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Memorial Plaques Indexing Challenge

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Goal: 5775 Indexers

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) announces a worldwide crowdsourcing challenge to photograph and transcribe Yahrzeit memorial plaques. These plaques typically include the birth and death year and father’s name that helps people trace their Jewish ancestors and relatives.Every plaque photographed and indexed is another clue to an ancestor not lost. Many plaques have been lost over time when synagogues have closed, merged and abandoned. Sometimes there is no one left to keep the records. The challenge will help ensure that the information on memorial plaques is preserved for the future.

The information will be searchable on the JewishGen website jewishgen.org as a free public service to anyone who is interested in researching their Jewish roots.

The challenge will take place October 25th thru November 22nd (the Hebrew month of Cheshvan) during International Jewish Genealogy Month. 74 IAJGS member societies worldwide will provide coordination points for the many indexing volunteers. Individuals not within reach of a member society ­wherever Yahrzeit plaques exist are also encouraged to participate. The goal is to enlist 5,775 volunteers worldwide.

Follow the progress of the Memorial Plaque Indexing Challenge on Facebook facebook.com/IAJGSjewishgenealogy and Twitter hashtag #MEMPLAQ.


  1. Do I need to read Hebrew?
    No! While it is true that many memorial plaques contain the names in Hebrew, if you can’t read the names, you can still take the pictures, enter in whatever information you can, and upload to JewishGen who will then find volunteers who speak Hebrew to transcribe the remaining information.
  2. Do I need a digital camera?
    A Digital Camera or any smartphone with a camera will suffice!
  3. Do I need to take the pictures and do all the data entry on the same day?
    No. We don’t expect all the data entry to be done on the same day, but we are encouraging you to join in the fun of the Memorial Plaques Crowdsourcing Challenge and complete your submission during International Jewish Genealogy Month.
  4. Is anyone already participating in the project?
    JGS of Greater Boston, JGS of Great Britain, JGS of Long Island, JGS of Montreal, JGS of New York.
  5. Who do I contact for more information?
    Please email Mark Nicholls, secretary@iajgs.org, or call 650-43-IAJGS (650-434-2547) in the US.

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies