JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen useful websites from Rootsweb-and MOKOTOFF article #general

Miriam Margolyes <75342.3217@...>

Pushing Back The Brick Wall

by Gary Mokotoff

Jewish genealogists with Eastern European ancestry hit a brick
wall in tracing their roots at about the year 1800 for two
reasons: (1) prior to that date Jews did not have hereditary
surnames; therefore, if there are any records of that time,
ancestors are identified only by their given names and perhaps
their patronymics; and (2) for many years the evidence was that
there were few records prior to 1800 that identified Jews by

With the increased sophistication of Jewish genealogical
research, this brick wall is being pushed back at least a
century. Because Eastern European Jews historically name their
children after deceased ancestors, a number of more advanced
researchers have been able to analyze 18th-century documents and
identify their family based solely on given names. (See
"Tackling the Lack of Surnames in 18th-Century Russian Records"
by Len Yodaiken in the Fall 1999 issue of Avotaynu.) The Fall
2000 issue of Avotaynu addressed the second obstacle, lack of
documents, by noting that Polish nobility records contain
information about the population on their lands, including Jews.
(See "Can Jewish Genealogists Successfully Research 18th-Century
Poland?" by Sallyann Amdur Sack.) The region covered is Poland
and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which today comprises portions
of Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine. Researchers should
first determine which nobleman owned his/her ancestor's town and
then find out where the private archives is now located. There
is a good chance that these records will include censuses and
lists of Jews who lived on the noble's lands and in his towns.

To assist in the research, Avotaynu has published on the
Internet all known holdings of the private archives of Polish
magnates at For example,
if your ancestors lived under the rule of the MIERZEJEWSKI
family, their private archives is at the Academy of Sciences in
Vilnius. The SAMBIRS'KYI family archives is at the State
Historical Archive in Kiev. One researcher found censuses in
the CZARTORYSKI family archives in Krakow that included entries
on the Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-1760), the founder of Hassidism, in
the Besht's hometown of Medzhibozh!

["Pushing Back the Brick Wall" first appeared in "Nu? What's
New? News About Jewish Genealogy >from Avotaynu," Vol. 2, No. 2,
January 28, 2001 and is reprinted with the author's kind

England. 19th Century Trade Directories and Tax Lists
104,000 records; Sue O'Neill

United States. Federal and New York State Census Transcriptions
Northeastern States; 945 records; Veronica Meier

Call For Volunteer U.S. Federal Census Transcribers. If you are
interested in transcribing any state/county of any U.S. federal
census records, please visit

All transcriptions are included in the USGenWeb Archives.

Census Additions/Updates, Week Ending 2 February 2001

* * *
Don't overlook the valuable existing locality mailing
lists. For example, learn what lists are now available for
Australia, England, and New Zealand by checking the indexes at:
New Zealand:

America. Contains an alphabetical list of all found deceased
male members of the various MISNER families in Canada and the
U.S.A. >from the early-1700s to the mid-1900s. Some pictures.
MISNERdata.html [Note Two-Line URL]

Permission to reprint articles >from Rootsweb Review is granted
unless specifically stated otherwise, provided: (1) the reprint
is used for non-commercial, educational purposes; and (2) the
following notice appears at the end of the article:
Written by [author's name, e-mail address, and URL, if
given]. Previously published by,
Inc., RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Genealogy News, Vol. 4, No. 6,
7 February 2001. RootsWeb:

Miriam Margolyes
searching: SANDMAN (Prussia, 19C London & South Africa) POSNER
(Berlin & Posen) LAZARUS (Berlin) MODE & MOED (Lisbon & London)

Join to automatically receive all group messages.