.
COLLATE covers ways you can organise your data and protect your precious heirlooms.
SHARE offers you a range of ideas on how you can share your research with your family and friends, or even with a wider audience.
We hope these resources help you on your way to discover the richness of your Jewish heritage and we invite you to become a member of our society. We run regular monthly workshops where you can access hard to find resources and help from other members.
Good luck and Shalom.