Visit a Synagogue
Photograph the Plaques
Transcribe the Information
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The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) in partnership with JewishGen is proud to announces a worldwide crowdsourcing challenge to photograph and transcribe Yahrzeit Memorial Plaques.
The JewishGen Memorial Plaques Database aims to index information from synagogue yahrzeit plaques and other memorial records. These plaques typically include the birth and death dates of the deceased and the father’s name that helps people trace their ancestors and relatives.
Many plaques have been lost over time when synagogues have closed, merged, and been 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.
All IAJGS member societies worldwide will provide coordination points for the many indexing volunteers. The goal is to transcribe 5,777 records worldwide during International Jewish Genealogy Month.
Download all files (ZIP)
Or download the files individually:
- Instructions (PDF)
- Introductory Letter to Synagogues (Word)
- Indexing Template (Excel)
- Press Release (PDF)
- Flyer (PDF)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- 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.
- Do I need a digital camera?
Yes, a digital camera or any smartphone with a camera will suffice.
- Do I need to take the pictures and do all the data entry alone or on the same day?
No. We don’t expect you to do all the work or key all the data on the same day. Feel free to contact your local JGS or find other people interested in helping you. We are encouraging you to join in the fun of the Memorial Plaques Crowdsourcing Challenge and complete your submission during International Jewish Genealogy Month.
- Is anyone already participating in the project?
Yes, members of JGS of Greater Boston, JGS of Great Britain, JGS of Long Island, JGS of Montreal, JGS of New York, and more.
- Who do I contact for more information?
Please email Daniel Horowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.