The JGS Toronto Resources section highlights the projects and public datasets that we have developed to expand access to our Society’s resources. The listings include information about our cemetery and memorial plaque projects, our quarterly journal that has been published since 1985, our library, a database of passenger information (the Rotenberg Ledger), as well as recordings of our public programming, and other supports for members. These resources are available on this website or are shared with partner organizations. The names of these partners are shown in brackets in the titles of those projects. All of these resources are available free of charge, except the most recent two years of programme videos and issues of Shem Tov. If you join JGS Toronto, they will also be open to you.  

Book: “Tracing our Roots, Telling our Stories”, 2011 (JGS Toronto)

On the occasion of our Society’s 25th anniversary, forty-four of our members shared
stories of family, migration, found cousins, loss and discovery, and life in the old
country and in our new country, Canada. While the book is now out of print, a copy is
available in our Library collection at the Toronto Reference Library and copies are also
available for loan at the Toronto Public Library.

Back to top

The Cemetery Project is one of the oldest projects, beginning with the creation of the Society in 1985. Members of JGS Toronto  document the burials in the earliest Jewish cemeteries in Toronto, beginning with the Pape Avenue (Jew’s) Cemetery, first by manually transcribing the information recorded on the headstones, and later by photographing the headstones. This information is made available via the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR), 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.

The Cemetery Project now maintains and updates the burial records for the twelve Toronto-area Jewish cemeteries (over 85,000 records and corresponding photographs to-date), as well as Jewish cemetery sections in fifteen other cities in Ontario (over 4,000 records and photographs as of 2013). Volunteers document the burials in each cemetery section and photograph and transcribe the headstones for updates to JOWBR.

  • The twelve Toronto Jewish cemeteries included in our project are:
  • Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park
  • Beth Tzedec Memorial Park
  • Dawes Road Cemetery
  • Holy Blossom Memorial Park
  • Jones Avenue Cemetery
  • Lambton Hills Cemetery
  • McCowan Road Cemetery
  • Mount Sinai Memorial Park
  • Pape Avenue Cemetery
  • Pardes Chaim Cemetery
  • Pardes Shalom Cemetery
  • Roselawn Avenue Cemetery

Cemeteries in other Ontario cities (does not include those maintained by JGS Hamilton or JGS Ottawa) are:

  • Beth Jacob Congregation of Kitchener-Waterloo                       Kitchener
  • B’nai Israel Cemetery                                                                      St. Catherines
  • Duffin Meadows Cemetery – Sections 2, 10 & 12                      Pickering
  • Elgin Mills Cemetery – Oraynu Congregation                              Richmond Hill
  • Innisvale Cemetery – Am Shalom Congregation                         Innisfil
  • Krugerdorf Hebrew Cemetery                                                        Krugerdorf
  • Little Lake Cemetery – Beth Israel Synagogue                           Peterborough
  • Lundy’s Lane Cemetery – Jewish Section                                   Niagara Falls
  • Meadowvale Cemetery – Solel Congregation of Mississauga  Brampton
  • Mount Hope Cemetery – Beth David                                            Brantford
  • Or Shalom Cemetery                                                                      London
  • Parkview Cemetery – Temple Shalom                                          Waterloo
  • Restmount Temple Israel Cemetery                                             London
  • Shaar Hashomayim Cemetery                                                      Windsor
  • Sons of Jacob Memorial Park                                                        Belleville
  • Temple Beth El Cemetery                                                              Windsor
  • Woodlawn Memorial Park – Beth Isaiah Congregation              Guelph


As genealogists , we know how valuable these records can be, particularly for future generations looking for clues to their family heritage. 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 [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]. In response, we will send you any existing photos in response, or 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 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.


Back to top

JGS Toronto Library (Toronto Reference Library)  

Our library contains 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 collection is housed at the Toronto Public Library, in the Toronto Reference Library, at 789 Yonge Street, just north of Bloor Street. It is a reference, non-circulating collection, and is held in closed stacks on the 2nd floor in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department.

To view the holdings of the JGS Toronto’s Library Collection, click on the Subject, Title and Author tabs shown below. However, to appreciate the full extent of the important genealogical resources that are available, plan a visit to the JGS Toronto’s Library Collection.

“Cataloguing website in progress.”

Back to top

Memorial Plaques (JewishGen) 

The JewishGen Memorial Plaques Project (MEMPLAQs) is a searchable database of names and other identifying information from Jewish synagogue and memorial records (“Yahrzeit Plaques”) worldwide. It is a compilation of two linked databases: a database of memorial plaques, and a database of information about each synagogue. The Memorial Plaques Project’s aim is to catalogue data about Jewish synagogue and memorial records worldwide. You may find the MEMPLAQs records at

JGS Toronto participates in the JewishGen MEMPLAQs project and the data we collect is incorporated into the relevant JewishGen “All Country” Databases. As of January 2021, we have provided 5,066 memorial records for five Toronto area synagogues to JewishGen’s website.

Back to top

Mentors and Mavens

Are you new to genealogy? Have you hit a brick wall?  Do you need assistance with a translation? We are here to help you!

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto has many knowledgeable members who can offer fellow members one-on-one genealogy mentoring by phone or email. We will try to provide guidance to enable you to further your research by directing you to specific methods and useful tips and websites. This support is available for current JGS Toronto members only. If you are not a member, you may join or renew online (need improved link).

For help, please contact [email protected]

  • to be matched with a mentor or maven – please send a short description of your request
  • to volunteer to be a mentor or a maven – please state your area of expertise/knowledge



Back to top

Past Presentations and Workshops

Audio and video recordings of previous presentations and workshops since 2018 are accessible to members of our Society. They include recordings of monthly programming and Special Interest Group meetings.

If you are not a member, you may join our Society and have access to presentations that cover a wide range of topics of interest to genealogists.

The recordings are available for those presentations where speakers gave permission to upload distribute recordings. Please note that the material is only for educational purposes and for the personal use of members of the JGS Toronto and may not be distributed to others.

A sampling of past presentations includes:



Back to top

Polish Records Translation project

The JGS Toronto Polish Records Translation Project funds and manages the translation of Jewish vital records from Poland. The translation of these vital records is a valuable service, as it helps genealogists use essential information about their ancestors, which is normally available only in the language of its creation. Without translation, many genealogists are unable to read or use these Russian or Polish language records. After translation, the records are available to all researchers, online and free of charge, in collaboration with JRI-Poland.

A link to all available records at JRI-Poland is:

To date, our project has funded the translation of selected records for the following 14 Polish towns or cities, including: Bedzin, Bialobrzeg, Czestochow, Kielce, Kosow Lacki, Lipsko, Lodz, Piaseczno, Plonsk, Przytyk, Radom, Radoszyce, and Sosnowiec.

Charitable donations by Canadians to support this project are eligible for tax receipts acceptable to the Canada Revenue Agency. You may donate here:

Back to top

Rotenberg Ledger
This valuable resource for Jewish genealogists with roots in Toronto, was indexed by
JGS Toronto. The Rotenberg Ledger provides passenger information for people, many
of Jewish origin from Central and Eastern Europe, traveling to Toronto between 6 June
1911 and 19 January 1915. The information contained in the ledger can include the
names of purchaser of the ticket(s) and the passenger(s), ages of children, points of
embarkation and debarkation, passenger line, Toronto address, cost of voyage etc.
Members of JGS of Canada (Toronto) photographed over 800 pages and entered the
index of names into a spreadsheet which is available online at


Back to top

Shem Tov

Shem Tov is the quarterly newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto. We have indexed back issues that include the very first newsletters published in 1985.


Click on Back Issue Index to search the entire Shem Tov archive by date, author or subject.

Back to top

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and
networking forums allow members with particular interests to share knowledge, ideas
and information. Our SIGs help you connect with other members of Jewish Genealogical
Society of Toronto’s (JGST) who have similar goals and challenges. At this time, eight
SIGs have been established: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, DNA, Global, Family Tree
Maker, MyHeritage and Know Your Society.
Although our SIG meetings were historically held in person, we have now moved our
SIG program to virtual meetings and presentations in order to better serve our local and
global membership.
In Most Special Interest Groups, SIGS are available only to members of JGS Toronto.
Members should make sure that they are registered to login to the JGS Toronto website
in order to sign up to join a SIG. All members should have received a username and
password. Email [email protected] if you require instructions on how to retrieve
your username and/or password.

To join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto, complete the form on our Become a Member page.

Read more about each of these SIGs below.



Back to top

Toronto Jewish Families History Project – Goldenberg Scrolls (MyHeritage)

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto, in partnership with MyHeritage, has created a searchable on-line database of more than 2,700 names taken from the family trees recorded by the late Toronto physician, Dr. Henry Goldenberg.

The Goldenberg scrolls were the first component of our Toronto Jewish Family History Project. Many years ago, during the mid 1900’s, 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.


Our 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 are from 1890 to the present as we find descendants of our original residents and demonstrate their growth in the community, the continent, and around the world.

To view our database please click here. Enjoy!

Back to top

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto has created a new project, entitled the Virtual Memorial Plaques Project. This is an opportunity for you, at no cost, to memorialize deceased family members by creating one or more virtual memorial plaques. The information that you create will be stored in databases at JGS Toronto and JewishGen’s Memorial Plaques project.

Participating in creating these Virtual Memorial Plaques will allow you to add more information than that typically included on a memorial (yahrzeit) plaque in a synagogue: for example, you can include a tribute, the location of the burial, and a photograph of the tombstone or of the deceased.

These Virtual Memorial Plaques will be accessible online for anyone worldwide who wishes to view them. This project will fulfil the mitzvah of memorializing family members and will help future generations with their genealogical research.

Back to top