Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal has made significant contributions to both
Jewish genealogical research in Quebec and to Canadian genealogical research in general.
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal, founded in 1995, is one of more than 80 Jewish
genealogical societies worldwide.
Although small in size, with fewer than 100 members,
the Society has made significant contributions to the study of Jewish family history
for both its members and genealogists all over the world with a Montreal connection.
Current and past projects include:
Lecture Series Meetings (1994-ongoing)
We have had more than 150 lecture series meetings since they started at the end of 1994.
Upcoming meetings can be seen on the Meetings page,
and past meetings can be reviewed in the Meeting Archive.
Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshops (1998-ongoing)
Starting in 1998 as the Scholar in Residence,
renamed the Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop in February 2003,
the SMFTWs are an informal way to get one-on-one answers and help.
They are normally held on the first Sunday of each month (except July and August),
at the Jewish Public Library, from 10:00 am to 12 noon.
Some of the resources used have been incorporated into the
JGS-Montreal Genealogy Dashboard.
Ancestry.ca has a wealth of information for family researchers,
but it can be expensive.
The Jewish Public Library
has World Deluxe Ancestry available in the library at no charge to members and to people attending the
Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshops.
Montreal Cemetery Indices (2007-ongoing)
JGS of Montreal members have provided thousands of records of Jewish burials in Quebec --
including over 10,000 photographs --
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR)
for online research around the world.
The December 2017 update to JOWBR includes links in the records back to to "More information" at JGS-Montreal.org.
We show enhanced record displays with (if available):
- The Baron de Hirsch Cemetery Inc. and Affiliates
graciously provided the full database of over 54,000 burials at the de la Savane cemetery
and 6,500 burials at the
Back River Memorial Gardens Cemetery,
which the JGS of Montreal submitted to JOWBR.
- Thanks to several members of our Society,
all tombstones at the Back River Cemetery were photographed,
and pictures were submitted to JOWBR in 2015,
and updated in early 2016.
That included a total of 6766 images for 6839 burials (98.9%).
- The following have also been indexed with photos by JGS-Montreal members for JOWBR:
- Both Jewish cemeteries in Ste. Sophie, Quebec (536 burials, 2008 and 2013)
- The Spanish & Portuguese Cemetery (1393 burials, 2014)
- All Jewish sections of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Duvernay, Laval (1264 burials, 2014)
- The Jewish cemetery in Quebec City (349 burials, 2014)
- The Jewish section of the cemetery in Sherbrooke, Quebec (169 burials, 2016)
- Eternal Gardens Memorial Park in Beaconsfield (7 sections), including over 2500 burials with photographs (2015-2017)
- Last Post Fund, National Field of Honour in Pointe Claire (the two Jewish sections), with 119 burials, all photographed.
- Baron de Hirsch on de la Savane (over 10,000 burials with photographs, 2016-2017)
- Work is in progress on other Montreal-area Jewish cemeteries.
During the summer of 2017, over 25,000 photos were taken of sections of the big cemetery on de la Savane, mostly on Road C.
About 20 sections (about 9000 burial records with photos) were added to JOWBR in December, 2017.
Over the winter, we hope to add the remaining photos to about 8000 records for the July 2018 JOWBR update.
Example record: Lena Rock Rappaport
- a list of all the burial records in the same section, sorted by name,
but also sortable by date, plot location, etc.
- additional photos
- obituaries (we have over 2000)
- links to services like FindaGrave.com and JewishData.com
(which can be very useful for fallen stones)
- links to profiles on Geni.com and Ancestry.ca
- a Research link to the JGS-Montreal.org Genealogy Dashboard
- a link to Report problems or add information to the record,
which will appear quickly on the JGS-Montreal.org site,
and in JOWBR the next time the record's section is updated
Canadian Naturalization Records (2002-ongoing)
A naturalization file documents the application of an immigrant to become a citizen.
These files can contain details of birth, marriage, immigration, and business,
and are often an excellent source of genealogical information.
The Society has an ongoing program to index 600,000 Canadian Naturalizations
from 1914 to 1952 (both Jewish and non-Jewish).
- Phase I of this project digitized and indexed 200,000 1914-1932 Canadian Naturalizations.
Funded with the help of the JGS of Ottawa,
the resulting work was presented to the Canadian Genealogy Centre
at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) as a gift to the people of Canada.
The index was officially launched in July 2003,
with an all-name index to the 1915-1932 naturalization records,
searchable online at the
Canadian Genealogy Centre's (CGC) web site
Library and Archives Canada.
This index, the result of thousands of hours of work by JGS-Montreal volunteers,
allows searching for Canadian naturalization by name with the information returned
including city and date of naturalization, occupation, and naturalization certificate number.
Using this information, it is often possible to positively identify ancestors and
order their complete naturalization file.
The story of how this project started was published in
- Phase 2 of the project to index 1932-1951
naturalizations is in progress - totaling about 400,000 records.
All of the printed images have been
digitized and as of October 15, 2010 can be searched by date at the
Canadian Genealogy Centre.
Indexing the 400,000 records by JGS-Montreal volunteers is in progress,
and as of September 30, 2016, records can be searched by name up to 1946,
and by date up to 1951.
- In 2011, the JGS of Montreal, at the suggestion of Library and Archives Canada, added the
place of birth (town/country) and profession to the Montreal Circuit Court naturalization
The improved database will be available online in 2016.
- See this guide from a JGS of Montreal member
to learn how to search for and order naturalization records.
Other Indexing Projects (ongoing)
A number of other indexing projects are underway, some in conjunction
Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives.
- The JGS of Montreal has funded the indexing of the
Hebrew Sick Benefit Association membership records,
searchable online on the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network website at www.cjhn.ca.
See the acknowledgement to the JGS of Montreal at:
- The JGS of Montreal is funding the extraction of death records from
the Keneder Adler Yiddish newspaper;
this source will also be searchable on the CJHN site.
- In April 2011, the JGS of Montreal launched a project to scan and index the 6000 mohel
records of Rabbi Michel Spiro. Rabbi Spiro performed brit milahs throughout Quebec.
- The JGS of Montreal also has projects underway to index three major Who's Who
publications with references to thousands of Montreal and Canadian Jews.
The biographies in the first of these books "Who's Who in Canadian Jewry"
have now been fully extracted and
the resulting Excel file has more than 15,000 individual entries.
The data will be searchable online in 2016.
- The 1926 book, The Jew In Canada
- Who's Who in Canadian Jewry - 1967
- Family Who's Who - 1969
Montreal and Quebec Province Vital Records (1998-2009)
Together, these resources have given us an unprecedented
capability to research Jewish families and re-unite long-lost relatives.
For information on how the JGS of Montreal can help
researchers with Montreal and Quebec family connections,
- From 1998-2002, the JGS of Montreal indexed over 75,000 vital
records for the Jewish Community in Montreal and Quebec - part of the
"Drouin" collection of vital records.
Copies of these records are available from the Society.
Read a description of the project and
review the Surname List.
- Our volunteers have almost completed a detailed
review of those records and have added the event date, the parents'
and place of birth where noted in the records.
The expanded and supplemented index will greatly increase our ability to locate family.
- In 2008, JGS-Montreal purchased the index to all Quebec Government 1926-1996 marriage and death records.
This resource, made available only to registered genealogical societies,
has enabled the Society to provide an even greater level of expert research service.
- In 2009, a JGS of Montreal member compiled a
guide to Religious, Civil and Health Department marriage records
in Quebec covering 1841 to present.
Book Reviews (2012-2015)
Despite the wealth of information available to family historians on the Web,
books are still a needed and valuable resource.
The JGS-Montreal web site featured
to help guide you to the real gems that are available.
JGS-Montreal Cookbook (2011)
The foods we love often strengthen our ties to parents, grandparents and even ancestors we never met. The smells of food from our childhood can bring back vivid memories. Members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal have shared their most loved recipes (and often their background) in our
Montreal Forum (2005-2009)
Published from 2005 to 2009, our quarterly publication,
the Montreal Forum,
includes articles of ongoing interest to all family historians.