Archival search of documents
WRAI helps Jewish descendants in obtaining the Darkon. But, as our long-term practice shows, on the way to Israeli citizenship, many applicants are faced with the lack of documents confirming their Jewishness.
Therefore, within the framework of WRAI, an archival department was created, whose specialists help to find any document anywhere in the world. Or build a genealogical tree of your family, build actual evidence of your Jewishness. Find supporting documents, even if you only have a guess what the roots might be. And even if the relatives themselves, along whose line you can have these roots, are no longer alive.
Our archivists know where to send a request, what database to use, they even have access to closed archives and will definitely find evidence, if any.
What is the service?
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of borders, interest in repatriation to Israel does not fall, but rather increases every day. In 2022 alone, 77,000 repatriates from 89 countries arrived here. But not everyone who wants to complete the process of aliyah so successfully. Many continue to live their dream of returning to Israel, as they have no solid evidence of Jewish origin. Next, we will explain in detail how 2-3 documents from the archive will help you become a happy owner of Israeli citizenship and how to thoroughly search for missing papers.
Each person may have their reason for seeking information about ancestors. Someone just wants to understand that he is one with the Jewish people. Others want to secure a happy future for themselves and their children by obtaining Israeli citizenship through repatriation. For the latter, Israeli law puts forward the only requirement that opens the way to automatically obtaining the status of a citizen of the State of Israel – the presence of documentary evidence of Jewish origin.
But not all descendants of Jews have documents confirming the roots of their ancestors. And the archival department of WRAI has been successfully solving these issues for many years.
Where to start searching for Jewish roots
Unfortunately, not all Jewish families have documentary evidence of primordial origin. Often the information is passed on in the form of family legends or traditions that a grandparent was Jewish. Having received such verbal information, a person can catch fire with the idea of moving to Israel and initiate a search for weighty evidence.
At the same time, for the purposes of repatriation, it is completely unimportant along which line the nationality is transferred – female or male. You can be a Jew by blood, that is, have ancestors of Jewish origin, or you can accept Judaism by conviction.
Applicants for Israeli citizenship are not even required to know Hebrew, they are entitled to retain their current citizenship. All that is needed is the presence of official documents confirming the fact of having Jewish roots.
The initial search for papers should begin with family archives. It can be any evidence, including photographs, thanks to which one can draw a conclusion about the origin of the ancestor.
What to do if there are no documents
Oddly enough, but this is a normal situation. In many families, papers for grandmothers or great-grandmothers have not been preserved. The situation is often further complicated by the fact that, due to various life situations, Jews were forced to change their original nationality in their passports. There were cases of change of surname and name. All this can make the search very difficult.
There is an important rule for the organization of proper archival and search work: consistency and the ability to analyze the information received. You will never get to the desired result if you start from the end, that is, you will move from the alleged Jewish ancestor to your generation. It is necessary to act exactly the opposite – to create a family chain. That is, first documents are raised for relatives of the first line – father, mother. Then the second – grandparents. You may have to expand your search to include relatives who share common ancestors with you.
In addition, it is of high importance to separate documents into indirect and direct evidence. The main documents include:
- Extracts from registers of births;
- The passport;
- Birth certificate;
- Birth and death records from the registry office;
- Records of birth, death, marriage from the synagogue.
Almost any paper of the Soviet period can be attributed to indirect evidence. At that time, it was customary to indicate information about origin and nationality in an autobiography, questionnaires, and personal files. The data was entered into award lists, a military ID, a house book. Circumstantial evidence is of great importance. They confirm the Jewish origin of the ancestor and, as it were, “tell” his life story, thereby proving that such a person really existed.
Therefore, to find at least some evidence, you need to write multiple requests to various authorities:
- Multi-level archives – city, state, regional, republican;
- Places of work, study;
- Service places and so on.
It is difficult to say how many documents there should be. Here the principle works – the more, the better. Therefore, to pass a consular check, that is, to obtain a repatriate visa, you need to collect the maximum possible number of certificates and draw them up correctly.
What to do if an archive search fails
Foremost, do not despair, especially if you are firmly convinced of the Jewish origin of the ancestor. Finding archival documents is not an easy task. Therefore, the specialists of the WRAI center advise not to waste your time and nerves, but immediately seek help from specialists. Experts who thoroughly know their work will be able to get the result even without documents. In addition, in order to gain access to some archives, you need permission, which you may simply not have.
The specialists of the center provide an individual approach to each family, individually consider any family history. Conduct a genealogical examination, assess the available information. Often it turns out to find the necessary information not through a direct family chain, but using relatives who have common ancestors with the applicant.
At the same time, it is important not only to present evidence, but also to draw it up correctly. If you try to get useful information on how to do this on the official website of the Israeli Embassy, then it will be rather blurry. The list of required documents for the consular check indicates that personal papers are required according to the list, and evidence proving Jewish origin. There are no specific documentary requirements.
And here it is significant to build a family chain. After all, not only original documents proving the presence of a Jewish ancestor are essential, but also confirmation of family ties with him. For example, you trace kinship through the female line through a Jewish grandmother. You first need to prove that you are the daughter of your mother, and she, in turn, is hers. Now imagine that women got married several times with a change of surname. You will get a huge number of references and testimonies, which must be included in the documentary package.
Of course, you are entitled to independently organize the search and, perhaps, it will lead to the desired result—the evidence found. But situations are different. For example, you do not know where the alleged Jewish ancestor lived or worked, so you simply do not understand which archives to send requests to. Perhaps you do not have the skills and time to organize a system search.
Prices for the comprehensive restoration of archival documents
Search organization for one family member
|Civil status documents (birth)
|Civil status documents (marriage)
|Civil status documents (death)
|Documents on acts of civil status (adoption / adoption)
|Documents on acts of civil status (name change)
|Documents on acts of civil status (establishment of paternity)
|Documents from military service
|Information from the place of study
|Information from the place of work
|Data from the pension fund
|Information confirming participation in hostilities, evacuation
|Registration type data
|Certificate of non-conviction with an apostille
|Search within one country
|Search in the territory of three countries
|Search on the territory of all European countries
an Israeli citizenship specialist