Jewish Synagogue Records

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Tbilisi, Georgia, Synagogue at Hanukkah.

Records kept by officials of the synagogue varied from place to place. In the United States and some other countries these records often included:

  • Minute books of congregational, board, and other meetings.
  • Account books containing lists of members.
  • Congregational and communal histories.
  • Vital records including birth, circumcision, bar and bat mitzvah (coming of age ceremony for boys and girls), marriage, and death records.

Not all synagogues have these types of records. Many have been lost or destroyed or never existed. Those that did survive may be with the synagogue or may have been deposited in a Jewish archive or historical society.

The term Synagogue Records is not a library catalog subject heading. Synagogue records that are part of the Family History Library are cataloged under the subject Jewish Records. Many synagogue records from the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati have been microfilmed (see “Jewish Archives and Libraries”). Examples of synagogue records include:

  • Synagogue birth records, 1786–1954. Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1972. (FHL film 882930). Birth records from the Jewish congregation on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
  • St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: Records of Jews from Various Sources. Kingston, Jamaica: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1977. (FHL film 1012748). Records of births, circumcisions, marriages, and burials from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (U.S.), and Jamaica.

Check for these records in the FamilySearch Catalog using the Place Search, Subject Search, and Keyword Search.

Many Synagogue records from all over the world have now been indexed and added to The Knowles Collection. The six databases that make up the collection also include other records of the Jewish people. New records are added almost daily and the entire collection is a freely searchable electronic database. More information about this databse can be found at