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Genealogical Society appoints Michael Waas to research Jewish families

September 18, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has appointed Michael Waas as a scholar in residence to research the documentation of Jewish families in its archives and publish a first-of-a-kind survey of these materials.

In turn, researchers and other interested New Yorkers will be able to trace the city’s heritage from colonial times to the present in New York State.

“Despite this immense body of research material within the NYG&B’s collections, formal scholarship has yet to be conducted to evaluate and promote its use for tracing Jewish families in New York,” said D. Joshua Taylor, president of the Society. “Michael’s timely work to document Jewish residents in our materials will serve as a critical resource moving forward for those pursuing their Jewish heritage in New York City.”  

For more than 150 years, the NYG&B has gathered materials documenting New York families. Its scholarly journal, “The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (The NYG&B Record),” has included transcriptions, abstracts, and compiled genealogies for many of New York’s earliest families. 

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Today, its collections reside at the New York Public Library, where they are accessible to researchers.  

As scholar-in-residence, Waas will examine the NYG&B materials at the New York Public Library and online. evaluate them for Jewish scholarship and produce a detailed list of resources available for tracing Jewish families in New York State. 

 “The NYG&B recognizes the immense contributions and impact of Jewish families on New York’s history, but many individuals are unaware of the records that shine a light on these stories,” said William C. Hallett, chairman of the NYG&B. “This pivotal project will open up a trove of resources for promoting research and publishing scholarship in the field of Jewish history throughout New York.”  

Waas is a historian of Jewish communities throughout the world. He is co-founder of Hollander-Waas Jewish Heritage Services, which assists people in their family history research.

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