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Free Databases

The following databases require a free guest user account to access.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Immigration Records, 1904-1929

This database presents the earliest records of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in Boston. This database offers the twelve folders of Box 211; for a complete listing of boxes within the collection, see the finding aid.

Records include passenger lists, ship arrivals, correspondence, and lists of immigrants who were detained and deported. The contents of each volume vary greatly. Folders 2 and 9 are image-only. Flip through these volumes to browse their contents.

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was founded in New York City in the 1880s by the Russian Jewish community of New York in response to the influx of Russian Jewish immigrants fleeing the pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. The Boston office of HIAS was chartered in 1904. HIAS in Boston operated autonomously from the national office in New York, even after their merger in 1916. HIAS ensured that Jewish immigrants had access to holiday and religious services and kosher food; provided shelter and social services; and assisted immigrants with finding employment and schools, often on short notice.

Starting in 1930, HIAS began to keep case files on the individuals whom they helped. The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center is digitizing these files and making them available in Digital Collections in the Harris Poorvu Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (Boston) Digital Archives.

Immigrants in this database simply traveled through Boston. While Boston or another town in Massachusetts were the final destinations of many, immigrants to locations throughout the United States and Canada are represented in this database. Farflung or popular locations include New York (city and state); St. Louis, Missouri; Wisconsin; Winnipeg, Ontario; North Carolina; Maryland; California and more.

The creation of this database was funded by the family of Harris Poorvu, former president and treasurer of HIAS Boston.

Marriages by Rabbi Icik Benkovitz, 1922-1956

This database presents the Papers of Rabbi Icik Benkovitz, a collection of marriage records held by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society. David Rosen of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston provided the scanned images and the index upon which this collection is based; Susan Posner also contributed work to the index. The Benkovitz family donated these records to the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center.

Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts, 1875-2012

The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM) is a non-profit Jewish cemetery association that owns and manages more than 105 cemeteries in the Greater Boston area.

Download the JCAM Guidebook 2010-2012
Visit the JCAM website

Sharon Memorial Park Cemetery, 1945-2013

This database has been provided to NEHGS by the administrators of Sharon Memorial Park, 120 Canton St, Sharon, MA 02067. Sharon Memorial Park is considered New England's largest Jewish memorial park and was founded in 1948.

Databases for members

The following databases require a JHC or NEHGS membership to access.

Jewish Cemeteries of Western Massachusetts, 1647-1999

This database contains records of over 19,000 burials in 21 Jewish cemeteries in the Western Massachusetts counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire.

Organized Jewish Group Activity in 19th Century Massachusetts, 1843-1900

This database contains a listing of all organized Jewish group activities that appeared in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during the 19th century. Where possible, the founding or charter date of the organization is provided, as well as the purpose, location of meetings, the length of the organization's lifespan, and a listing of the more prominent members and officials.

If an organization's records are held by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, a link to the finding aid is provided. Please note that for several smaller benevolent societies, a link is provided to the finding aid for the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) collection. This is because many of these organizations merged to form the Federated Jewish Charities, one of the precursors to CJP.

Advertisements listed in volume 2 are not included in this database due to the poor quality of the photocopies.

For more information on the genesis of this project, please read the Introduction. Also available is a table of contents to the original volume 1, and volume 2bibliography and index of names.

Charleston, SC: Inscriptions in Old Jewish Cemeteries, 1762-1903

This collection of tombstone inscriptions from Jewish cemeteries in Charleson, SC was compiled by Rabbi Dr. Barnett A. Elzas in 1903. The inscriptions date from 1762-1903 and are from Coming St. Cemetery, Shearith Israel Cemetery, Hanover St. Cemetery, DaCosta Cemetery, and Lopez Cemetery.