Date   

What is the purpose of the subject line? #general

Bernard Kouchel <koosh@...>
 

Extract >from JewishGen Guidelines in response to the discussion on that
topic.


4.1 What is the purpose of the subject line?

This should be a specific short phrase capturing the essence of your
message. Many readers have less time to read messages than they would
like, and will decide whether or not to look at your message based upon
its Subject line. The more accurate and informative the Subject line is,
the greater the chances of this message being read.

Generalities such as

* "Genealogy question"
* "Help needed"
* "Names"
* "Researching family"
* "Vienna"
* "Greenberg anyone?"
* "My grandmother"

are absolutely useless, and may result in your message being rejected.
Moderators do not have the time to write proper subject lines for your
messages, nor should they be expected to do so.

Some e-mail programs truncate subject lines to no more than 25
characters, so keep the subject line brief.

bkouchel@jewishgen.org
Bernard I. Kouchel


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen What is the purpose of the subject line? #general

Bernard Kouchel <koosh@...>
 

Extract >from JewishGen Guidelines in response to the discussion on that
topic.


4.1 What is the purpose of the subject line?

This should be a specific short phrase capturing the essence of your
message. Many readers have less time to read messages than they would
like, and will decide whether or not to look at your message based upon
its Subject line. The more accurate and informative the Subject line is,
the greater the chances of this message being read.

Generalities such as

* "Genealogy question"
* "Help needed"
* "Names"
* "Researching family"
* "Vienna"
* "Greenberg anyone?"
* "My grandmother"

are absolutely useless, and may result in your message being rejected.
Moderators do not have the time to write proper subject lines for your
messages, nor should they be expected to do so.

Some e-mail programs truncate subject lines to no more than 25
characters, so keep the subject line brief.

bkouchel@jewishgen.org
Bernard I. Kouchel


Re: Russian Jewish surnames / question for historians #general

Irene Newhouse <newhoir@...>
 

If you read the introduction to Beider's book on Jewish surnames in the
Russian Empire, you'll learn [among many other things] that, other than
decreeing Jews could use no surnames already in use in Russia by non-Jews,
it was pretty much up to the individual & the local Jewish Community what
name got chosen. The registration of surnames was handled by the Jewish
community. A name derived >from Hebrew, of course, was highly
unlikely to be in use already & thus would have been a good candidate.

Irene Newhouse
Kihei HI


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Russian Jewish surnames / question for historians #general

Irene Newhouse <newhoir@...>
 

If you read the introduction to Beider's book on Jewish surnames in the
Russian Empire, you'll learn [among many other things] that, other than
decreeing Jews could use no surnames already in use in Russia by non-Jews,
it was pretty much up to the individual & the local Jewish Community what
name got chosen. The registration of surnames was handled by the Jewish
community. A name derived >from Hebrew, of course, was highly
unlikely to be in use already & thus would have been a good candidate.

Irene Newhouse
Kihei HI


Help! Please Decipher Given Names! ViewMate #general

PKWin2029@...
 

Hello Genners!

Please check out ViewMate - VM380 which shows my maternal grandparents
Marriage Certificate dating back to July 1, 1888 in New York City. Both my
maternal GF and GM came >from Hungary - - - he >from Humonno (now called
Humenne, Slovakia) and she >from Ungvar Hungary (now called Uzghorod, Ukraine)
only about 50 miles apart. Can you figure out their parents given names?
His mother was (Jetti) ? Spitz and his father was (Juda) ? Goodman (Guttman)?
My best shots! TIA!

What do you suggest? Please respond privately to:
Paul K. Winston - PKWin2029@cs.com


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Help! Please Decipher Given Names! ViewMate #general

PKWin2029@...
 

Hello Genners!

Please check out ViewMate - VM380 which shows my maternal grandparents
Marriage Certificate dating back to July 1, 1888 in New York City. Both my
maternal GF and GM came >from Hungary - - - he >from Humonno (now called
Humenne, Slovakia) and she >from Ungvar Hungary (now called Uzghorod, Ukraine)
only about 50 miles apart. Can you figure out their parents given names?
His mother was (Jetti) ? Spitz and his father was (Juda) ? Goodman (Guttman)?
My best shots! TIA!

What do you suggest? Please respond privately to:
Paul K. Winston - PKWin2029@cs.com


Workmen's Circle Burial #general

ADAVIS <ADAVIS@...>
 

A quick query on burial prqactices within the Arbeiter Ring sections of
cemeteries-

Did each branch buy a block so that's its members could be buried in
proximity to one another, or did individuals buy plots >from the national
organization, with no regard to their branch affiliation?

Whatever the answer, was the practice universal or did was there a regional
council that helped to dictate the administration of these benefits?

Adam Davis
Chicago


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Workmen's Circle Burial #general

ADAVIS <ADAVIS@...>
 

A quick query on burial prqactices within the Arbeiter Ring sections of
cemeteries-

Did each branch buy a block so that's its members could be buried in
proximity to one another, or did individuals buy plots >from the national
organization, with no regard to their branch affiliation?

Whatever the answer, was the practice universal or did was there a regional
council that helped to dictate the administration of these benefits?

Adam Davis
Chicago


compter crashed #general

aparnes@...
 

If anyone is trying to find me, my computer crashed and I am
off line for the time being. Am not sure when it will be "home"
again or what's the matter with it.

Thanks for being patient if you want to reach me.....


Arlene Parnes
aparnes@earthlink.net


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen compter crashed #general

aparnes@...
 

If anyone is trying to find me, my computer crashed and I am
off line for the time being. Am not sure when it will be "home"
again or what's the matter with it.

Thanks for being patient if you want to reach me.....


Arlene Parnes
aparnes@earthlink.net


SKULSK : Poland NEAR TO KONIN #general

Phyllis Rubin <casper_tg@...>
 

Hi there,

Our study group consists of various members in different countries around
the world concentrating on our forefathers who left the Shtetle Skulsk from
1900 to 1940.
Already we have over 55 surnames of families who lived there.
We also have small anecdotes about certain details of these families.
Perhaps yours will be amoung them.
If you're searching for family that come >from this Shtetle or have some
information to share with us please feel free to contact Larry Rubin at
prrubin@mweb.co.za or write to

Larry Rubin
Johannesburg
South Africa

Looking forward to hearing >from you,
Larry


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen SKULSK : Poland NEAR TO KONIN #general

Phyllis Rubin <casper_tg@...>
 

Hi there,

Our study group consists of various members in different countries around
the world concentrating on our forefathers who left the Shtetle Skulsk from
1900 to 1940.
Already we have over 55 surnames of families who lived there.
We also have small anecdotes about certain details of these families.
Perhaps yours will be amoung them.
If you're searching for family that come >from this Shtetle or have some
information to share with us please feel free to contact Larry Rubin at
prrubin@mweb.co.za or write to

Larry Rubin
Johannesburg
South Africa

Looking forward to hearing >from you,
Larry


Re: the surname YAHALOM, YOHALEM. #general

Judith Romney Wegner
 

John Yahalom reminds me that the surname YAHALOM is the biblical Hebrew
noun yahalom (spelled with heh), and was the sixth gem on the breastplate
of the High Priest according to Exodus: 28:18.
In a senior moment I had forgotten the existence of the noun (no doubt
through focusing too narrowly on on the look-alike verb which has nothing
to do with it). Of course I now remember seeing the noun in the Torah
portion describing the high priest's breastplate (not surprisingly, the
esoteric names of the gems tend to slip past without registering).

Interestingly,at Exodus 28:18, Hertz humash translates yahalom as
"emerald" but the new JPS has "amethyst." My dictionary, however, says
that while in modern Hebrew it means "diamond" but in the bible, "onyx."
So, mystery solved (except for which gemstone it actually was)! As a
surname it makes perfect sense; many Jews have been diamond merchants, and
many today have the surnames Diamant, Diamond, Dymond, etc.

Judith


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: the surname YAHALOM, YOHALEM. #general

Judith Romney Wegner
 

John Yahalom reminds me that the surname YAHALOM is the biblical Hebrew
noun yahalom (spelled with heh), and was the sixth gem on the breastplate
of the High Priest according to Exodus: 28:18.
In a senior moment I had forgotten the existence of the noun (no doubt
through focusing too narrowly on on the look-alike verb which has nothing
to do with it). Of course I now remember seeing the noun in the Torah
portion describing the high priest's breastplate (not surprisingly, the
esoteric names of the gems tend to slip past without registering).

Interestingly,at Exodus 28:18, Hertz humash translates yahalom as
"emerald" but the new JPS has "amethyst." My dictionary, however, says
that while in modern Hebrew it means "diamond" but in the bible, "onyx."
So, mystery solved (except for which gemstone it actually was)! As a
surname it makes perfect sense; many Jews have been diamond merchants, and
many today have the surnames Diamant, Diamond, Dymond, etc.

Judith


Univ. Of Salzburg Microfilms #hungary

Vivian Kahn
 

While surfing the net I came across the following info about the=20
microfilm collection of the 'Vienna Database of European Family=20
History' at
the Department of History of the University of Salzburg. URL is=20
http://www.univie.ac.at/Wirtschaftsgeschichte/famdat/microfilm.html

According to info at the site, resources can only be used at the=20
Universty. The films listed are supposed only a few of the items=20
available.

Responsible persons:
Prof. Dr. Josef Ehmer
Dr. Heidrun Maschl

Department of History
University of Salzburg
Rudolfskai 42
A-5020 Salzburg

=46ollowing is a list of Hungarian films included in the collection.=20
Seems like a great resource to check out if you plan to be in=20
Salzburg.

microfilm identification: H003
original B1721
place: Comitat Bihar
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H004
original B1723
place: Comitat Trencsen
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H005
original B1724
place: Comitat Trencsen
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H006
original B1725
place: Comitat Veszprem
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H007
original B1788
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H008
original B1789
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H009
original B1790
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H010
original B1791
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H011
original B1792
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 201-400
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H012
original B1793
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 201-400
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H013
original B1794
place: Gy=F6r
original Nadorvaros 1-130
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H014
original B1795
place: Gy=F6r
original Szabadnegy 1-187
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H015
original B1796
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-300
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H016
original B1797
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-300
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H017
original B1798
place: Gy=F6r
original Ferencvaros
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H018
original B1799
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H019
original B1800
place: Gy=F6r
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H020
original B1801
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 201-505
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H021
original B1802
place: Gy=F6r
original Hadorvaros
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H022
original B1803
place: Gy=F6r
original Gy=F6r
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H023
original B1804
place: Gy=F6r
original Gy=F6r
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H024
original B1805
place: Gy=F6r
original Ferdinandvaros
Ferencvaros
Belvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H025
original B1806
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-94
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H0226
original B1807
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H027
original B1808
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H028
original B1809
place: Gy=F6r
original Ferencvaros
Ferdinandvaros
Nadorvaros
Ujvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H029
original B1778
place: Nagyariszep 1-219

microfilm identification: H030
original B1640
place: F=F6lveteli
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H031
original B1777
place: Erd=F6norvati
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H032
original B1606
B1607
B1639
place: F=F6lveteli

microfilm identification: H033
original B1780
place: T=F6keterebes
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H034
original B1695
place: Zemplen
original T=F6ke-Terebes
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H035
original B1781
place: Kecskemet 1-234
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H036
original B1782
place: Kecskemet 1-234
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H037
original B1783
place: Kecskemet
original Donbas-Szallas
Alpar-puzta
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H038
original B1785
place: Scarcs
year: 1857
type: list of fireplaces, registration of domestic anima=
ls

microfilm identification: H039
original B1786
place: County Tolna
original Csaks
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H040
original B1587
place: Agard
year: 1869
type: census list


About accents and umlauts #hungary

Graner Georges <georges.graner@...>
 

Dear H-siggers,
May I repeat to newcomers that there are some problems in the transmission=
=20
of accents and
diacritical signs >from one country to another one.
This is particularly true for what the germans call the umlaut, i.e. two=20
points (or two accents) on a
wovel, a sign very frequent in hungarian.

Let us try, 5 greek people in Hungarian would be =F6t g=F6r=F6g

How is it displayed on your screen ?

So I suggest to use either the : or the " which are well=
transmitted.

It would give either o:t go:ro:g or o"t go"ro"g

I would suspect the same problem with accented wovels such as a, e, or=20
even o and u but this
is less important.
Georges GRANER

************************************************************************
* Tracking #: F25F773D19F8D411AF810050049D33292FF9D044
*
************************************************************************


Hungary SIG #Hungary Univ. Of Salzburg Microfilms #hungary

Vivian Kahn
 

While surfing the net I came across the following info about the=20
microfilm collection of the 'Vienna Database of European Family=20
History' at
the Department of History of the University of Salzburg. URL is=20
http://www.univie.ac.at/Wirtschaftsgeschichte/famdat/microfilm.html

According to info at the site, resources can only be used at the=20
Universty. The films listed are supposed only a few of the items=20
available.

Responsible persons:
Prof. Dr. Josef Ehmer
Dr. Heidrun Maschl

Department of History
University of Salzburg
Rudolfskai 42
A-5020 Salzburg

=46ollowing is a list of Hungarian films included in the collection.=20
Seems like a great resource to check out if you plan to be in=20
Salzburg.

microfilm identification: H003
original B1721
place: Comitat Bihar
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H004
original B1723
place: Comitat Trencsen
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H005
original B1724
place: Comitat Trencsen
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H006
original B1725
place: Comitat Veszprem
year: 1848
type: registration of jews ('Judenz=E4hlung')

microfilm identification: H007
original B1788
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H008
original B1789
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H009
original B1790
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H010
original B1791
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H011
original B1792
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 201-400
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H012
original B1793
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 201-400
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H013
original B1794
place: Gy=F6r
original Nadorvaros 1-130
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H014
original B1795
place: Gy=F6r
original Szabadnegy 1-187
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H015
original B1796
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-300
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H016
original B1797
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-300
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H017
original B1798
place: Gy=F6r
original Ferencvaros
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H018
original B1799
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 1-200
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H019
original B1800
place: Gy=F6r
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H020
original B1801
place: Gy=F6r
original Ujvaros 201-505
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H021
original B1802
place: Gy=F6r
original Hadorvaros
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H022
original B1803
place: Gy=F6r
original Gy=F6r
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H023
original B1804
place: Gy=F6r
original Gy=F6r
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H024
original B1805
place: Gy=F6r
original Ferdinandvaros
Ferencvaros
Belvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H025
original B1806
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros 1-94
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H0226
original B1807
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H027
original B1808
place: Gy=F6r
original Belvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H028
original B1809
place: Gy=F6r
original Ferencvaros
Ferdinandvaros
Nadorvaros
Ujvaros
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H029
original B1778
place: Nagyariszep 1-219

microfilm identification: H030
original B1640
place: F=F6lveteli
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H031
original B1777
place: Erd=F6norvati
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H032
original B1606
B1607
B1639
place: F=F6lveteli

microfilm identification: H033
original B1780
place: T=F6keterebes
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H034
original B1695
place: Zemplen
original T=F6ke-Terebes
year: 1869
type: census list

microfilm identification: H035
original B1781
place: Kecskemet 1-234
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H036
original B1782
place: Kecskemet 1-234
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H037
original B1783
place: Kecskemet
original Donbas-Szallas
Alpar-puzta
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H038
original B1785
place: Scarcs
year: 1857
type: list of fireplaces, registration of domestic anima=
ls

microfilm identification: H039
original B1786
place: County Tolna
original Csaks
year: 1857
type: census list

microfilm identification: H040
original B1587
place: Agard
year: 1869
type: census list


Hungary SIG #Hungary About accents and umlauts #hungary

Graner Georges <georges.graner@...>
 

Dear H-siggers,
May I repeat to newcomers that there are some problems in the transmission=
=20
of accents and
diacritical signs >from one country to another one.
This is particularly true for what the germans call the umlaut, i.e. two=20
points (or two accents) on a
wovel, a sign very frequent in hungarian.

Let us try, 5 greek people in Hungarian would be =F6t g=F6r=F6g

How is it displayed on your screen ?

So I suggest to use either the : or the " which are well=
transmitted.

It would give either o:t go:ro:g or o"t go"ro"g

I would suspect the same problem with accented wovels such as a, e, or=20
even o and u but this
is less important.
Georges GRANER

************************************************************************
* Tracking #: F25F773D19F8D411AF810050049D33292FF9D044
*
************************************************************************


Re: Believing ...? WAS: Mutilation to avoid Conscription #belarus

Elsebeth Paikin
 

I cannot contribute with stories about mutilation or not -- but I
can contribute with a bit about military service and grandparents
or parents (or whatever) telling "lies".
And the question: "To believe or not believe".

Military service:
-----------------
My husband's uncle served 7 years in the Czar's army. Then he was
free to emigrate to Denmark. Shortly after (in 1905) his brother
Jacob, fled Latvia in order to avoid conscription. (That he did
flee has been substantiated by Vitaly Charny (Thanks, Vitaly!) who
found an ad requesting information about him because he was wanted
for army service!).

Now the funny part is that after having lived in Denmark for many
years, his grandson was due to be drafted to the army... (in Denmark
it was possible to avoid army service by doing something else) ...
but then Jacob told his grandson: You must do your service to serve
your country!

He never talked about life "back there", my guess is that he felt
bad about having left his mother (a widow) and the rest of the
family behind and perhaps suspecting that a (heavy!?) fine would
be placed on them....

My husband's great-great-grandfather served 25 years and then
volunteered for another 5 years. He received a medal and a
document that gave him and all his descendants permission to live
wherever they wanted to in Russia. We have a copy of that document
which was, of course, kept and treasured by his descendants.
Yet he remained faithful the faith of his forefathers.

Lies, "Bubbe Maizes" or truth?
------------------------------
Listen and take note of all stories, family myths and legends you
are told. Even if they are not true there is maybe (often?) a
kernel of truth that can help you find the right track for your
research. I have found that several times -- and it has really
helped.

But, but: Don't believe everything you are told -- even if it is
your grandparents or parents telling the stories. The human mind
is a strange thing and can easily err. Or they in turn might have
been told something which has been misunderstood or twisted a bit.

My mother told me that her father's cousin lost both legs in the
war 1864 (Denmark/Germany). So he humped around on his knees. She
remembered it vividly because she had been to visit him when she
was a child, and after the visit she was told the story.
Now, when I started doing genealogical research I found that he
was born -- BORN -- in 1868!!! My mother really wondered about
that when I told her, and she couldn't understand why she was
told the other story.
I later got in touch with the grandchild of the "leg-less" cousin
and got the (true?) story: He was working in the field and
accidentally cut himself (severed a sines in the foot) with the
scythe and >from that day, his foot was turned inward, so that he
had to walk on the outside of his foot and use crutches.

People differ!
Some like to "pull the legs" of gullible children!
Others don't!
Some want to beatify the stories of their life - others want to
paint in more sombre tones.

Now, as for stories about the reasons for Jews emigrating
and/or avoiding conscription to the Czar's most often we
encounter stories about pogroms as the reason for emigrating
-- also >from areas where there were no pogroms!

I also came across an example of a grand-father telling the
family how he could remember how they had to hide >from the
Cossacks. The problem is that there were no Cossack-attacks
in that area, and the Cossack attacks that did take place
elsewhere was long before that old man could have been born.
He probably heard the story when he was only a small child,
and - as children often do - remember events they have been
told as if they themselves had witnessed them.

I myself am guilty of that: I was often told about how my
parents and my sister experienced the 9th April 1940, when
the Germans occupied Denmark. They were staying at a hotel on
Funen, and they heard the planes, looked out of the window and
saw the sky filled with paper floating down. (German notices
to the Danes that they were "liberating" Denmark and that the
Danes should remain calm, cooperate with the Germans and no
harm would come to them.
I remember that vividly! Or so I thought! -- I was born 1943
<VBG>

As an historian you learn to discern between primary sources
(eyewitness accounts) and secondary sources (retold by others
- not eyewitnesses). Besides you have to discern between the
quality of the primary sources:
Was it an account told or written when the events took place?
If written at the time: Was it in a diary of someone who wanted
to give his (beatified?) version of the story in order to leave
behind a good reputation? (Politicians would do that!)
Or were they told/written many years later e.g. in memoirs?

So do listen to the stories, do pay heed to them, --
but do so with a pinch of salt and check them out.
Even if the stories turn out to be not -- or not entirely --
true, your loved ones probably did not "lie" to you, but told
the stories they believed to be true (for whatever reason).

As you presumably know if you ask a group of highly trained
witnesses (e.g. police officers - trained in observing events)
they tell different versions of the story. This has often been
tested and every time with the same result - varying witness
accounts.

Best regards,


--
Elsebeth Paikin, Copenhagen, Denmark,
e-mail: elsebeth@paikin.dk
--


Belarus SIG #Belarus Re: Believing ...? WAS: Mutilation to avoid Conscription #belarus

Elsebeth Paikin
 

I cannot contribute with stories about mutilation or not -- but I
can contribute with a bit about military service and grandparents
or parents (or whatever) telling "lies".
And the question: "To believe or not believe".

Military service:
-----------------
My husband's uncle served 7 years in the Czar's army. Then he was
free to emigrate to Denmark. Shortly after (in 1905) his brother
Jacob, fled Latvia in order to avoid conscription. (That he did
flee has been substantiated by Vitaly Charny (Thanks, Vitaly!) who
found an ad requesting information about him because he was wanted
for army service!).

Now the funny part is that after having lived in Denmark for many
years, his grandson was due to be drafted to the army... (in Denmark
it was possible to avoid army service by doing something else) ...
but then Jacob told his grandson: You must do your service to serve
your country!

He never talked about life "back there", my guess is that he felt
bad about having left his mother (a widow) and the rest of the
family behind and perhaps suspecting that a (heavy!?) fine would
be placed on them....

My husband's great-great-grandfather served 25 years and then
volunteered for another 5 years. He received a medal and a
document that gave him and all his descendants permission to live
wherever they wanted to in Russia. We have a copy of that document
which was, of course, kept and treasured by his descendants.
Yet he remained faithful the faith of his forefathers.

Lies, "Bubbe Maizes" or truth?
------------------------------
Listen and take note of all stories, family myths and legends you
are told. Even if they are not true there is maybe (often?) a
kernel of truth that can help you find the right track for your
research. I have found that several times -- and it has really
helped.

But, but: Don't believe everything you are told -- even if it is
your grandparents or parents telling the stories. The human mind
is a strange thing and can easily err. Or they in turn might have
been told something which has been misunderstood or twisted a bit.

My mother told me that her father's cousin lost both legs in the
war 1864 (Denmark/Germany). So he humped around on his knees. She
remembered it vividly because she had been to visit him when she
was a child, and after the visit she was told the story.
Now, when I started doing genealogical research I found that he
was born -- BORN -- in 1868!!! My mother really wondered about
that when I told her, and she couldn't understand why she was
told the other story.
I later got in touch with the grandchild of the "leg-less" cousin
and got the (true?) story: He was working in the field and
accidentally cut himself (severed a sines in the foot) with the
scythe and >from that day, his foot was turned inward, so that he
had to walk on the outside of his foot and use crutches.

People differ!
Some like to "pull the legs" of gullible children!
Others don't!
Some want to beatify the stories of their life - others want to
paint in more sombre tones.

Now, as for stories about the reasons for Jews emigrating
and/or avoiding conscription to the Czar's most often we
encounter stories about pogroms as the reason for emigrating
-- also >from areas where there were no pogroms!

I also came across an example of a grand-father telling the
family how he could remember how they had to hide >from the
Cossacks. The problem is that there were no Cossack-attacks
in that area, and the Cossack attacks that did take place
elsewhere was long before that old man could have been born.
He probably heard the story when he was only a small child,
and - as children often do - remember events they have been
told as if they themselves had witnessed them.

I myself am guilty of that: I was often told about how my
parents and my sister experienced the 9th April 1940, when
the Germans occupied Denmark. They were staying at a hotel on
Funen, and they heard the planes, looked out of the window and
saw the sky filled with paper floating down. (German notices
to the Danes that they were "liberating" Denmark and that the
Danes should remain calm, cooperate with the Germans and no
harm would come to them.
I remember that vividly! Or so I thought! -- I was born 1943
<VBG>

As an historian you learn to discern between primary sources
(eyewitness accounts) and secondary sources (retold by others
- not eyewitnesses). Besides you have to discern between the
quality of the primary sources:
Was it an account told or written when the events took place?
If written at the time: Was it in a diary of someone who wanted
to give his (beatified?) version of the story in order to leave
behind a good reputation? (Politicians would do that!)
Or were they told/written many years later e.g. in memoirs?

So do listen to the stories, do pay heed to them, --
but do so with a pinch of salt and check them out.
Even if the stories turn out to be not -- or not entirely --
true, your loved ones probably did not "lie" to you, but told
the stories they believed to be true (for whatever reason).

As you presumably know if you ask a group of highly trained
witnesses (e.g. police officers - trained in observing events)
they tell different versions of the story. This has often been
tested and every time with the same result - varying witness
accounts.

Best regards,


--
Elsebeth Paikin, Copenhagen, Denmark,
e-mail: elsebeth@paikin.dk
--