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Genealogy Research: First American Jewish Families


Forword to the 3rd Edition | First American Jewish Families

In the historian's tool chest there are few utensils more helpful than genealogical tables. Since 1960, when the American Jewish Archives first published Malcolm Stern's Americans of Jewish Descent, every work dealing with early American Jewish history has utilized it. Scholars have filled footnotes with references to it, popular writers have alluded to it. At least one best seller has been based on it.

The uses of these genealogical charts are manifold: the family researcher seeks American roots. The historian, interested in society, plots the physical and social mobility of people. Changes in family names demonstrate acculturation; intercolonial marriages provide information for the economic historian. Infant mortality, family size and lifespans, and hereditary disease can be traced here. The rise of Jewish communities becomes evident, the interplay of marriage between Jewish natives and Jewish newcomers is documented. Here, most graphically, one can trace the assimilatory effect of intermarriage, and notice, not without irony, the unbroken line that leads from a Polish Jewish immigrant peddler to an American ambassador to one of the Great Powers. There is a sermon and a threnody on every page.

Behind this work lie the heart and soul of a hard-working scholar. Dr. Malcolm H. Stern devoted eleven years to the creation of his original compilation, Americans of Jewish Descen , that established his reputation as the father of American Jewish genealogy. The growth of interest in the field produced his revised and enlarged First American Jewish Families. Through patience and perseverance, he has now brought forth this third "update" edition. All hail to him for setting the record straight and for continuing to produce this important reference tool!

Jacob R. Marcus
American Jewish Archives Cincinnati, Ohio

Additional Information

Dedication and acknowledgements from the 3rd Edition

Preface to the 3rd Edition by Malcom H. Stern

How to use this resource