The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto operates several projects in service to our mission of supporting Jewish genealogical research.
- Toronto Jewish Families History Project
- Memorial Plaques Indexing Project
- Special Interest Groups & Forums
- Tracing Our Roots – Telling Our Story was our society’s Twenty-fifth Anniversary project
- Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
- Future Project Ideas
- JGS Toronto’s Library Collection
- Cemetery Project
JGS Toronto’s Library Collection
The JGS Toronto’s Library Collection is located at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street (at Bloor Street). The collection is a reference, non-circulating
collection, and is housed in closed stacks on the 2nd floor, in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department.
The collection includes many volumes of local Jewish family history, Who’s Who in Canadian Jewry, genealogical research guides, titles on Jewish surnames, numerous
Yizkor books, and chronicles of the Holocaust. In addition, items relevant to Jewish communities in Canada, United States, and Europe enhance the collection.
The Branching Out column appears regularly in Shem Tov, our Society’s quarterly bulletin, where I feature new acquisitions to the library collection, book reviews, and
articles of genealogical interest. To view the holdings of the JGS Toronto’s Library Collection, click on the Author,
Title, and Subject tabs. However, to appreciate the full extent of the important genealogical resources that are available, plan a visit to the JGS Toronto’s Library
Toronto Jewish Families History Project
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto, in partnership with MyHeritage, is pleased to announce completion of the first phase of the Toronto Jewish Families History Project (TJFHP) and the opening of a searchable on-line database of more than 2,700 names.
The project is based on the hypothesis that many of the early Jewish families in Toronto were related and that they form the backbone of that community. One of our primary aims is to make available important sources of genealogical information to further our knowledge of the genealogical and historical roots of Toronto Jewry. The main years of our study would initially be 1890 to about 1945.
The Goldenberg scrolls were the first component of our project. Some forty years ago or so, the late Dr. Henry Goldenberg (1918-2001), a highly respected physician in Toronto, asked many of his Galician-born patients about their family histories and sketched out their family trees on long sheets of paper from his medical office.
Important: At this time access to the MyHeritage link that displays the Goldenberg tree is only available to Members of JGST.
You can become a member of JGST by clicking on https://jgstoronto.ca/membership/
Memorial Plaques Indexing Project
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), in partnership with JewishGen, launched the Worldwide Memorial Plaques Indexing Project in 2014. “The goal of the Memorial Plaques Indexing Project (MEMPLAQ) event is to preserve Jewish ancestral records and create a valuable source of local data for researchers and family members worldwide.”
The goal for The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto is to add thousands of new entries to the JewishGen’s Memorial Plaques Database from memorial plaques in the Greater Toronto Area.
Some of the benefits from the MEMPLAQ project are:
* the database will serve as a permanent repository for memorial records for current and future generations to come;
* the database will serve as a memorial for Holocaust victims and preserve the names in the future;
* the Hebrew patronymic names will provide a link between two generations for those researching their Jewish ancestors;
* the database will make it easier for relatives to access Yahrzeit dates.
The records can be accessed at no charge at:
For information on how to get your synagogue or institution to participate in this valuable project, please contact:
Special Interest Groups & Forums
JGST SIG’s and networking forums allow members with particular interests to share knowledge, ideas and information. You can connect with other Jewish Genealogy members who have similar goals and challenges, and ask and answer questions on specific topics at one of our member SIG meetings or online discussion forums.
The Cemetery committee is the oldest JGST project, beginning with the creation of the Society in 1985. Starting with the earliest Jewish cemetery in Toronto, the Pape Avenue (Jew’s) Cemetery, JGS Toronto maintains the burial information for Toronto and many other Ontario Jewish cemeteries (and Jewish sections of other Ontario cemeteries) in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). JOWBR is a database of names and other identifying information from Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide, from the earliest records to the present. JOWBR’s aim is to catalogue extant data about Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide.
As part of this effort, JGS Toronto has to-date recorded burial information for almost 85,000 graves. And by 2013, JGS Toronto had photographed virtually all headstones in Toronto and area Jewish cemeteries. Efforts are now underway to add these photographs to the JOWBR records as well as to update the records with more recent headstones.
As genealogists or family historians, we know just how valuable these records can be, particularly for future generations looking for clues to their family heritage. Please consider helping with this most worthwhile project. If you are interested in helping to crop and resize photos to meet JOWBR submission standards, or to take photographs of headstones at local cemeteries, please contact [email protected].
For information regarding a Toronto or Ontario Jewish burial, or to request a headstone photograph, please first consult JOWBR at https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Cemetery/ [free registration to the JewishGen website is required] to locate the burial information (if it exists). If so, please note the cemetery and section names, as well as the plot information, and e-mail your request to [email protected]. Photo requests are monitored on a regular basis and we will send you any existing photos in response. If we do not have a photo in our files, we will try to fulfill your request in a future cemetery visit. There is no charge for this service, although donations at jgstoronto.ca/donate are appreciated. Permission is granted to add photos which we have provided – with attribution (e.g., “Courtesy of JGS Toronto”) – to your family tree and/or other relevant websites.
Tracing Our Roots – Telling Our Story was our society’s Twenty-fifth Anniversary project
It is an anthology of over 45 compelling and entertaining contributions, written by members of our society.
The themes include tales of research and discovery, escape, struggle, family reunion, growing up, lives led. Some will make you laugh, some will have you reminisce and a few may even make you weep.
Winner of 2013 IAJGS Award for Outstanding Publication by a Member Organization.
Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
Click on the Central Database Link below to retrieve information and material about the Yad Vashem Database and the 11th hour names recovery campaign.
Future Project Ideas
If you have an idea for a project, please submit it to: [email protected]