DNA privacy dilemma #dna

Steve Stein

High on my Ancestry DNA match list, there is a young man who I do not know and cannot identify, and has not yet responded to me. Here is what I know about him.

  • He matches me at 234cM total, with 10 matching segments, high enough not to be significantly influenced by endogamy
  • On my sorted list, he is nestled comfortably among my known full-blooded 2nd cousins, above 3 of them (ranging from 170cM to 266cM total)
  • He is listed as 31% European Jewish
  • We share matches with 3 known cousins on my paternal grandmother's family tree
  • He has an Unlinked tree online with only himself in it
  • I have tried to contact him twice, he has not responded

When he did not respond, I tried to construct his ancestor tree using public resources as well as If I have done this correctly,  I have identified all 8 of his great-grandparents, and they all appear to be not Jewish, and none from the New York area where my family was located. This leads to two possibilities, in my mind.

  • I made a mistake in his genealogy. Possible but the names are pretty uncommon
  • He is a descendant of a non-paternity event. If my research is correct, he already knows that by virtue of his ethnic analysis at the very least.

I know of only one person on my paternal grandmother's branch who migrated to the state where he grew up in an early enough timeframe to have that event or one of his sons had it. All of my grandmother's nephews and nieces stayed in the New York area except for that one. The subject's history appears to be mostly on the west coast.

I am tempted to drop the matter, as there doesn't appear that there is much to be gained by potentially revealing the suspected event if i am correct. I am interested if anyone has any alternate strategies. TIA.

Steve Stein
Highland Park, NJ USA

Re: Online trees #general

Eva Lawrence

One thing that has just become clear to me is that a lot of the
difficulties of JewishGen users with Geni may be due to a language
problem. Geni was historically run to a great extent by German
volunteers, though more recently it has become much more Anglicised and
also fussier about accuracy.
As for the ideological difficulty of not controlling you own family
tree, it's one I have as well, particularly as I prefer to call my
female ancestors by the names they were born with,a feminist habit I
picked up when looking at the ones in various old French-German
records.. So I do confuse all the Geni and Ancestry people unless I'm
careful. But basically, the two aren't mutually exclusive. One can do
both if one has the software on one's own computer rather than on a site
in the cloud which one doesn't administer. and which one has to pay for
the service into the bargain.
It's only this year that I've heard about the large amount of research
being done by members of Geni and MH in little-known (by me) European
archives, and that of course might be worth aa subscription.

Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.

Records for Werner and Eisenhandler families for Nowe Miasto and Ulanov #poland #ukraine


For some time I have been researching my husband's cousin's family (Werner and Eisenhandler). The family lived for a time in Nowe Miasto and Ulanov before settling in Vienna. I have been told about Ulanow, near Nisko, Poland. Which official organization should I contact to find Werner/Eisenhandler records?
it appears there are a number of towns called Nowe Miasto, meaning New Town. Given the family travels, I think I can limit my research to the following three:
- Novoye Misto, near Dobromil, Ukraine
- Nove Mesto nad Vahom, about 50 mi,es from Vienna
- Nove Misto, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine 82022.
i imagine I may have to contact several organizations in order to find the records I need. Does anyone know how I should progress? This is turning out to be a much more difficult task than I realized!
Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
Maggie Jacobs

Re: HEN family #general

Emily Rosenberg

Victoria Hen was murdered while she worked at the El Al counter at the Los Angeles airport in 2002. There is a memorial to Vicki and her El Al colleague who was also murdered by an Egyptian male. There was lots of press about this outrageous incident and perhaps in contacting some of her family in Israel you will learn more.

Re: Ancestry purchased by Blacksone #announcements

Jeff at SG

Anytime you put anything on the internet you lose control of it and what may one day become of it. That is inherent in that media. Regardless of what the 'small print' may or may not say.

The advantages of placing family trees on the web have been described by many. Loss of control and privacy issues are among the major disadvantages. 

Jeff Malka

Re: Ancestry purchased by Blacksone#announcements

From: Tockuss1@...Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2020 08:56:26 EDT

I am not sure if this this is a good news. A just profit orientated company buys one of the main genealogy websites. They would not do it if they don't see a chance to make more money. Hope the simple idea of knowing more about ancestors of the thousands of family researchers is not in conflict with this new structure in ownership.......

Re: Port of Marseille (France) 1941 shipping records & passenger lists #france #germany

Bernard Flam

Hi from Paris,

Dear Oliver,

As soon as I read about Jewish German refugees in Marseille in 1941 who could board a ship to Portugal, then USA, I ask myself this question: was Varian Fry involved in their salvation?

I attach a link to his page, as this isn't a very well known story, unfortunately!

Now, how to answer your question ?

I have sent a message to the Archives of Marseille, I come back to you when they reply.

Sincerely yours

Bernard Flam

Archives et histoire du Centre Medem - Arbeter Ring of France (Bund, Workmen Circle)

Name Change Document in NYC #names

Wendy Packer

I'm looking for an official name change document for an ancestor who arrived in NYC from Poland in 1923. His Polish name (Herszman) is listed on the ship manifest, and all subsequent documents list his American name (Kirshman). Trying to track down when/if he officially changed his name. Thank you!
Wendy Packer
Researching in Poland: Herszman, Cohen, Bojm/Baum, Goldcwajg

Re: Diabetes and antisemitism around 1900: cultural history #education


I am an adding this link to a disturbing journal article about the anti-Semitic developer of insulin Dr. Frederick Banting.  I imagine the author of this new book must refer to him but here is the stark portrait of the man.

MyHeritage Free Access Photo Enhancer and MyHeritage in Color Through September 10, 2020 #announcements

Jan Meisels Allen




MyHeritage is offering free access to its MyHeritage Photo Enhancer and MyHeritage in Color products from August 11- September 10, 2020.  This is a way your old, faded family photographs will come to life in color and sharp focus.


Normally these products are available to nonsubscribers with up to 10 photos each while Complete Plan users have unlimited use. But with this promotion anyone can enhance and colorize as many photos they would like for free during the time of the offer.


For MyHeritage Photo Enhancer go to:

For My Heritage in Color go to:


I have no affiliation with MyHeritage and am posting this solely for the information of the reader.


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Did my father have a guardian? #records


My father, originally Louis Slonimsky (bc wrongly says Slominsky) and later Lawrence Slonimsky and then Larry Sloan, was orphaned at age 9 in January, 1927.  He lived in Manhattan. After his mother died, he lived with various aunts and uncles on his father's side, his father having died in 1917.  I never thought to ask if anyone had legal guardianship or custody of him, but I wonder if I can find out now.  What NYC court would have such records and how would I go about finding them? Also, did NYC have a 5 year census after 1925?  Census records would help pinpoint with whom he lived. Thanks in advance for any help. 

Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC

Finding passenger manifest for Harry Soffer #records

Marilyn Levinson

I have been searching without success for the passenger manifest of my relative Harry Soffer.  He was born November 20, 1890 and left Bremen Germany arriving at the port of Baltimore, Maryland on May 10th, 1901.  His last foreign residence was Bilzoreka, Russia.  His address in 1915 is 1516 Wash Street, St. Louis, Missouri.  Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Marilyn Levinson
Spring Lake NC

David Mendel (or Mendl David) SIGAL - Vienna - Burial Record 1940 and Gravestone - #holocaust #translation

Selma Sheridan

David Mendel (or Mendl David) SIGAL, born Kozova 1881, died Vienna Jan. 1940, was the brother of my grandfather, Israel Berl SIGAL; so my great-uncle. 

Here are my questions about his burial record, see attachment.  (1) He died at Sp.I.K.G - Spital der IKG - probably Rothschild Hospital, which has since been demolished.  Do their records exist; where could I find them?  (2) The person authorized to dispose of the body (Verfügungsberechtigter) was Israel S.(surely Israel SIGAL) at 1 Kai 45.  This address was a Sammelhaus where he and many other Jews were imprisoned.  How could the cemetery workers know that Israel was imprisoned there?  How would Israel know that his brother had died?  Would Israel have been released to go to the cemetery, would he have been present at the burial?  Does the word in brackets after the address read "Bruder" - brother?  (3) Who would have paid for the burial, when everyone was impoverished?  (4) Under "Funktionäre" what does the abbreviation say in German and what does it mean?  (5) Does the Zentralfriedhof keep written records about those buried there, and if so, how could I access these records?

Here are my questions about David Mendel's grave site and gravestone, see attachment.  (1) Burial plot was at Tor IV, Group 21, Row 39, Grave 15.  What are the German words for the 3-part abbreviation under the grave site details, and what is the English translation and meaning?  (2) Could the photo (see attached)  be the gravestone of my great-uncle?  Could you please translate the Hebrew?  (3) If this is not the correct gravestone, could a generous person take a photo of the correct gravestone?

Perhaps your answers will help to solve a decades-long mystery.  Many thanks in advance for any help or suggestions you can provide!

Selma Sigal Sheridan
Oswego NY

August Issue - JewishGen News #JewishGenUpdates

Nancy Siegel

Don’t miss the latest issue of JewishGen News! If you didn’t receive your copy by direct email, just follow this link:


JewishGen’s staff and many volunteers continue to be productive on a wide range of projects. We encourage you to stay informed by reading the following articles and updates. 


  • Volunteer Spotlight 
  • ViewMate Report
  • JewishGen at the IAJGS Conference
  • Research Division Updates
  • Special Projects Updates
  • Virtual Tour - Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • From Skierniewice to Vermont - a Success! Story


If you are not already receiving the newsletter and other JewishGen announcements by direct email, you can subscribe by following this link:


Nancy Siegel

Director of Communications

(San Francisco, CA)



Avigdor family of Mexico City #general

Neil Rosenstein

Trying to make contact with the family of Rabbi Jacob Avigdor who died
in Mexico City in 1967. One son, Rabbi Isaac Chaim lived in Hartford,
CT and the other, Rabbi Abraham Issachar was a rabbi in Mexico City
who had Yisrael of Mexico City, Dr. Neftuli Avigdor a pediatrician and
their sister Rochel who lives/lived in Mexico City.

Re: Probate in Oklahoma? #usa #records


 Start at This is the search page for the various clerks of court for the counties in Oklahoma.  All probate work is handled at the county level.  Put in the name of the deceased and any other information you have into the search engine, and see if you get a case number and county name back.

If you get a case number and county name back, you will need to search the case record for an order directing the personal representative/executor/executrix to distribute the estate.  If there was a will that was not challenged, the will Controls.  If there was no will, the statute controls.  The order will state who got what, and, hopefully, the relationship.  If there was a challenge to the will, you will need to do a deep dive into the case file to see what happened.

If you do not get a case number and county name, one of three things happened — (a) the case is not indexed online, since it dates back to 1978, or (b) the assets were not sufficient to justify going to court, and were handled informally, or (c) everything of any significance (real property or property requiring a title such as automobiles, boats or airplanes) was held jointly and title passed automatically to the other party.  If (a), contact the Clerk of Court for the county in which the people lived or any property was held.  If (b), you are out of luck — there is no record.  If (c), check the real property records to see what happened.

Re: Name of Marrero possibly Marrano from Puerto Rico. Possibly Jewish? #names #latinamerica

Adam Cherson

Dear Mr. Marrero,

Interestingly I have an ancestor whose actual surname was Marrano from the hills of Central Italy, which was a Spanish colony for several centuries and experienced the same inquisition as in Spain, as well as Spanish migration. There are some descendants of this town who have suggested the possibility of a Jewish origin for this surname, but I have never seen any concrete evidence of this. And I have not yet encountered any modern Marranos from the same town.

There is a way to answer the question about your possible Jewish ancestry even in the absence of any documentary records. I recently completed a study for a friend whose spouse was wondering the same thing: there were family stories yet no tangible evidence. After applying the method of personal genography, the conclusion was: no substantial Jewish ancestry. I would be glad to explain the method in more detail if you are interested (please contact me privately).

Adam Cherson

Re: Looking for SHERMAN relatives #ukraine #names #usa


Over 15 years ago I did a little research.  My maternal grandmother's (from Cleveland) mother's last name was Sherman and there were Sherman cousins that I really did not know.  Her name was Zelda Sherman and married Joseph Kaufman and one of their kids was my grandmother Sadie. Her married name was Gordon. Here is an email I sent in 2001 to someone named Jack Buck who said he had no info. There was a big "cousin's club" in Cleveland and they would put on musicals and I know some Shermans participated in them.  Email me privately and I may have pix of that...

I am looking for information about Shermans from Vlodovka near Kiev
(we think).

Sholom-Naiach 1826-186? m. Pearl 1830-187?

Shandel m. Morris Zaslovsky
  Children Mitzi, Sam

Zelda 1883-1935 m. Joseph Kaufman
   Children Bertha, Sadie (died around 1972 age around 60), David, Sidney

Shifra m. Moishe Clossman
   Sam, Joe, Sol, Sadie, Pearl, Stella

Chi-Soora m. Mayer Mansky
   Children Ben, Jake, Abe, Sam, Dorothy, Stella, Rose, Jean

Geetla-Choma m. Yosel (The Water Carrier)
   Children  Stissy, Toilya

Avraham m. Russie Lubarsky
   Children Ben, Teddi, Zadel, Itzie, Razel

Re: Prince from Ukraine #ukraine

Yefim Kogan

Not sure how you came up with the link between PRINTZ and PARKAN...
If go to Beider's surnames encyclopedia  you find PRINTZ is coming from female name SHPRINTS (sorry to disappoint you),  and also from prince.
SHPRITS was common in some towns in Bessarabia.

I understand that Jews changed their names, as my great great grandfather did,  and I do not know what that surname was.


Re: Additional 19th C. Vilna City record sources – Archival Records of the Merchant class #lithuania

Susan Sorkenn

Dear Mr. Ratner:

I just saw this message this morning.  I've been trying for years to learn about my great-great-grandparents, Reb Yossel and Zelda Weinstein.  Reb Yossel was a rosh yeshiva in Vilna, and  Zelda was a commission merchant for Polish nobles.  They were both born in about 1806-10.  Zelda lived to the age of 104-6.  She met with the nobles and had agents working for her who  purchased property, jewels, and Arabian horses for them, according to an account by my maternal grandmother, her granddaughter, who lived with her after her father died young from TB.  They had 9 children, one, my g-grandfather, Moishe Aaron, who was an auditor of liquor sales.  A daughter was said to have married a brother of the sculptor Mark Antokolsky. The family name was originally a form of Romm. I discovered an uncle, Yitzhak ben Moshe Rumsch.  Was this the family name?  He translated "Robinson Crusoe" from German into Hebrew, the definitive translation.  Reb Yossel was "adopted" by a childless Weinstein relative to escape conscription. I can find no mention of such a prominent woman or her husband, probably because though I've tried all spellings I can think of for Weinstein, I can't find them.  Do you have any information about how I should proceed. I do know other descendants, including a granddaughter, my grandmother's sister, Celia, who married "Itcha" Pollack, who owned a cotton plantation in Tashkent, which he was allowed to run for the Bolsheviks when they took the plantation over.. They were incredibly wealthy. The government assigned a new apartment Moscow to their son, a "first-class" engineer, with a room for his parents after the Revolution. Although this whole family were very rich, the children had Socialist leanings. Two of Zelda's sons, medical students, were arrested for revolutionary activity and died of TB in prison.
I am desperate to learn how my grandmother was able to become such a wealthy businesswoman in these times, while remaining an Orthodox Jew. I know nothing of her maiden name or background.

By the way, I see you're from Newton.  One of Bubbe Zelda's grandsons was Hyman Morrison, a prominent doctor in Boston.  He attended Harvard and Harvard Medical School on scholarship and was on the faculty of Tufts.  He was an ardent Zionist and a  personal friend of Chaim Weizmann.

I'd be grateful for any assistance you can provide.  Do you think there is any information in Dr. Ambuleviciute's book?

Susan Kurtin Sorkenn

Re: Hebrew Given name on headstone #translation

Dr.Josef ASH

tet shin xounds like ch in chair/
She was Shejne, I suppose, but was remembered as Shejnche

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