Does your family have Jewish heritage? If so, you may want to check out The Knowles Collection. It has more than one million entries now, and is accessible through FamilySearch. As you may know, FamilySearch is a genealogy website that can be used for free.
FamilySearch is a nonprofit family history organization that is the largest genealogy organization in the world. The primary benefactor of FamilySearch is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FamilySearch website can be used by anyone at all – including people who don’t happen to be Mormon. All are welcome!
The founder of The Knowles Collection is Todd Knowles, who is a Jewish genealogy specialist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The collection started from his desire to know more about his Jewish ancestors. He started by searching for information about his great-great-grandfather, a man named Morris David Rosenbaum, who was a Polish Jew. The genealogy of Morris David Rosenbaum became the backbone of the Knowles Collection at FamilySearch.
All of the records in The Knowles Collection are sourced. Each one shows the name of the person (or persons) who donated the records. This information enables cousins to contact one another. Once connected, the cousins can get to know each other, share family photos, and share family stories that have been handed down from one generation to the next.
The Knowles Collection currently has over one million entries. New records are added continually. FamilySearch says the collection grows by about 10,000 names per month. Those names come from over 80 countries. In addition, corrections are made as needed, and new links are added.
The databases from The Knowles Collection has something unique happening. The people in the database are linked as families and the collection can be searched by name. In other words, a researcher can gain access to records of entire families. That’s different from how other databases or collections at FamilySearch are used.
Other Jewish communities, outside of FamilySearch, have begin adding their own records to the Knowles Collection online. The collection started with a category called Jews of the British Isles. That collection now has 208,349 records. New categories of records have been added since, including Jews of North America (489,400 records), Jews of Europe (380,637 records), Jews of South America and the Caribbean (21,351 records), and Jews of Africa, the Orient, and the Middle East (37,618 records). The newest category is Jews of the Southern Pacific. It has 21,518 records.
Want to add records of your own? The best way is to contact Todd Knowles at The Knowles Collection website. While you are there, you might want to browse through the blog and read some of the posts.
Image by Xuan Che on Flickr.
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