I visited the main New York Public Library today and found various interesting
1) The "Institut fur Judischen FamilienForschung" (Institute for Jewish Family
Research) was founded in Vienna in 1912 and remained in existence until Paul
Joseph Diamant (its leading figure) emigrated to Israel in 1932. A journal was
published in 1912-13 and again in 1917. It is exceedingly rare, and has never
been reprinted although an index (really just a reproduction of the tables of
contents) was published in the journal Der Schlussel in Vienna in 1970.
There is a lengthy article by Dr Bernard Wachstein, with full lists, of the
Jewish conscription census for Pressburg/Bratislava/Poszony >from the year
1736. He also discusses the important topic of where these Jews came from,
and which other communities supplied them with trade.
2) There is an important article by Dr. A. Freimann, the renowned
bibliographer of Frankfurt-am-Main, about Jewish family trees. Unfortunately,
that issue only covers up to the letter C---with the promise that the rest
would follow. But this is in the last publication of I.J.FF.... was it
finished in another publication...maybe? He also says that the first public
release of Jewish family trees was at an exhibition of them in the Royal
Albert Hall in London, catalogued by Lucien Wolf (I think in 1879).
3) Now a personal request for help. In the summer of 1774, my g-g-g-g-gf Rabbi
Leib Zwebner was ordained in Prague by the renowned Rabbi Yechezkel Landau
(known as the Noda BiYehudah). The document refers to him as coming "from
Hungary, >from the city of Sha'ag." My late father said that he thought the
town was really called Iyvesag, or something similar, but was known in the
Jewish dialect as Sha'ag. Does anyone know which city this is? Is it an old
name for some better known place.... the Hebrew text does describe it as a
city, rather than a small place.... Any ideas?
4) While talking to Ms. Fixler, the very helpful librarian at the Jewish
Division of the library, to whom I was introduced by the ever-resourceful and
well-connected Louis Schonfeld, she drew my attention to the fact that a
relative of hers had an unregistered marriage in 19th century Hungary. And
this was despite the fact that he was actually a government official!?!! In
the course of discussion we realised that he had evidently registered his
first marriage, but when his wife died and he remarried her younger
sister---it was not recorded, and hence her children bore her maiden name and
were recorded as born out of wedlock!
I suggested, and think I have heard talk of this before among experts, that in
there were several relatives who were sanctioned for marriage by Jewish law
but not by canon law. Examples include an uncle marrying his niece. In cases
when this occurred the marriage was celebrated privately with a Jewish
religious ceremony, but went unrecorded and children had to be registered
under the mother's maiden name. I wonder if church law in Hungary forbade
marrying two sisters, even if the first sister is no longer alive when the
second weds. Does anyone know... perhaps we have a matrimonial lawyer with
historical interests among our readers?
This might resolve some of our readers' questions.
Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein