Reading Room & Genealogy Institute
Make sure to check our holiday closures prior to visiting.
Last entry to the Center for Jewish History exhibition spaces is 30 minutes before closing.
Genealogical research, and specifically commercial DNA testing, can unlock mysteries and make crucial connections, often linking Holocaust survivors to living relatives they did not know they had. It can be a priceless gift for a population ravaged by genocide, and time is of the essence, as that population ages and dwindles. Through the DNA Reunion Project at the Center for Jewish History under the auspices of the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute, we are raising awareness of the potential of DNA testing. Towards that end, this program allows Holocaust survivors or their children to apply for free commercial DNA kits. The team of Jennifer Mendelsohn and Adina Newman, experts in the field of Ashkenazi Jewish genetic genealogy, lead the consultation aspect of the project.
*Please note: We are not creating a unique test or database but rather a chance to receive a DNA kit from one of the major commercial DNA companies like Ancestry.com, who have donated 2500 kits for this project. If you have already taken an Ancestry DNA test, please do not apply for a free kit. In that case, click here to be added to our mailing list about upcoming online workshops on how to interpret your results.
For the distribution of free kits, we are prioritizing survivors themselves as well as anyone for whom purchasing a kit would constitute a financial hardship. At this time, applications are only open to Holocaust survivors and to the children of Holocaust survivors or victims. The distribution of kits is decided on a case-by-case basis. If you are selected to receive a free kit, your wait time will be determined by the total number of requests received, as supplies last.
For a sample of additional press coverage of this project, see articles from the Associated Press, Baltimore Magazine, and WBUR.
DONATE TO THE DNA REUNION PROJECT
Please read the Frequently Asked Questions before submitting an application. DO NOT submit multiple applications for the same person.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.