Step By Step Research

    1. First, you will want to connect with any known or unknown relatives that may have already performed genealogical research on your ancestry.

      1. Check this group's Family Finder Surname Directory to see if any members of the Rohatyn Shtetl Research Group are researching the same surname.

      2. Send an email to the group describing your ancestry and your research goals using the email address

      3. Search the JewishGen Family Finder for genealogists researching the same surname from the same town.

      4. Search the JewishGen Family Tree Project to see if someone has already posted your ancestral family tree.

      5. Send an email to the JewishGen listserve describing your ancestral tree and research goals. While you are at it, sign up for emails from JewishGen members by subscribing at the JewishGen List Manager.

      6. Search the website to see if someone has already posted your ancestral family tree.

      7. Search for family trees. Ancestry is a paid site but libraries usually have it available for free use.

    2. Start researching death records to obtain important information. The following are for relatives who lived in the United States.

      1. For relatives that died after 1950, search the Social Security Death Index (also at Steve Morse's Searching SSDI in One Step). The index will provide an individual's date of birth, date of death, place of death, and their social security number. With this information, you can send away for a copy of the individual's Social Security Application that was filled out and contains information on the individual's place of birth, home address, and names of both parents.

      2. Search for a Death Certificate. Death certificates will usually provide date of birth or age at death, date and place of death, medical reason for death, funeral home, burial location, and parents names and their location of birth. For deaths in New York City prior to 1948, search Italiangen's NYC Death Index to obtain a date of death, county where death occurred, and a death certificate number. Contact the Vital Records Department in the state that death occurred to obtain a death certificate. Certain limitations exist as to the length of time since death that these records are kept private and vary from state to state. Death Certificates were also filmed by the Family History Library and these microfilms can be ordered by FHL centers and certain libraries. Copies of records can also be ordered directly from FHL by filling out a Request for Photocopies form with the necessary information. In either case, you will need to know the microfilm number. Using Steve Morse's Searching the NY Death Index in One Step will provide the microfilm number for deaths in NY boroughs between 1862 and 1948.

      3. Search for an Obituary. An obituary will usually provide names of living relatives, funeral home and possibly a burial location. Use various online newspaper resources to find an obituary. For example, the New York Times,, AncestorHunt ... Alternatively, you can contact a librarian at the local library of the location of death and provide a date of death in order to search a local newspaper.

      4. Obtain a picture of the tombstone which may provide a father's name. First see if the cemetery has information online and a service to take pictures of the tombstone. Search the JewishGen Online Burial Registry, (fee for image), and Find A Grave. Local genealogical societies may have tombstone photography projects so check those online. You can ask someone to take a picture by emailing the Jewishgen listserve or using Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.

    1. Locate your ancestors in census records currently available up to 1930. Data on census records include age of individuals, country of birth, parents country of birth, year of immigration, year of naturalization, and occupation. Census records are available on Ancestry, FamilySearch

    2. For researching records of your ancestors in Galicia, use Mark Halpern's excellent handout below.

Mark Halpern Researching Galician Records.pdf