+1 (321) 345-1462

DoJR

Documentation of Jewish Records Worldwide

Building JCat, the world’s most comprehensive catalog of historical documents of Jewish lives.

MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY

 

  • 77% of people who identify as Jewish have interest in knowing their ancestors.
  • Discovering ancestors and their stories requires finding the records that document their lives. Only 15% of existing records have been identified — fewer still are easily searched. DoJR will discover and inventory in JCat the 85% unknown records, often hidden-in-plain-sight and the majority not labeled Jewish.
  • JCat will be a freely searchable catalog available to all — family history researchers, historians, and academics.
  • We are rediscovering lives, rescuing our lost history, and building the library of the Jewish world.

Huge Impact

 

  • Discovery of previously unknown ancestors and living relatives for the Jewish world — Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi, Crypto, Converso — in all countries of the Diaspora
  • Knowledge that will influence our lives — who came before us, their life stories, hereditary diseases and inherited traits
  • Jewish continuity strengthened by the stories that bind us and our connections to generations of family and descendants
  • Resilience, self-esteem, and confidence to confront life’s challenges* Children who know their family’s stories have higher self-esteem, greater resilience, and greater confidence to confront challenges. Bruce Feiler, author of Secrets of Happy Families and NY Times article “The Stories that Bind Us”, based on research findings of Emory University’s Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivrush.
  • A gift to pass on to future generations

INNOVATION

 

  • New methods are being utilized to tackle what previously was an intractable problem. Methods for discovering relevant records in use for the past 40 years are increasingly inefficient and insufficient.
  • Technology advances in artificial intelligence (AI), named entity recognition (NER), natural language processing (NLP), big data architectures, archival description standards, and new business and social methods now can be applied to large scale projects in the search for Jewish records.
  • The DoJR’s systematic approach will result in an exponential increase in the number of records collections discovered.
  • Working within and partnering across the genealogical and archival  communities will  further advance our collective missions to make more records available faster and avoid unnecessary duplication of work.

Making the Case

    • See how ancestral discovery touched Carole King.
    • Your gift will change lives and leave a legacy for the Jewish world.
    • Each $180 gift can rediscover 75 lives.
    • A fully funded DoJR project can deploy 30 professional multi-lingual researchers to conduct surveys around the globe, support hundreds of volunteers, and process 1,000,000 digital historic images annually.

      MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY

       

      • 77% of people who identify as Jewish have interest in knowing their ancestors.
      • Discovering ancestors and their stories requires finding the records that document their lives. Only 15% of existing records have been identified — fewer still are easily searched. DoJR will discover and inventory in JCat the 85% unknown records, often hidden-in-plain-sight and the majority not labeled Jewish.
      • JCat will be a freely searchable catalog available to all — family history researchers, historians, and academics.
      • We are rediscovering lives, rescuing our lost history, and building the library of the Jewish world.

      Huge Impact

       

      • Discovery of previously unknown ancestors and living relatives for the Jewish world — Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi, Crypto, Converso — in all countries of the Diaspora
      • Knowledge that will influence our lives — who came before us, their life stories, hereditary diseases and inherited traits
      • Jewish continuity strengthened by the stories that bind us and our connections to generations of family and descendants
      • Resilience, self-esteem, and confidence to confront life’s challenges* Children who know their family’s stories have higher self-esteem, greater resilence, and greater confidence to confront challenges. Bruce Feiler, author of Secrets of Happy Families and NY Times article “The Stories that Bind Us”, based on research findings of Emory University’s Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivrush.
      • A gift to pass on to future generations

      INNOVATION

       

      • New methods are being utilized to tackle what previously was an intractable problem. Methods for discovering relevant records in use for the past 40 years are increasingly inefficient and insufficient.
      • Technology advances in artificial intelligence (AI), named entity recognition (NER), natural language processing (NLP), big data architectures, and archival description standards and new business and social methods now can be applied to large scale projects in the search for Jewish records.
      • The DoJR’s systematic approach will result in an exponential increase in the number of records collections discovered.
      • Working within and partnering across the genealogical and archival  communities will  further advance our collective missions to make more records available faster and avoid unnecessary duplication of work.

      Making the Case

        • See how ancestral discovery touched Carole King.
        • Your gift will change lives and leave a legacy for the Jewish world.
        • Each $180 gift can rediscover 75 lives.
        • A fully funded DoJR project can deploy 30 professional multi-lingual researchers to conduct surveys around the globe, support hundreds of volunteers, and process 1,000,000 digital historic images annually.

          How We Do It

          What We Look For

          We look for records that provide information about Jewish lives. Birth, marriage, death and other vital records are only the tip of the iceberg. More than 350 different record types are useful for ancestral research.  We have created a Master Checklist for use in conducting systematic and comprehensive surveys of archival collections to identify relevant materials for entry into JCat.

          Where We Look

          We look in facilities such as archives, historical societies, libraries, and museums –  Jewish and secular. We have identified 40 categories of Jewish organizations that potentially hold records of our ancestors such as synagogues, schools, federations, community centers, chevra kadisha, social welfare, and more. We look for individuals who may have come into possession of records such as yizkor plaques discarded by a shuttered synagogue. We  filter online catalogues and databases for relevant digital files. And we will crowdsource information about record collections from individuals in the genealogy community.

          Our Progress

          Pilot Project Finds 116K Lives

          Based on pilot projects conducted in Mikolayev, Ukraine, and Kielce, Poland, previously unknown records documenting the lives of 116,000 Jewish individuals were discovered — hidden in plain sight. As a result of only 4 weeks work by 2 professional researchers, 580,000 descendants now have new ancestral records, can add new members to their family tree, and add context to their lives and history. The DoJR Pilot Project was funded by Gilad Japhet, CEO of MyHeritage.

          Scaling the DoJR Project

          The DoJR project plans to deploy 30 professional researchers  supplemented by dozens of regional volunteer teams. We will grow the volunteer base through the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ (IAJGS) global network of 95 Jewish genealogical societies.

          Scaling DoJR with AI & Preserving Our Language

          Using AI, DoJR can process millions of document pages in a few hours to determine if they are relevant to Jewish ancestral discovery. We have trained the AI engine to read 200-year-old handwritten Polish and Russian documents. Yiddish and Ladino are critical languages for the DoJR project. The number of knowledgable translators is rapidly diminishing. Work is underway to develop AI models to read historical documents in these languages — while we still can.

          Australia-Victoria Survey

          The first JGS survey team has documented nearly 5,000 record collections documenting Jewish lives in the state of Victoria, Australia. As the COVID pandemic eases, the local team will contact an additional 160+ local organizations to survey their holdings of relevant records and add them to JCat.

          Venezuela Rescue Project

          Nearly 80% of the Jewish population has left Venezuela in recent years, and the country’s infrastructure is at risk. Also at risk is the entire history of Jewish life in Venezuela — their documents, their records, and our knowledge about where to find them. We are surveying what still is available so that we can prioritize and preserve the records before they are lost or destroyed — while we still can.

          This is Just the Beginning…