Re: Searching for my great aunt Rakel GOLUB b.1884 Minsk #belarus #holocaust

Angela Lehrer

In order for me to find a connection if it exists with this Rachel GOLUB it would be helpful to find out where in Russia her parents Chaim and Bettie GOLUB they came from. Do you have any further information about them ?

Angela Lehrer

Re: Offer from Boris M in Ukraine to translate Zhitomir documents #ukraine #translation


I hired Boris recently and found him to be a credible resource who produced tangible results. My interaction with Boris in the past two months has been positive and professional.  He charged for his services by records retrieved and translated.  Payments were made to him through Zelle.  My experience has been good.  

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Emily Garber

Ettie, etal.:

The changed-surname-to-avoid-the-Tzar’s-Army story was common among eastern European Jewish immigrants. As with any story heard from our relatives and/or ancestors it’s always important to remember that genealogy/family history is a research discipline. Our job is not to accept the story as told, but to use it as a jumping off point for further research. Does the story make sense in terms of what we know about our family, the time period and place of the activity, and what we have been able to determine through research?


From 1804 through 1893, several Russian government edicts were explicit that Jews were to adopt hereditary surnames and keep them in perpetuity – no exceptions, except (sometimes) for those who were baptized and/or in the military. It is clear that many Jews early in the century reacted with indifference to adoption of permanent surnames. The Russians seemed to reissue variations of the edict several times in the 19th century. By the second half of the century these rules were enforced.


In terms of historical context of the adoption/conscription story, adoption, as we understand it today, did not exist for Jews in the Russian Empire. Jewish children taken in by others could not be formally adopted and their names, under the vast majority of circumstances, could not be changed from what they had been at birth (see: Paull and Briskman, ).


With regard to Jewish attitudes and actions towards conscription, it does depend on the time period. But Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern’s research into archival records [Jews in the Russian Army, 1827-1917 (2009)] shows that by the 1880s Jews responded positively to the draft.


All this being noted, I do not doubt that some Russian Jewish people at some times and places tried to find a way around conscription. If the story about adoption/conscription was true, one would expect to see some court records of Jews caught in the act. I hope that those who have the skills to access eastern European archives look for such records. Thus far, I have not seen any reports of them.


I have a similar story adoption/conscription story in my family from Volhynia Gubernia. Four brothers. The original name was Utchenik. The others took Garber, Reznick and Lehman (or, more likely, Lederman).  I did not think much of this story until I figured out, via analyses of the paper trail and DNA test results (Y and autosomal), my great grandfather Avraham Abba Garber (born ca. 1864) had a full brother named Levi Yitzkhak Liderman (b. ca. 1850s). (I hasten to add that I have DNA tested two members of an Utchenik family and found no relations thus far.) I reported on this research in Avotaynu 31:2 (Summer 2015). I will also be presenting a live talk in the virtual 2020 IAJGS Conference that includes this case as an example (“Memory and Mystery: Breaking Down Family Lore”). At this point, I cannot say why the name change occurred - only that it did. I resist adopting the explanatory story lest I succumb to confirmation bias.


There is no doubt it became more and more difficult for Jewish people to change surnames in the Russian Empire as the 19th century progressed. If we do find a name change, it is critical that we do not jump to explanations that may defy history, context and logic. I implore those who find interesting cases to do the hard work of dis/proving them before adopting what may be apocryphal explanations.


Emily Garber

Phoenix, Arizona

Re: "Osterbücher" in 1832 Hessen-Nassau #germany

David Lewin

At 15:00 01/07/2020, Michael Rubin via wrote:
I have the estate inventory of an ancestor who died in 1832 in a small village in Hessen-Nassau. The inventory lists several obviously Jewish books (eg. "ein Judisches Gesetzbuch").  It also lists "2 Osterbücher."  I know that this term today means springtime children's books and/or secular books somewhat related to Easter themes such as bunnies and generally neutral in terms of religious content.  My question is what this term might have meant in 1832. I have a hard time believing it refers to today's version especially since this person was elderly and children were out of the house.  And, there were only two such books.  There were only one or two of any of the books in the house.
Could Osterbücher have meant haggadah for Passover?  Any other ideas?

Michael Rubin
Boston, MA USA

Surely Osterbücher are the Haggdot for Passover?

David Lewin

Re: Launch of Online Resource of Jewish Cemeteries in Turkey With Over 61,000 Gravestones #sephardic #announcements


This database is described as the “largest tombstone database in the world“ which is simply not true. 


The search interface relegates NAMES to one of the last search parameters and the names do not appear in the results tables!  You cannot see the names unless you click on each individual link. Most of the search parameters are not needed by the vast majority of researchers.


They do not offer any kind of soundex, phonetic, fuzzy etc searches – only exact spelling (but I think wildcards work). 



There appear to be only 353 records in the database, not 61,000 (it IS a beta system).

Hopefully they will enhance and improve this.


Michael Tobias
Glasgow, Scotland

Re: Viewmate Translation Request - Russian #translation




In Rissin:




Состоялось в городе Люблин 30-го мая (11-го июня) 1897 года в 6 часов вечера, явились евреи Берех Тухман, домовладелец, 34-х лет и Шлема Монк, служащий, 57-и лет, жители города Люблин, и объявили, что сего дня, в 5 часов по полудни, в городе Люблин, в доме #638 умерла Райса-Маша Вайсблех, восьми дней от роду, дочь Мордки и Хаи, жителей города Люблин. Настоящим удостоверяю о кончине Райсы-Маши Вайсблех. Сей акт объявляющим прочитан и ими подписан.

Подпись Подпись Подпись Подпись


Translate into English:


Held in the city of Lublin on May 30 (June 11), 1897 at 6 p.m., Jews Berech Tukhman, a 34-year-old landlord, and Shlema Monk, an employee, 57 years old, residents of the city of Lublin, appeared and announced that today, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, in the city of Lublin, in house # 638, Rice-Masha Weissblech died, eight days old, the daughter of Mordka and Hai, residents of the city of Lublin. I hereby certify the demise of Rice-Masha Weissblech. This declaration declaring read and signed by them.

Signature Signature Signature Signature

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Ida & Joseph Schwarcz

-----Original Message-----
From: חיה שה-לבן שוורץ [mailto:idayosef@...]
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2020 6:10 PM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army

Yes. My late husband's grandfather, whose surname was Cohen was "adopted" by
a widow (his parents were well to do and she was poor) and received the name
Selavan (or Selavoy or Selaveitchik) and the rest of his siblings and
cousins took the name too. When his son made Aliya in 1923 he became a
student in the David Yellin Teachers' School whose principal wanted his
students to have Hebrew names, so he became Yosef Seh-Lavan. It is a unique
surname and as far as I know only his family is Seh-Lavan.
In the US it became Selavan.
Ida Selavan Schwarcz

More Przemysl and Sieniawa vital record images online #galicia #poland

Logan Kleinwaks

More scans of Przemysl Jewish vital records 1790-1933 and Sieniawa Jewish vital records 1869-1912 were recently added to the website of the Przemysl Branch of the Polish State Archives. These are only images, there is no search interface, however some (but not all) of the records are searchable at
To view the images, go to, then change the top drop-down option "Nr zespolu" to "1924" for Przemysl or "2001" for Sieniawa and press the "Szukaj" button at the bottom. You will see a table where each row refers to a group of images, covering one or more types of records (e.g., only births or births, marriages, and deaths) and one or more years. There are sometimes multiple rows referring to the same records (e.g., originals, duplicates, and indexes). In the first column on the left, "Sygnatura," is a link to the corresponding images. Clicking that link brings up a small image of the first scan with links below it to jump to other images. Clicking a small image will enlarge it. When viewing an enlarged image, you can press the right or left arrow to move forward or backward one image, and there is an icon on the left of a downward arrow in a circle, which you can click to download the image to your computer.
I have not carefully examined the records, but coverage by record type is roughly:
Przemysl births 1790-1827, 1853-1912; marriages 1790-1893, 1903-1933; deaths 1790-1933
Sieniawa births 1869-1912; marriages 1878-1881, 1887-1912; deaths 1878, 1880-1881, 1891, 1893-1898, 1901-1912

This includes the recent additions and images added previously. The additions seem to cover Przemsyl records 1902-, Sieniawa marriages 1901- (and maybe some earlier), Sieniawa births 1901-, and all Sieniawa deaths, but I have not carefully checked.  The additions are not yet viewable at, where all(?) of the previously-added images can also be viewed.
Thanks to the Przemysl Archives for continuing to make their holdings accessible online (also including numerous notary records, among other things).
Logan Kleinwaks
near Washington, D.C.

Looking for Julia YAGUROV in Israel #israel

Felissa Lashley

I am trying to locate a mailing address, phone number, or hopefully an email address for Julia YAGUROV in Israel. She is a ZATOLOFSKY descendant. I hope that you all can help me find this. Thank you so very much.
Felissa Lashley
Austin, Texas
MAYSTROVOIY, Korsun, Valyava
MASUR/MOZER/MAZER/MAYER, Valyava, Gorodische
LESCHINSKY/LISHINSKY, Gorodische, Korsun, Moshny
ZATULOFSKY/ZATOLOVSKY, Lysysanka, Gorodische, Korsun

Re: Was a gradfather an acceptable witness for the birth of a grandson in Galitzia in 1875? #austria-czech

Sally Bruckheimer

"I have found a close relative living in the same house, with the same surname who appears as witness in the birth act of a boy".

The witnesses were witnesses to the registration of the birth, not to the birth itself, which would not have been witnessed by men. Often, if you look at the registrations, the same men witnessed them all.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

Ettie Zilber

Yes, that’s exactly right. As I understood it,  the trick was to find a family to adopt you who did not have any sons. Thus, I don’t think they could just choose a family name. Thanks for responding

Dr. Ettie Zilber
zedEd Consultancy

Re: Viewmate Translation Request - Russian #translation


Viewmate # 4


In russian:


Состоялось в городе Люблин, 30-го мая (11-го июня) 1897-го года в 10 часов утра, явился еврей Мордка Вайсблех, работник, 34-х лет житель города Люблина, в присутствии свидетелей Шлемы Монка, писаря, 57-и лет и Берки Мухшана, домовладельца, 34-х лет, жителей города Люблина, и предъявили нам младенца женского пола, объявляя, что она родилась в городе Люблин в доме #638, 22-го мая (3-го июня) сего года в 11 часов ночи, в городе Люблин от законной жены Хаи, урожденной Фрим, 26-и лет и младенцу этому дано имя Роза-Шаша.  Акт этот присутствующим прочитан, и нами подписан.

Подпись  Подпись Подпись Подпись.



Translate into English:


Held in the city of Lublin, on May 30 (June 11), 1897, at 10 a.m., a Jew Mordka Weissblech, a worker, 34 years old resident of the city of Lublin, appeared in the presence of witnesses Helmets Monk, clerk, 57 years and Berka Mukhshan, a homeowner, 34 years old, residents of the city of Lublin, and presented us with a female baby, announcing that she was born in the city of Lublin in the house # 638, May 22 (June 3) this year at 11 hours of the night, in the city of Lublin, from the legal wife of Hai, nee Freem, 26 years old and this baby was given the name Rosa Shasha. This certificate has been read to those present, and we have signed it.

Signature Signature Signature Signature.

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania

carol lipson

Yes, this happened in my family.  The original name was Lipshitz, and the new name was Litvinov.  Ironically I married a Lipshitz (from another area in Belarus).  I didn’t know until well after we were married.  People always said we looked alike!  

carol lipson

Sheftel family from Kratinga, Kovno, Russia #russia


I would like help researching my Sheftel/Sheftelovitz family line. I have successfully traced it back to Mordechai Joshua Sheftelowitz (1812-1886) married to Fanny. One of his sons is Michael Sheftelowitz, who became a naturalized British Citizen 4 April 1897,

Re: Adoptions in the US around the 1930s #general #dna

Sarah L Meyer

Many years ago I tried to use DNAGedCom and it blew up because I had so many Jewish matches (all 4 of my grandparents were Jewish).  So try it but be aware that if there are a lot of matches it may crash your system.   Unfortunately we Jews have fewer records, and shorter surname history - and more matches than the non-Jews.
At that time, I sent a message to the administrators requesting that they let me know when their site would work for Ashkenazi Jews.  I have never heard back from them.

Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania

"Osterbücher" in 1832 Hessen-Nassau #germany

Michael Rubin

I have the estate inventory of an ancestor who died in 1832 in a small village in Hessen-Nassau. The inventory lists several obviously Jewish books (eg. "ein Judisches Gesetzbuch").  It also lists "2 Osterbücher."  I know that this term today means springtime children's books and/or secular books somewhat related to Easter themes such as bunnies and generally neutral in terms of religious content.  My question is what this term might have meant in 1832. I have a hard time believing it refers to today's version especially since this person was elderly and children were out of the house.  And, there were only two such books.  There were only one or two of any of the books in the house.
Could Osterbücher have meant haggadah for Passover?  Any other ideas?

Michael Rubin
Boston, MA USA

Event: The Poetry and Fate of Matilda Olkinaite: A Diary of Jewish Culture in Lithuania #announcements #lithuania #holocaust #events


Thank you to Phil Shapiro for letting me know about an online discussion of the fate and writings of Matilda Olkinaite, a young Litvak poet whose life was cut short by the Holocaust.

The event is organized under the auspices of the commemorative year of Vilna Gaon and Lithuanian Jewish Heritage by the Embassy of Lithuania in Washington, DC.  The online conference will take place on Friday, July 10, 2020 at noon, 12:00 PM EDT

For more information:

Peggy Mosinger Freedman

Re: Adoptions in the US around the 1930s #general #dna

Phil Karlin

I found relatives who got pregnant before they were married in 1934. They put the baby up for adoption then married 3 months later. I can't imagine anyone doing that today.

Phil Karlin
Hartford, CT

Re: "adoption" to avoid the czar's army #general #lithuania


It was a frequent practice. It was this in my family. It was a childless relative. I don’t know anything more about him. It is necessary to look for documents about adoption.

Re: Institutionalized relative - death date and burial location #general

Kenneth Ryesky

I do not know any of the particulars regarding your interactions with Pilgrim Psychiatric Center (formerly Pilgrim State Hospital), but note the following
New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) is structurally and operationally similar to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), except that FOIL gives New York state agencies broader reasons to deny access than does FOIL for federal agencies.
Your written request for the information should specifically state that the information is requested in accordance with FOIL.  If your request is denied, then the bureaucrat who denied your request is required under FOIL to inform you of (A) the reasons for the denial, and (B) the identity of the bureaucrat to whom the denial can be appealed.
If the denial is upheld on this appeal, you then have the right to further appeal the denial to the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court (if this appeal is successful you may be entitled to attorney fees and costs).
[N.B.  Don't let the name of the tribunal intimidate you.  In New York, the "Supreme Court" is the LOWEST court of general jurisdiction; the intermediate appellate tribunal is the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, and the highest state court in New York is the Court of Appeals of the State of New York.]
{Usual caveats that this does not constitute legal advice in the context of the lawyer-client relationship.}
-- KHR
Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.
Petach Tikva, ISRAEL

Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@...

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