The Society’s Library contains more than a thousand reference books and other items including journals and manuscripts. It is unique in the UK in concentrating specifically on Jewish genealogy with the emphasis on resources to help those tracing Jewish ancestors.
The geographical coverage seeks to be worldwide with special emphasis on London and regional UK communities including Wales, Scotland and Ireland. We hold copies of synagogue registers such as the Great, New and Hambro synagogues in London, the Spanish and Portuguese congregation at Bevis Marks, also cemetery inscriptions, communal histories, and a major collection on Irish Jewry 1700-2016. Biographical material covers Jews in the armed services.
There is much on other parts of the world reflecting the diversity of Jewish settlement. Some books are specific to particular towns or areas such as records published by Jewish genealogical societies in The Netherlands and France. More general items include surname dictionaries e.g. Poland, Russia, Sephardi, gazetteers and maps, year books, and research guides.
Items relating to specific families are in the form of printed books and manuscript pedigrees. Much of the material has been privately published and not widely available elsewhere. Major collected works include The Jacobi Papers on leading Ashkenazi families (4 volumes), The Unbroken Chain by Neil Rosenstein (genealogies from 15th to 20th centuries), Genealogia Hebraica by Jose Maria Abecassis on Gibraltar families from 17th to 20th centuries (5 volumes).
Journals include complete sets of Avotaynu (the oldest and most comprehensive Jewish genealogical journal), Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, and our own award-winning journal Shemot.
The library is constantly added to by purchase and donation. We welcome gifts from members of any duplicate genealogical books or ones they no longer require.
We maintain a smaller library at our branch in Manchester available for consultation at their meetings.
How do I find out what is in the Library? The library catalogue of books and CDs is available by clicking on the following links:
Search the JGSGB Library Catalogue online
Show me some of the books in the Library Click here to see a random selection
Download the Library Catalogue as a PDF file which can be searched on your PC or phone
There is a substantial collection of Holocaust memorial books relating to destroyed European communities, mainly in Hebrew and Yiddish, details of which are available on request.
Visiting the Library: The library is located at Jewish Museum London, 129-131 Albert Street, Camden Town, London NW1 7NB. It is for the use of JGSGB members only, or those who pay £5 which is refundable against membership. The library is normally open on the first Tuesday and third Sunday each month and a team of volunteers from the Society is always on hand during opening hours to offer guidance in using the library.
Booking to reserve a place at a library session is essential. It enables us to inform the security staff of the Museum, who will allow access without payment of the Museum's entrance charge and for us to ensure that current members are not charged £5. The dates of opening are shown on the current Programme of Activities. Reservations may be made via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum is compliant with Government requirements for visitors to Museums and the Society will expect those attending library sessions to observe the rules which are in place in the building including social distancing and the wearing of face masks. Further information can be found on the Museum's website at https//jewishmuseum.org.uk/visit/covid-safety
How do I find an item in the library? Click here for an explanation of the JGSGB Library Classification Code, which is used for shelving