I would like to applaud and thank Madeleine Isenberg and Rand Fishbein for their informative and thoughtful posts.I refer especially to the words â??cultural milieuâ??. While finding family members and â??correctâ?? names and connections can be thrilling, realizing the context in which our ancestors lived can sometimes become the most meaningful. One can often learn more by going to villages(which sometimes have changed little in the last century), going to a little town hall and finding hand-written information about family members which has not made it to the internet(and perhaps never will) visiting local cemeteries and attending an annual Holocaust memorial event can sometimes reveal the most unexpected and surprising information.
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On Apr 14, 2017, at 2:04 AM, H-SIG digest <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
H-SIG Digest for Thursday, April 13, 2017.
1. Reply to Madeleine Isenberg's post on "FamilySearch places Jewish pre-1895 Hungary records online"
Subject: Reply to Madeleine Isenberg's post on "FamilySearch places Jewish pre-1895 Hungary records online"
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2017 17:53:49 -0400
Fellow Jewish Family History Travelers:
I want to thank Madeleine Isenberg for her insightful and very relevant
explanation of Jewish naming practices in a posting on April 9, 2017
entitled: FamilySearch places Jewish pre-1895 Hungary records online. It
cannot be said too often that family historians can enhance the accuracy of
their research by corroborating what they learn >from any database with other
sources that reveal the alternative names, designations and tags given to
target subjects by the communities in which they lived. The wonderful LDS
Jewish records database is no exception. In the same way that place names
across Eastern Europe have changed periodically depending on the political
power in charge so, too, have birth names and surname - something that often
is forgotten in the rush to claim "victory" in the search for a particular
Hebrew/Yiddish naming practices, of course, present innumerable obstacles to
those not familiar with the nuances of Jewish cultural practices. As anyone
who has spent hours trampling through old U.S. Census records knows,
inaccuracies abound, due to a host of reasons to include, but not limited
to, 1) the lack of experience of the enumerators with the culture and
language of their interviewees, 2) distractions and a haste to complete
their task, and 3) the tedium that attends any job undertaken in severe
heat, cold and in less than pleasant conditions. Similarly, as we learned
when the Ellis Island records were first put online, their utility was only
as good as the care and expertise of those tasked to index them. Without
question, the LDS Jewish records database is a boon to scholars. Its value
is inestimable as are the benefits and mutual understanding that has
emanated >from the close collaboration between Jewish and Mormon genealogists
over the years.
However, Madeleine makes a very important point. The search for truth is
not a one stop shop. Always challenge your own research, particularly when
it comes to Jewish names. As I have found all too often in my own
sleuthing, the same individual often went by two, three, four or even more
different names during his/her lifetime. The more volatile the times and
the more diverse the cultural milieu in which an individual lived, the more
likely that the person was known by multiple names. Jews, perhaps more than
most other groups, found both distinction and anonymity, in a host of
Rand H. Fishbein, Ph.D.
HARRISON (England); FISHBEIN (Warsaw); SZUMSKI, POWEMBROWSKI, TYNKOWSKI,
RECHTMAN, WAKSMAN (Augustow, Poland); GERSTEIN (Zhvanets, Ukraine); REINES
(Bessarabia, Ukraine); HOROWITZ Family, WEISS, WEISSMAN (Miskolc, Hungary);
HOROWITZ-MARGARETTEN Family (Hungary, New York).