Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names


This became oddly contentious.

Like many others, I'd heard to stories about Ellis Island name changes and later learned that this would not have happened. My own tree shows numerous name changes, both in Europe and in the USA. In some cases, this came down to differing opinions about how to transliterate a Russian or Yiddish name or even a shift from a Romanian to a Yiddish variant of the same name. A couple of times, it looks like whoever wrote the name down in Europe misheard the name entirely. Usually, it was a matter of simple desire to assimilate.

So, for example, Talpalariu became Feller (Romanian and Yiddish for the same profession). Leibovici became Leibowtiz and, later, Lee (Romanian to Yiddish to Anglicized). Itrov was misspelled as Eatroff in the US and we stuck with it. Wittrof ended up on a a passenger manifest, but was so wildly off, it never appeared on another document. Faivush became Philip and Mikael became Max to sound more "American." All of those sorts of changes are extremely commonplace.

The most amusing story about assigning surnames in my family was a tall tale from the mid-19th century when the Austro-Hungarian Empire decided Jews should have surnames. Usually, those names would be based on an occupation or patronymic or a location, but one of my ancestors was said to have been so amused by the "ridiculous" names people took, he laughed out loud and an official saddled him with the name Lacher, meaning "laugher." That's too good to be true, but it's more fun than "they changed it at Ellis Island."

Re: Yiddish or Hebrew name for IDA #belarus #names

Jules Levin

I haven't been following this topic, but my grandmother's name in St
Petersburg was Ita, pronounced /EEta/.  If you say it with an American
accent the t becomes d, and you get Eda,  which was her name in
America.  I never thought this was a problem name.

Jules Levin

On 6/26/2020 3:14 PM, Barbara (Tuchow) Frohlich wrote:
Art Hoffman, my Montreal born mother who’s name was
Ida was always called Chaike or Chaikelah by her Russian born mother
so that’s the name I had put on her headstone. Years later said that
Chaike is a diminutive for Chaya!

Wejswaser/Weiswasser family in Suwalki, Poland #poland

Dwera (Dora) Wejswaser came to Rochester, New York around 1881. Would like to know of siblings she left and those who may have immigrated with her.
Many thanks,
Judy Cohen
Sent from my Verizon ASUS tablet

Kumelanski family in Sejny, Poland #poland

Searching for Riwka Kumelanski, nee Tokarczyk.
Would appreciate any information.
Thank you,
Judy Cohen
Sent from my Verizon ASUS tablet Offering Free Access to Selected Collections Through Canada Day #announcements #canada

Jan Meisels Allen is offering free access to selected collections through Canada Day, July 1, 2020  11:59PM ET. Registration is required with your name, email address and password.


Go to:


To see the featured collections  go to:


Open the record you are researching an a green “save” box opens and from there you can save the record to your computer or Ancestry Shoebox.


After the free offer expires you will only be able to access the records in the featured collection using a paid membership.


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Re: what is the meaning of given name #poland #names





The name seems to suggest – nesicha which means princess in Hebrew.

Shabbat Shalom, Malka Chosnek

Dates of Simchat Torah 1866 #general

Family Bonds

Would someone be able to tell me when Simchat Torah was in 1866?  A memoir states that my 3great-grandmother died in the middle of Simchat Torah in 1866 (cholera plague in Brest).
Thank you.
Toby Gass

Re: Seeking information on a village named Horodok, Vilna #lithuania

Alexander Sharon

Hi, there seems to be confusion as to the number and location of towns named Horodok in Belarus.
JGFF database has identified only 5 (five) Horodok (s) in Belarus that had Jewish population. 

1. Davyd-Haradok, (current modern name), during Russian Empire era was known as David - Gorodok, Mazyr uyezd, Minsk guberniya
   During the interwar period (1918-1939) town was known as Dawidgródek, located in the Stolin powiat, Polesie Wojewodztwo , Poland
   Town population was ~30% Jewish in 1921.
   There are 226 searches for this town by Genners in JGFF database. 

2. Kazhan - Haradok, (current modern name), during Russian Empire era was known as Kozhan Gorodok, Pinsk uyezd, Minsk guberniya
    During the interwar period (1918-1939) town was known as Kożangródek and was located in the Łuniniec powiat, Polesie Wojewodztwo , Poland
    Place is located 14 miles distance from Davyd - Haradok, and towns are often confused by researchers.
    Town population was ~30% Jewish in 1921.
    There are 226 matches for this town by Genners in JGFF database. 

3. Haradok, (current modern name), is identified in JGFF database as Haradok, (near Molodechno).
    This is probably town that the initial query was all about. 
    During Russian Empire era place was known as Gródek, Vilejka uyezd, Vilna gubernia
    During the interwar period (1918-1939) town was known as Gródek, Molodeczno powiat, Wilno Wojewodztwo , Poland
    Town population was ~70% Jewish in 1921.
    There are 134 searches for this town by Genners in JGFF database. 

4. Astrashytskiy Haradok, (current modern name), during Russian Empire era was known as Gorodok Ostroshitskii, located near Minsk, Belarus  (13 miles distance)
    There are  22 entries for this town by Genners in JGFF database. 

5. Haradok, town near Vitebsk, Jewish population in 1939: 1,584 souls
    There are  41 entries for this town by Genners in JGFF database. 

By providing for above entries nearby large town names, where probably vital records have been deposited, I hope that researchers will be able to identify researched by them correct Horodok .

Alexander Sharon
JGFF editor

Re: Libraries with Ancestry Remote Access Through ProQuest Has Been Extended Through July 31 #announcements


It is WONDERFUL to have this free access to all of their records, particularly those from other countries.

I want to point out an issue, though:

When you "view" the original source, you will usually be taken to a page that shows your specific image, which is one of a series of pages in a particular file.  You can then easily save this original page directly to your computer via the "Save" button at the top right of the screen.  BE CAREFUL.  After saving, open the image that you saved (wherever you saved it on your computer) and double-check that you have indeed saved what you intended to save!   I am finding that, very often -- with no apparent rhyme or reason -- the FOLLOWING page was saved, rather than the record that I want!  Going back and trying again usually succeeds.
Fredel Fruhman
Brooklyn, New York, USA

IGRA Show & Tell - June 29 and July 1 #announcements #events

Garri Regev

The IGRA Show and Tell sessions this week deal with the Census and Registry information available on the All Israel Databases (AID) as part of the IGRA Collection. Rose Feldman, the IGRA Databases Coordinator will be the presenter.
The Show and Tell sessions are at 9 pm (Israel time), 2 pm (EDT). The session on Monday is in English and in Hebrew on Wednesday.
Advance registration is required.
רוז פלדמן תדבר על מאגרים של ממא"י הקשורים למפקדים השונים  
All are welcome!
Garri Regev
Past-President, IGRA

Simon Lazare FRIDMAN (or FRIEDMAN) and Chaïa Hinda Haya SAKNOVITZKI SAKHNOVITZKI #france

Lemberski Evelyne


Ladies and gentlemen,

I'm looking for the cities of birth, date and place of death for the following people:
Simon Lazare FRIDMAN (or FRIEDMAN) born in 1870 (country and city of birth unknown) who lived with his family in 1926 at 6 rue rampon to Paris. The profession of this man was tailor
It seems that he died unless I was mistaken on October 14, 1932, but I don't know in which city.

and Chaïa Hinda Haya SAKNOVITZKI SAKHNOVITZKI wife FRIDMAN (or FRIEDMAN) born in 1872 ((country and city of birth unknown) who lived with her husband and children in 1926 at 6 rue rampon to PARIS. died October 18, 1940 but I don't know in which city.
The children of this couple (Lea, Philippe, Malka, Salomon) were born in BREST LITOWSK but were deported during the Second World War.

This couple hosted at 6 rue rampon in PARIS in the first months of 1923 my maternal grandfather Mordko KAMIENIECKI born 22/10/1898 in BREST LITOWSK.

Thanking all of you for your help,

Saint Maurice 

Re: Name Changes on Passenger Lists #general

Shelley Mitchell

With so many stories focusing on Ellis Island, one fact remains unspoken. You could always use any name you wanted. You still can, except to deceive creditors. When it came to Naturalizations, however, the name used on the passage was asked as was the name being used at the time. From these documents, a new name was born.

And don’t forget that many immigrants believed that countries like Russia could reach out and bring them back for conscription . Another reason to use modified versions of their name. We are too focused on the staff at Ellis Island. My own grandfather lied and told me his name was changed at Ellis Island. Not true.
Shelley Mitchell, NYC    shemit@...
Searching for TERNER, GOLDSCHEIN, KONIGSBERG, SCHONFELD, in Kolomyya; PLATZ, in Delaytn; and TOPF, in Radautz and Kolomea.

Ports of Departure and Index of Maritime Arrivals #general

Alan Reische

The two questions are related, and hopefully begin to narrow my search further.

The name 'Reische' likely bears some relationship to either the city or county of Rzeszow'. For Jewish families emigrating from Rzeszow to the US in the late 1870s, what are the most likely ports of departure, and do they maintain online resources as does Hamburg?

For ship arrivals in either Castle Garden or Ellis, is there a master index of shipping arrivals in a narrow period of May through August 1879?

Thanks for any guidance you can provide.

Re: Geni and Family Search #general

Harvey Kabaker

If it's that easy, please do so and send us the link. Except connect me
to the Queen of Sheba, please.

Re: Yiddish or Hebrew name for IDA #belarus #names

Barbara (Tuchow) Frohlich <bfrohlich@...>

Art Hoffman, my Montreal born mother who’s name was 
Ida was always called Chaike or Chaikelah by her Russian born mother so that’s the name I had put on her headstone. Years later said that Chaike is a diminutive for Chaya!

Re: 1764/1765 Revision lists #lithuania

Joel Ratner

No registration is necessary. Translating the Lithuanian language is a must! In other words, install the capability to have Google Translate directly translate your webpages.

If you were to go to the home page and attempt to fill in the required information in order to get to these records, you would follow the following procedure:

1.The home page is at:
2. Once you have translated the website to English, the navgation is as follows: 

3. Under Description Search, choose Advanced. The form will change slightly, giving you more fields which may be poulated.

4. Under Custodian, Choose LVIA (Lith. State Historical Archives). Also fill in 11 under Fund. This pertains to these specific records. Select Search or hit Enter.

5. You will see in dark blue 2/3 of the way down the number 11 followed by the title of this fond. It will read as follows:

                                        1 - 1 of 1                                    
11. Treasury Commission of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Komisja Skarbowa Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego) (LVIA)

6. Click on this and you will be taken to the next screen where you will see a full description of the fond. Read through it if you'd like, but select the button below labeled "View circular descriptions"

7. You will now see a screen giving you a choice of two files to examine. Click on the first one. This will take you to a screen which describes Fond 11/1. Do not click on the PDF file near the bottom under "Files". Instead, select the button at the bottom which reads "View descriptions of units of account". Note: If you click on the PDF file title, you'll see an inventory book which lists the contents of F11/1 by title but not the images.

8. The last screen shows you a listing of all the images held under F11/1. Select which images are of interest and you will see the final screen where you now select the PDF file. This file contains the images. For Kovno records, you'll see the filename as follows:
Files LVIA_F11_ap1_b1021.pdf

Joel Ratner

Re: Samuel Unger Family from Bielsko-Biala and Kamesznica,Zywiec, Poland #poland #galicia

Jessica Skippon

I have a copy of a book, ZYCIE Wedlug Wartosci, written by dr Jacek Proszyk, the archivist at the Bielsko Biala Castle Museum about the Jewish Community over time. The book is written in Polish but comes with a CD of the English version, which I will continue looking for. The book relies heavily on written sources, which are mostly about men and almost no genealogical information. He mentions Edmund and Josef Unger, Jakob, Joachim and Leo Seifter and Josef Rufeisen, but no women. The author's email is proszyk@.... Nice man, very happy to share what he knows.

My grandmother, Ida Schanzer, born 1885 in Andrychau, moved to Bielitz Bialy. I have a school photo of her class, must be about 1898 at the Jewish Girls' School. Can anyone suggest where I might post it?

Jessica Skippon
SCHANZER in Wadowice and Andrychau
BORGER and BIRN in Andrychau

Re: Whitier Inn-NYC 1930s. More info on Sarah and grandson Tom #general

Barbara Ellman

From the book Sea Gate Remembered: New York City's First Gated Community
By Arnold Rosen
Found by Googling!

Barbara Ellman
Secaucus NJ USA
ELLMAN, COIRA, MAIDMAN - Minkovtsy, Ukraine
KAGLE, FASS - Ulanow, Poland

Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names

Roger Lustig

Yale Zussman writes:

"Unless there is an actual proof that involuntary name-changes weren't
possible, you cannot reject the name-change narratives out of hand. 
Given the number of potential cases, around 37 million, and what is
known about the operation of the immigration stations (it's discussed in
the Congressional Record), the notion that involuntary name-changes were
impossible because the immigration process operated flawlessly is simply

The actual proof is in the facts:

--that no documentary evidence of a name-change by an immigration
official has been found;

--that there is no evidence that a procedure existed for doing such a

--that no form on which a name-change would be entered has been known to

--that no regulation regarding name-changes at the port of entry has
ever been found;

--that someone who purportedly received such treatment would either have
had to memorize the new name instantly or receive it written down in an
alphabet they might not even have been able to read;

--that there was no such thing as a database of people's names to which
such an event might be reported;

--and on and on.

For that matter, the first thing to keep in mind is that the immigration
officers didn't even write down the vast majority of the names of people
who passed by them. They compared the names on the passenger list to
those on the steamship tickets, made check-marks and the occasional
rubber-stamp, and that was generally it.

The immigration process did not operate flawlessly, but since we've
never found a way that an immigration officer *could* have changed a
name with any expectation that it would stick for more than 5 minutes,
how could a "flaw" lead to a name change? A flaw in what?

Oh, and the immigration officers spoke 40 languages in aggregate. They
were assigned to ships according to the languages expected to be found
among the passengers, and could in a pinch call on colleagues to help.

Roger Lustig

Princeton, NJ USA

Re: what is the meaning of given name #poland #names

Valentin Lupu

Nessiha (Hebrew) means "princess".
Shabbat Shalom,

Valentin Lupu

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