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  • Patronymic Naming and the Genealogical Value of Jewish Cemetery Research

Patronymic Naming and the Genealogical Value of Jewish Cemetery Research

  • April 10, 2022
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • ZOOM


Patronymic Naming and the Genealogical Value of Jewish Cemetery Research

Featuring Nolan Altman 

Sunday, April 10th 2022

10 AM to 12 PM Mountain Standard Time on Zoom

9:30 AM to 10:00 AM Schmear, Schmooze, and Share

Program starts promptly at 10 AM

Headstone inscriptions provide one of the most important tools for those researching their Jewish genealogical history, patronymic naming. This presentation will familiarize the attendees with the evolution of family surnames and the practice of patronymic naming. Recognizing the components of patronymic naming, participants will learn how to take advantage of these clues to link their family through generations.  I will go through an actual case study using headstone inscriptions and will show participants online resources to help find headstone information worldwide.

The next part of the presentation will show examples of headstones and what youll find if you take a trip to the cemetery.   Ill explain the meaning of symbols that you will find on stones.  Even if you cant read Hebrew, I will explain how you can understand the inscriptions.  I will also show many examples of inscription trends, some odd inscriptions, and errors in inscriptions…even well-known ones. 

With a presentation on cemetery records, you wouldnt expect to leave laughing, but I guarantee you will.

Meeting will be on Zoom:  Zoom call details will be emailed prior to the event along with Handouts

Bio:  Nolan Altman was bit by the genealogy bug” when he was inspired to write his family history in 1996 in memory of his mother. After making use of the valuable information on JewishGen, he volunteered to do data entry on various projects. In time, he was asked to become the Coordinator for JewishGens Holocaust Database and subsequently the Coordinator for the JOWBR (JewishGens Online Worldwide Burial Registry) project. Nolan works with volunteers from around the world helping to grow both databases for the benefit of family members and researchers. Nolan currently holds the position of JewishGens Director for Data Acquisition and focuses on growing the JOWBR, Holocaust and Memorial Plaques databases ( In 2021, JOWBR won the IAJGS Outstanding Project Award. 

In addition, Nolan served as President and Treasurer for his local society (JGSLI) and still serves as an at-large board member. He created their award-winning YouTube library of instructive videos (

He also served in various roles, including Vice-president and Chair of the Membership Development Committee, for the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Board from 2009-2021. 

Nolan continues to write articles and present to social groups and adult education classes. He has had articles published in Avotaynu, Dorot, Stammbaum, Shemot, LIneage, and the FEEFHS Journal.  

In 2021, Nolan was recognized by the IAJGS with their Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, the organizations volunteer award was renamed in his honor, the Nolan Altman IAJGS Volunteer of the Year Award.

All JGSCO members can attend at no cost but, all members must register at !

Guests are $5


The Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS) of Colorado is a leader in education, research, information exchange forums, and resources for Jewish genealogy.

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