Re: Online trees #general

Susan stone do i share my tree in a pdf?  Parts of the tree?  You never just send an invite even so they can be a "guest">?   By the way, I have a relative who mixes up stuff on her tree too so someone's parent was born the same year as the child, etc.  cholent, Kishke and Kugel. 
Do you know my cousin Ariel (Chana) Oppenheimer in Antwerp?

susan Stone
Evanston, IL

Re: DNA privacy dilemma #dna

Max Heffler

I meant anything _BELOW_ a total of 200 cM is tricky…


From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of Max Heffler via
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2020 8:36 AM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [] DNA privacy dilemma #dna


I have found 200 cM to be a pretty good demarcation for connecting. Anything above is trickly if not common names and/or locations. Anything above is relatively easy. Since I manage over 35 tests there is enough data to make this easier.


Re: DNA privacy dilemma #dna

Max Heffler

I have found 200 cM to be a pretty good demarcation for connecting. Anything above is trickly if not common names and/or locations. Anything above is relatively easy. Since I manage over 35 tests there is enough data to make this easier.


Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project:

Re: What's a Cutter? #usa #general

Sally Bruckheimer <sallybruc@...>

A cutter in NYC was usually a fabric cutter, following a pattern to make garments - in your case gloves.

But in Eastern Europe, someone may have been a grain cutter, making Kasha or even flour.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ

Re: surname LOBEL #general #romania

Michael Cohn

Thank you,

I have several LOBEL and LEIBOVICI in my family. The LEIBOVICI are from Botosani, some of the LOBEL from Barlad.
Also some LÖBEL from Hertza.

New Jersey

Re: Online trees #general

Max Heffler

Facts (and fiction) cannot be controlled so either accurate or inaccurate information will eventually end up online and I prefer it to be accurate.


From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of Stephen Katz via
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 9:14 PM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [] Online trees #general


Based on personal experience, I advise anyone who asks not to put a tree on
To put it simply, you lose control of the tree. I've had several instances of requesting others who've added clearly, almost laughably, wrong information to the tree, to correct or remove it, who have refused to do so. I once tried to delete the tree, only to find that once someone else has latched onto it, it can't be deleted. One's only option is to close one's account, but that doesn't delete the tree -- it remains. I decided not to close my account, just so I could see who was doing what to it.
My negative opinion of geni is not a matter of "religious belief," as one commenter has suggested; it's based on objective fact and experience. And as for the idea of a "one world tree" of all humanity, well, ....
Stephen Katz



Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project:

Re: Finding passenger manifest for Harry Soffer #records

Harold Love

I can't find it.  Is it possible that he used another name? Do you know if he traveled with anyone? Parents? Cousins? Siblings? He was only 10 or 11.

Re: DNA privacy dilemma #dna

Bob Silverstein

Steve, even if you drop the matter, it will come back every so often to haunt you. 

How do you know the contact information is current and correct?  Did you find him in more than one place and did those places have the same email address?  I had a similar problem contacting my subject's half-brother.  When I start getting desperate, I look for public mentions of the target and contact them.  I even contact the local genealogical society.  When that fails, I turn to mailing a post card to the target and anyone else who could help.  My library has Reference USA which has white pages.  My hand-written message is simple.  I am a genealogist researching the family tree of so-and-so.  Please contact me.  Why a post card?  The target is more likely to see the message than if has to open an envelope.  The disadvantages are the post office will not return it if undeliverable or forward it.  In another search, I had to wait two months to get the target to call me back but he did.  Very happy ending.

Next suggestion.  The white pages may not work.  In the first instance above, I called my lawyer to get the name of his skip tracer.  He very nicely checked his Lexis database and called me back an hour later with the phone number I needed.  Got my guy.  A very happy ending.

Finally, have you used GEDmatch?  I prefer this tool but its database is much small than that of Ancestry.  However, you get a better idea of the genetics.  

Good luck Steve and keep us posted.

Re: DNA privacy dilemma #dna

Adam Turner

I'm currently working on no fewer than three such mysteries in my own DNA results. One is definitely an adoptee (the person mentioned the circumstances of his adoption in his AncestryDNA profile); the other two appear very strongly to be descended from extramarital affairs.

(Aside: if the 450+ cM match Sally is talking about is on AncestryDNA, I have an extremely hard time believing that is purely the endogamy rather than, as Steve diplomatically put it, a "non-paternity event." Maybe something weird could happen with 450 cM in FamilytTreeDNA or MyHeritageDNA, but people in the 400-500 cM range on Ancestry have been genuine close cousins in every case I've seen.)

It's worth at least double-checking that the person has actually logged into Ancestry over the time period you've been contacting him. I suspect that lots of people take a peek at their ethnicity results, and then never log in again. If you think that it's likely that he's deliberately ignoring you, I'm not sure what to tell you, but here's how my similar situation shook out:

I noticed my match to "K" right away when I got my AncestryDNA results back in October 2019. I poked around his Ancestry tree and noted the following:

  • he was my highest "4th-cousin" match, and the ethnicity analysis gave him as 50% Jewish.
  • zero of the people on his tree appeared to be Jewish.
  • K matched pretty much every cousin who had tested on my great-grandmother's side.
  • He was born in the same state as my great-grandmother's family lived in.
  • I also had significant matches to two other people who, after checking their own trees and doing a little research, I figured out were K's daughter and granddaughter.
I sent K a message around December 2019 that simply said that I thought he and I likely had a connection, and he sent me a one-sentence reply that he looked forward to hearing more from me and figuring out how we were connected. So I wrote him back, dropped a very delicately worded hint or two about my Jewish family and his Jewish ethnicity results, and asked if there were a phone number or email address where I could contact him. And then he never replied! But as I later discovered, the likely reason he didn't reply was that he is in his mid-80s and probably isn't super computer-savvy, not that he thought my whole inquiry was off-putting.

Undeterred, a couple of weeks later, I messaged his daughter. I checked her profile every few weeks and realized that probably, she wasn't deliberately ignoring me, she just never logs in to Ancestry.
So finally, after waiting several months, I also messaged his granddaughter. Five or six weeks passed, and finally, she replied! After a couple of messages dancing around my main point, I finally blurted it out: "has your grandfather ever mentioned that he might be adopted, or that there are other unusual circumstances around his birth, like one or both of the parents who raised him not being his biological parent?" And I explained why I was wondering - the lack of obvious Jewish people in his tree, as well as a clear pattern of matches to people in my family. 

She called me 15 minutes later.

The story of what had happened went something like this:

K's daughter was actually the one in the family who tested first on AncestryDNA, three or four years ago. She was startled to see her ethnicity come back as 25% Jewish, and confronted her father about it, who swore up and down that he had no Jewish heritage and that he had no idea how such a thing could be possible. Unsatisfied by this explanation, she insisted that K test also, to see which parent might have contributed the Jewish piece of her ethnicity. So K tests (his wife had died a few years before, and so couldn't be tested herself) and sure enough, his own test came back 50% Jewish. But K's family are not genealogists, and it didn't occur to them to dig deeper to figure out why AncestryDNA thought K was half Jewish. To them, it was just an odd little curiosity.

After I spoke on the phone with K's granddaughter, she shared his matches with me, and it could not be more obvious 1) that K is definitely a close-ish relative - he has crazily strong matches to EVERYONE in my family who has tested (virtually all of the 20+ cousins I've turned up so far on that service); 2) that K's biological father is not the man who raised him: he is the biological child of his mother, and a man in my family. And his daughter and granddaughter are now obsessed with cracking the mystery! (They are worried enough about dropping this bombshell on K that they are keeping all of this a secret from him unless I can produce a conclusive identification of his biological father in my family. Right now I am in the process of contacting the children of my 3-4 prime suspects and seeing if they are willing to test to figure out if K is their half-brother. K is most likely my second cousin twice removed.)

So if you want to try to solve your mystery without intruding on your match's privacy, there are a couple of things to check first:

-First, if you haven't already, contact the three of your cousins who have tested on AncestryDNA and ask them to share their results with you. That way, you might be able to confirm that this mystery person is definitely a relative, and maybe the additional data from those matches will be enough to confirm that you've likely identified the exact link to your family.
-Second, go through your shared matches with the mystery person to see if you can turn up anyone else who's also likely to be in their family. Maybe they're not interested in talking to you, but perhaps one of their siblings or cousins will be!

Adam Turner
San Francisco, CA

Re: GINSBURG of St. Petersburg #general

Alan Ehrlich

I received a direct email inquiry asking whether Meir Zurich d.1345 (mentioned below) was from the Swiss city of Zurich.

Since others might also be wondering, I reproduce my reply herewith:

I have not found many details about Meir Zurich’s Life. However, in general, ‘in olden times’ where ever we see a Jew referred to by a place name, it was because he/his predecessors previously had lived there.


In fact, clearly, this was either a ‘Beiname’ ‘Übername’ or ‘Mitname’ (which ever you prefer: copy/paste into for a translation) to allow other people in their surroundings to distinguish between them and like-named persons... or else a sort of living ‘curriculum vitae’ to render evident who, what and where from the particular person or their family had come.


I have a large number of such early family names in my tree, and you may too: e.g., Öttingen, Ries, Wiener, Günzburg, Spanier... and the list goes on for many pages. In every single case, this was the location where the person or family previously had lived, but subsequently were living outside of. Therefore, I feel confident that Meir Zurich originally lived in Zürich.


You may enjoy reading the source where, many years ago, I initially learned about Meir Zurich and some of his descendants:


Friendly regards,



Translation from Polish - Mila 18 Testimony #holocaust #poland #translation


I would appreciate any assistance in translation of the attached document : Testimony 301-4873; Jewish Historical Institute Archives which contains information about Mila 18 in 1943.  This testimony may provide some useful background material useful to anyone researching the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and as such the plan is to make the translation publicly available. My interest in this document is connected with my ongoing family research on Yitzak Suknik who was a member of the Ghetto resistance fighting group, who died trying to escape Mila 18 a day before its final collapse.
First part of document handwritten, followed by a typed up copy.

Re: tombstone inscription #galicia #poland #rabbinic

David Shapiro

You are misreading the inscription. Not 'harabeinu' but 'harabani' meaning rabbi-like. i.e a person well learned in religious text, but not an official rabbi. Not 'minh' but 'mo[reinu]' which is indeed an honorific. 'Avrech' is taken from Gen. 41, 43, that Josef was referred to by that term, and Rashi quotes a medrash which explains that it means like a father (av) in wisdom but tender (rech) in year, i.e. a young scholar. There also not 'min' but the honorific 'mo[reinu]'.

David Shapiro

Re: DNA privacy dilemma #dna

Jeffrey Herrmann

You describe him as a young man, so perhaps his parents are alive?  He appears to be 1/4 European Jewish, which means either his mother or his father is 1/2 European Jewish.  Perhaps his half-Jewish parent knows the family history? Most probably, one of your relatives was his biological paternal or maternal grandparent.  Why not present your analysis to him in full and invite him once more to respond? It might be provocative enough to get a response, and what have you got to lose?

Re: DNA privacy dilemma #dna

I am in a similar situation where I found a match with over 500 cMs and none of the names match. I have been at this for almost a year and also constructed a separate tree to do my research. Thankfully most people are picking up the phone when I call. A group of these cousins have agreed to take a DNA test. I am fairly certain my 83 year old dad is not related to the man who raised him. I am too stubborn to just let it go. 

Rhonda Post
Silver Spring, MD

Re: Lazarus Finkelstein #lithuania #records

Jill Whitehead

A lot of Finkelsteins from Suwalki gubernia (of which Mariampole is part) went to Sheffield, UK, and elsewhere in N.England in the 1860s/1870s. Some changed their name to Stone. My Guttenberg (later Graham) family from Sheffield's family lawyer was Harris Finkelstein later Stone.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

Re: Wedding between Sadie /SarahZiff and Charlie Abrams in Manchester? #unitedkingdom

Jill Whitehead

The obvious solution is the ScotlandsPeople website which has the Scottish BMD and census records. The marriages go up to the 1930's I think. 

I have Edinburgh ancestors and Manchester Abrams ancestors but they are not the same Abrams ones. I think there was a showbiz journalist for the British newspapers in the 1960's whose surname was Ziff, and he may have written for something like the Daily Mail.  

Jill Whitehead, Surrey

New Article on the IGRA website- “The Jews of Lebanon: History and Records” #announcements #education

Elena Bazes


IGRA (Israel Genealogy Research Association) has posted a new article on its website, - “The Jews of Lebanon: History and Records”  by Alain Farhi


In this article, Alain Farhi discusses the history and geography of Lebanon from ancient times through the 20th century, Lebanese records of Jewish residents, Jewish surnames, censuses, the size of the Jewish population, chief rabbis and more.


Alain Farhi started tracking the Farhi families in the early 1980s. His Les Fleurs de l’Orient” website currently numbers over 145,000 families and 320,000 names, the majority of these families are Sephardim. Farhi has been a speaker at IAJGS conferences and has published articles on various genealogy subjects. He is one of the founders of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy, administrator of the Sephardic Heritage DNA Project at Family Tree DNA and a member of the Palm Beach, Florida, Jewish Genealogy Society.


Before viewing the article, please register for free on the IGRA website

To view the article go to:


Please note, the article is available for free for one month to non-members, after which time it can be accessed by IGRA members only.

Elena Biegel Bazes

IGRA Publicity Chair

Re: trying to find: Saletea / Saleteca, Poland - #lithuania #poland #belarus


Hi Neil,
I believe it is Wola Solecka, a colony in the gmina of Lipsko. There are Rozenblatts in Lipsko (JRI Polnd).


Max Polonovski,
Cercle de généalogie juive, Paris

Intermediate Genetic Genealogy Course Offered Online #dna #education

L Fagan

JewishGen Education presents a course in Intermediate Genetic Genealogy:

This course will walk you through the steps to analyze the test results that you have already obtained from DNA testing. We will use several methods to sort and organize the many DNA matches typical in the Ashkenazi community.


Students will concentrate on the basic autosomal test that shows relative matches going back 4-5 generations. We will also discuss the Y chromosome and mitochondrial testing that examines the paternal and maternal lines, respectively.  The course will consist of four online lectures, homework assignments, and online office hours to go over the steps for using the various programs.


Requirements: You must have already taken a DNA test and have your results returned. You must be familiar with using teleconference software, like Zoom.

Cost is $150. Class dates:  August 16-September 1.
TO register go to:

Please address your questions to Larry Fagan, Instructor

Brick wall of family named Gavrin, Gavrinovich, Gavrinowski #ukraine

Sheryl Prenzlau

Hi- one of my solid brick walls is the sister of my great grandfather, Moshe Eliezer Gavrin , (Lazer)born in Zetl.,Grodno.the name has been listed as Gavrinovich, Gavrinowski in various records I have an article listing a   biography about him, Which was published in his lifetime . He was born 1849, Jan.1. He is named for his father, who died before he was born. His mother’s name was Malka, which I discovered by obtaining his death certificate .in the article, he mentions how he and his sister went to live with their grandfather in Slonim. I have discovered several relatives through dna matches and comparing trees, but they are connected through siblings of his father! I have had no luck finding who his older sister might be , or her descendants. Can anyone help here
Sheryl Prenzlau

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