Take a look at our hints and tips for chasing Jewish family history in Leeds. You can read more about the history of the Jewish community in Leeds on our dedicated blog page…
There has been a Jewish community in Leeds since the 1730s, meaning key family history resources such as birth, marriage and death certificates and census returns are available from 1837 and 1841 respectively. Access these via Leeds Libraries’ subscription to Ancestry.com – available free to all members of Leeds Libraries in any of our library sites across the city.
Read more about using Ancestry.com: secretlibraryleeds.net/2020/04/04/ancestry-for-all
You can sign-up for a Library card online through our library catalogue: leeds.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/custom/web/joining/index.html
Records from the Jewish Community
Use the Jewish Communities and Records website (JCR-UK) to search archives of communities and congregations, including Synagogue and Cemetery records: www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/index.htm
Some content requires a subscription, but you can access and search many (but not all) Leeds-specific databases on the relevant sub-page: www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Leeds.htm. The site also contains a wealth of historical and contextual information.
JCR-UK is a joint-project from Jewish Gen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. The latter organisation has its own website, with contact details if you need more expert advice: http://www.jgsgb.org.uk. There is a Leeds-specific branch who can be contacted through this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Leeds Database is a genealogical database started in 2000 with the initial aim of collecting family history information for all Leeds Jewish families. It has since expanded and grown to include Jewish families from many other areas: british-jewry.org.uk/leedsjewry
The Wiener Holocaust Library in London provide access to several databases to help people trace family members affected by events in Europe before, during and after the Second World War. This includes partial, digital access to the International Tracing Service – also known as the Arolson Archives – an extensive collection of documents on incarceration in concentration camps, ghettos and prisons, documents on forced labour, documents on Displaced Persons camps and emigration and documents on Jewish and other victims of Nazi persecution.
You can read more about those services elsewhere on the Secret Library: secretlibraryleeds.net/2023/01/26/the-wiener-holocaust-library
Life in Jewish Leeds
Leeds Central Library holds many resources that will help you to explore the lives of your ancestors, including in the 20th-century when less family history records can be accessed. You can see a list of the most useful in our research guide: secretlibraryleeds.net/research-collection-guides
You can find similar material in the Leeds Jewish Archive available through Makor, the Jewish Cultural Office for Leeds and Yorkshire: makorjewishcultureuk.org/heritage
There is also a Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society, providing a program of free, online events to their local community and beyond: www.jhse.org/branches-1/leeds
Contact Leeds Libraries for more information about Jewish family history and how we can help: 0113 37 85005 or LibraryEnquiries@leeds.gov.uk