Where did your ancestors come from?

There are several ways in which you might find out where your ancestor came from: census returns, naturalisation papers and marriage contracts are your best bets, and you need to find as precise a location as possible – ideally, the name of a town or village.

You can then investigate the records that may be available for that locality, and where you might get hold of them. These records may be able to help you trace your ancestors back several more generations, and discover more about their lives and community.

There are Jewish genealogical societies all over the world who will be able to help. Have a look at the collections of the Society of Genealogists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Family History Centre at Hyde Park (whose collections are by no means confined to Christian records).

You might choose to hire a researcher locally – someone who knows the records and the language that they are in – and approaching a local genealogical society or archive is a good way to find a suitable candidate.

Remember that as you are researching, your geographic location may shift several times as families migrated gradually, and sometimes were keen to avoid leaving documentation if they were fleeing persecution, or in Nigella Lawson’s case, the law.

Anglo-Indian – Share your finds
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Jewish ancestors (1800s)
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