Ask the Archivist and Genealogist
The Keneseth Israel Philadelphia Archives and History
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About JACK MYERS
In retirement, Jack A. Myers serves Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA as Co-Chairman of its Archives Committee. As a volunteer archivist he has created a computer index of the synagogue’s 5000 marriages from 1861 through 1961. There is a similar index of the confirmands dating back to the late 1800’s. Other similar projects are ongoing.
His study of his family history began in the 1970’s. He traces his family back to the early to mid 1800’s in Philadelphia and Virginia and to European roots in Hesse-Darmstadt, Bavaria, Central Europe and Russia/ Ukraine. Not only a direct descendant of the well-known Fleisher and Kohn families of Philadelphia; the Myers trace their heritage to three generations of Maier rabbis in Altenstadt, Bavaria and through them to the famous Rappaport rabbinic family of Central Europe. Jack’s father’s maternal grandmother was a first cousin of “Miss Daisy” of Atlanta, Georgia, Lena Guthman, made famous by her grandson, playwright Alfred Uhrey.
His research has taken him to various cemeteries; City, State and National Archives; as well as the Mormon’s Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City. He has been contacted over the years by researchers in Germany, the Shappell Foundation in Washington and a writer from the Jewish Forward. He particularly values the relationship he has built and the sharing of information with the researcher in Mainz who has been working to document the histories of the Jewish communities in the towns of the Rhineland.
Jack recently presented a workshop at Keneseth Israel to an audience interested in finding new sources through which to explore their family heritage. During his 25 years as a religious school teacher, he had his students learn from the archives and create family trees.