Re: Does anyone know anything about the Jewish community in Pruzana? #belarus

Adam Turner

A couple of old but useful resources that may be helpful:

The Pruzhany Research Project: 

The Pruzhany section of the Children of Pruzany and Surrounding Area pages (also includes nearby shtetls like Malch, Bereza, Seletz, etc.): 

Adam Turner

Re: ViewMate translation request - 4 Yiddish postcards #translation #yiddish


On Thu, May 28, 2020 at 12:24 PM, Wladi Fridman wrote:
It is necessary to copy the link and paste it into a browser space-not click on it.
It won't open that way

Anglesized Names #poland #general


My wife's maiden name is Sinkin.  Her grandfather immigrated from Poland and either chose the name Sinkin or had it changed for him at Ellis Island.  Does anyone know what might have been the original name?  Your help would be appreciated.

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Re: Does anyone know anything about the Jewish community in Pruzana? #belarus


My name is Nava Godelnik. My father Moshe Elfanstien was born and raised in Pruzane. During world war 2 he ran away to Ural mountains area. he immigrated to Israel in 1950.
Here he met friends from Pruzane. I knew most of them as being his daughter. I do not remember any of the families you mentioned. since my father passed away  and so most of his friends I have no source of information. As far as I know there a book which tells about the people of Pruzane and I believe you can find information there. sorry I don't have this book.


Re: Father and son with same given name.i have xome across #belarus #poland #general


Hi Steve, The custom of not naming children after living relatives is only in Ashkenazi circles. Many Sephardic Jews commonly give names of living parents to their children.
I am not familiar with surnames from Moldova (despite having ancestry in Kishinev), but to me your last name BUZILA sounds like it could have Sephardic origins.  I believe there were relatively large numbers of Sephardim in the more South Eastern parts of Europe like Bulgaria, Romania,and up to Moldova. I don't know how the families in Poland and Belarus are related but is it possible that there was some sephardic heritage there too. 
Just raising the possibility even if it's unlikely.
Binyamin Kerman
Baltimore MD

Re: Jewish Argentinians (NOW On history and genealogy) #general #latinamerica

Alberto Guido Chester

I strongly agree with Donna Guy´s post cited below.
We genealogists, whether professional or hobbyists, are researching and doing a branch of history, namely the history of our own families.
In my personal case, I am equally interested in collecting names and dates as in understanding the conditions of life and circumstances my ancestors lived in. Of course, it is a matter of personal choice and no one has a unique truth.
Also, in my case, I happen to be a historian. This academic background compels me to look beyond family lore and generalizations (which are ok for those who feel ok with them) into academic work which has thoroughly studied certain moments of history.
This does not mean I would believe anything that was published by a university neither in a hard bound book, but it would mean I would take a critical reading of the material and its bibliography as a means to help me understand that certain period of the past.
The subject of the mass migration from Europe to America since 1850 has been subject of many studies (also known as movement to the West). Those MILLIONS of men were an avid market for female prostitution. The poverty overcoming Europe in the XIX th left over millions of women in semi empty villages, with no means to support themselves. Prostitution was an exit already in Europe (Warsaw being a well analyzed city) and transferred to Alexandria, Constantinople, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and other destinations of single men.
As Donna Guy has said, it may be a useful tool for people researching their own families to understand the context, looking further than their valuable family stories.  
Historians do not have a monopoly of the truth, however good historians have  scientific approach to a certain matter.
Hope this helps

Alberto Guido Chester
Buenos Aires, Argentina
"I spent 10 years researching this topic in Argentina, Great Britain, and the US.  The Jewish prostitute  and pimp population were a quite visible minority due to legalized prostitution and the fact that many legal prostitutes registered with municipal governments and Jewish groups in Argentina and elsewhere decried the visibility of Jewish pimps and prostitutes to protect the women and lower anxieties about Anti-Semitism.  In fact, the Jewish prostitutes represented about 20% of the prostitute population, and most were Italians, Spanish and native-born. There are many books on this issue in English, Spanish, and Hebrew, and I would recommend them any time over encyclopedia articles.  My book is called Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family and Nation in Argentina.  Other scholars include Sandra McGee Deutsch, Mir Yafitz, Haim Avni, and Edward Bristow.  All have extensive bibliographies.  Please read them. Donna Guy" 

Re: My maternal grandmother, Fanny RECHTSCHAFFNER #ukraine

Marcel Apsel



Could the name Rechtschaffner not be a phonetic variant or mistake for the name Rechtschaffen. I have a Fanny Rechtschaffen.  Could you get back to me privately.


Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium



Re: My maternal grandmother, Fanny RECHTSCHAFFNER #ukraine

Marcel Apsel

Could Rechtschaffner not be a phonetic variant or mistake in writing for Rechtschaffen.  I have a Fanny Rechtschaffen, daughter of Pinchas Rechtschaffen (1864-1928) and Malka Sara Klein (1866-1939).  No more information.

On  the other hand my great-grandmother Sara Rechtschaffen, was married to my great-grandfather Shlomo Apsel and must have died before 1910, because there are some granddaughters who are named after her and born after 1910.  A lot of Apsels and their family were also living near the Sztrelisk area.  After Sara Apsel (born Rechtschaffen) passed away, her husband moved to Olchowiec, a little hamlet just miles away of Bobrka (which much be 25-30 away from Sztrelisk) to one of his sons.  Which information do you have on your Rechtschaffner who might be Rechtschaffen.

I don’t mind you to answer me privately


Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium



Freitig family from Sakia/Szaki - Lithuania #lithuania #general


I have reached a dead-end in finding lost relatives of the Freitig/Freitag family from Sakiai. Our grandfather (1908-1996) was the sole survivor of his family because he left for Israel before the war, a son of Izak Freitag who married Sara Rosenblum in Vilkaviskis and moved there. He mentioned that several of his father's brothers had left at the beginning of the 20th century (or before) to escape compulsory army service in Lithuania. He said in order not to be found they had changed their names from Freitag into Levi or Levine (he thought), a common Jewish name. He mentioned they might have emigrated to Machester or Birmingham, UK and this could also be a transit place for the USA, but there was very little he knew, as they had left by the time he was growing up. Izak was the youngest brother (1888). His older siblings were Abel Leib (1869), Jeremias Mozes (1878), Sheine Rocha (she stayed in Lithuania). Elias Zalman (1883) and Benjamin Ber (1885). They were children of Israel Abraham Freitag and Ita Bluma Gamler from Szaki/Sakiai, Lithuania. Who knows this family?

Elsina Bayrach
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Translation of the Ratno Yizkor Book (Ukraine) now available #ukraine

Joel Alpert

The Yizkor-Books-In-Print Project is pleased to announce its 95th
title, Translation of the Ratno Yizkor Book (Ukraine), The Story of
the Destroyed Jewish Community

Original Yizkor Book Published by
The Former Residents of Ratno In
Israel Tel-Aviv 1983

Translation Project Coordinator: Lynne Siegel
Editors: Nachman Tamir
Layout: Doni Magid
Cover Design: Nina Schwartz, artstop@...
Name Indexing: Jonathan Wind

Hard Cover, 11” by 8.5”, 590 pages with all original illustrations and
List price: $62.95 available from JewishGen for $37

This Memorial Book was written by former residents of Ratno, Ukraine.
Some who left the town before the war wrote articles and essays about
the rich Jewish life in town: the people, the dreamers, the doers, the
ultra-religious, the secular, the Zionists, the socialists…The various
institutions in town, the charities and the help societies for the

This book contains many first-hand accounts and personal remembrances
of the survivors and emigrees from these towns and serves at a fitting
memorial to these destroyed Jewish communities and in addition bears
witness to their destruction.

For the researchers, this book contains a wealth of both genealogical
and cultural information that can provide us with a picture of the
environment our ancestors left when they left the town.

Consider this book as a gift to a special relative.
For all our publications see:

For ordering information see:

Nearby Jewish communities:

Dubechne 10 miles SW

Kortelesy 14 miles NNW

Shchedrohir 15 miles NE

Datyn' 15 miles SE

Kamen Kashirskiy 19 miles E

Malaryta, Belarus 20 miles WNW

Divin, Belarus 21 miles N

Joel Alpert, Coordinator of the Yizkor Books in Print Project

Re: When were Jews in Galicia (Poland and now Ukraine) allowed to have passports? #galicia

Shelley Mitchell

What I found interesting about passports from Galicia was the difference, for example, of a Polish passport and an Austrian one.  I have my grandmother's Polish passport from late 1920 which she used to come to America. I don't have my grandfather's.  I know he served in WW I which I understand is part of the reason she married so late. Because of no civil marriage, she is called by her maiden surname.  It also mentions her aunt for some reason. This is an aunt I know little about, save what I found on JRI-Poland for her children by a man who is only mentioned on one birth certificate.  Can someone tell me what it mentions about Feige Terner?  What's also interesting is that both of her parents were alive at this point. Please let me know if there is any difficulty reading it. 
Thank you.

Shelley Mitchell, NYC    shemit@...
Searching for TERNER, GOLDSCHEIN, KONIGSBERG, SCHONFELD, in Kolomyya; PLATZ, in Delaytn; and TOPF, in Radautz and Kolomea.
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Looking for Advice and Guidance in Kfar Chassidim, Israel. #israel #general

Meyer Denn


I have been doing genealogical research for nearly 50 years, and I have been unable to find the name of the father of one great-grandfather. The main reason for this is that he was the only one of my great-grandparents who died in the Shoah. All of the others died before the Shoah, so I have been able to access their death records in the countries that they occurred. I have searched in all kinds of archives, town halls, synagogues at which his children attended for yizkor plaques, etc. No luck.

It just occurred to me that my grandmother commissioned and donated a sefer torah in memory of her parents to a synagogue or institution in the town of Kfar Chassidim near Haifa sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. I know that when a sefer torah is dedicated, that the sofer usually writes a round parchment dedication to the donor and the honoree that is placed on the round wooden disks that hold the Torah in place on the wooden rods and prevents it from slipping off. Also, the torah cover would have been embroidered with the names as well. Even if the mantel cover has been worn out and replaced, the parchment inscription should still be attached to the wooden disk.

Here comes my question. How would I go about locating THIS SPECIFIC sefer torah in Kfar Chassidim so that I can see if the inscription is there? There must be many shuls and religious institutions in Kfar Chassidim today.

Is there anybody in this group who lives near Kfar Chassidim or who might have an idea about how I should move forward?

Thanks in advance!

Meyer Denn
Beit Shemesh, Israel

Seeking statistics of Jewish population of Lithuania not living in Vilna or Kovno at the beginning of WWII #lithuania #general

Joel Alpert

I am seeking the number of Jews of Lithuania not living in Vilna or Kovno at the beginning of WWII, that is how many Jews were living in the hundreds of shtetlach.  
Joel Alpert

President Trump Signs Never Again Education Act Legislation #usa #holocaust

Jan Meisels Allen



As previously reported on this forum, the Never Again Education Act passed Congress and was sent to President Trump for his signature.  HR 943 was signed by President Trump. The new law will allocate $10 million over 5 years to expand Holocaust awareness and create a website with curriculum materials for teachers nationwide. The bill was authored by Representative Carolyn Maloney ( D- NY-12) and had 302 House cosponsors.  The bill passed the House by 393-5  on International Holocaust Remembrance Day -January 27, and passed the Senate by unanimous consent. The law may be read at:

To read more see:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Re: When were Jews in Galicia (Poland and now Ukraine) allowed to have passports? #galicia

Adelle Gloger

My father came from Tarnopol in 1921 when he was 15 years old. I have his Polish passport with his photo.
Adelle Weintraub Gloger
Beachwood, Ohio

Re: Earliest Use of Surnames in Europe/Romania? #romania #general #names

Roger Lustig

Theo Raphael writes:
"Bennett Muraskin compiled in 2012 some of the origins and meanings of
Ashkenazi last names."

This article was riddled with errors, mistranslations and
misunderstandings. Even the "corrected" version has quite a few errors,
and both are highly incomplete. Nor does the article actually address
the question: *How* did Jews choose surnames?

Many books have been written on this subject, starting with Leopold
Zunz's _Die Namen der Juden_ in 1837. In recent times, Avotaynu Press
has published books about surnames in the Pale of Settlement, Russian
Poland, Galicia, Germany, Prague and other places. It's a complicated
subject with answers that depend on time and place.

Roger Lustig

Princeton, NJ

research coordinator, GerSIG

Re: Question re Polish parents' anglicised names on 1896 UK Naturalization Certificate #unitedkingdom #poland

Andy Monat

I too have seen records in New York where parents who presumably never left Europe were given anglicized names. Most of the times when the first name of a non-immigrant ancestor was anglicized, it turned out to be the name that was used by a descendant in the US. So for instance, the father Zalman Rivlin was listed as Samuel Rivlin, the same as his two grandsons went by in English; but the grandsons' Hebrew names were Zalman. (That case was especially confusing, because the father Zalman/"Samuel" Rivlin had a son Shlomo/Samuel Rivlin, thus leading to three consecutive generations who were all listed as Samuel!)

I even found one case where a mother was listed on one daughter's death record as Bessie, and that was crossed out and replaced with a typewritten name Sarah Minnie Maisen. A year later, the other daughter's death record gave the mother's name as Bessie, with no surname listed. The mother (Bessie or Sarah Minnie) had two granddaughters, one named Bessie/Betsy (and Bashe in an immigration record), the other named Sarah Minnie. So the descendants were pretty sure that one of those two granddaughters had been named for the grandmother, they just weren't in agreement on which one.

Re: When were Jews in Galicia (Poland and now Ukraine) allowed to have passports? #galicia

Meyer Denn

Where would one go to find an application for a passport from 1920?
Meyer Denn
Beit Shemesh, Israel

Re: Libraries with Ancestry Remote Access Through ProQuest Has Been Extended Through June 30 #announcements

EdrieAnne Broughton

In ordinary times, you can access Ancestry Library addition only at the physical library building.  I know some libraries and Ancestry have made it possible to access from home but haven't needed to do it so I don't know the procedure.  ProQuest in the past made both home access and library access possible, using your library card.  I used to use ProQuest as an alternate search engine for census searches but they switched to using the same search engine as Ancestry which made it totally useless for searching different parameters.  I used it to search without using a surname...which I found useful in searching for Serrings who were often transcribed and indexed as Lerrings, Lerings and any number of variations.  Thanks for reminding me to see what ProQuest is doing.  
EdrieAnne Broughton
Vacaville, California

Re: Libraries with Ancestry Remote Access Through ProQuest Has Been Extended Through June 30 #announcements

David Hamermesh

I got the following link after logging in:
Here's what I did to get to see that link on the New York Public Library website:
1) Go to
2) Click on Log In, choose "Log Into the Research Catalog", and enter my information
3) Click on Research
4) Click on Expanded Access to Databases
5) See the Ancestry link in the second group of links
Good luck!
David Hamermesh
Jackson Heights, NY

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