Ancestry's Drastic Changes Dash Hopes of Finding Connections #dna


Seven days ago, AncestryDNA make a drastic unannounced change to the way
they report shared DNA matches. They stopped showing *any* matches
below 20 cM. This is devastating to many people, because many important
matches occur right below 20 cM.

Also, as of September 1st, they removed *all* matches below 8.0 cM.
This action was announced on the website. They said that if you starred
a match, created groups and put the matches in them or sent them a note,
those matches would be preserved.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who began frantically trying to save
every match they could, because, for the past week, the servers were
sluggish, kept crashing, and often went down for two hours or so at a
time. Ancestry finally had to post an apology and said they were
working on the problem. As of September 1st, when the change went into
effect, the servers were fully back to normal. I managed to save just
under 7,500 matches. I know there were many more I was unable to save
before the deadline, and wonder just what discoveries I've missed out on.

I had called AncestryDNA customer service to complain. The young man I
spoke to was shocked when I told him about the 20 cM limit on shared
matches. He told me that was never announced (no kidding!) and that the
customer service people weren't told about it either. (Unreal!) I also
told him that without the ability to see shared matches below 20 cM and
without the matches below 8.0 cM, I, and others, have very little hope
of being able to find out how more distant cousins are connected.

I told him I think I figured out a bit of a workaround, but it involves
an enormous amount more work, and both parties have to work together,
which means you'd have to contact every single person and gain their
cooperation for hours of work. This is totally insane!

I just discovered two distant cousins with many surnames in common, but
with these changes to AncestryDNA, we may never be able to find the
connection between us, and we really want to find it.

In all my years, I have never seen a business do such a thing. We all
paid for the data they gave us. Then they go and take the data away
from us!! No one asked *me* if I agreed to that! If they wanted to
make a change, they should have done it with new customers, and left us
old customers and our data and matching system alone!!

The young man in customer service filed two complaints for me. He also
gave me an email address to write to find out if the data was dumped or
stored somewhere. If it's stored, I want my data back!!

I wrote to the email address and got a "canned" response this morning.
I wrote them again, telling them I didn't appreciate that, and want my
questions answered.

I've also tried calling the corporate HQ, but no one answers. Probably
due to the pandemic. I will call again today.

I wanted to let you all know about this, because I'm discovering many
people had no idea these changes happened. They're quite upset when
they find out. AncestryDNA is nowhere near as useful as it was.

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Poland/Russia/Belarus); GEIST (?,Russia); GLICKMAN, KLUGMAN, STURMAN,
KAPLAN, ROTENBERG (Bilgoraj, Lublin, Poland/Russia); LIEB/LEIBOWITZ,
BLAU (Jassy/Iasi, Romania); GALINSKY, GELLIS (Suwalki, Poland/Russia);
KOPCIANSKY (?, Poland/Russia); GOLDSTEIN, SCHRAGER (?, Romania);
CYRULNIK (Suwalki, Poland/Russia and Kalvarija, Lithuania)

This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

Re: I Want My Trees To Outlive Me #general

Emily Rosenberg

I would suggest for Yale Zussman and others who are sharing with cousins that you maintain a list or database of those you share with noting their relationship to you and their contact information and perhaps contact for their next generation. This gives them more ways to find each when you are no longer here running the whole project.  Depending on privacy concerns this could be included with the materials you give to each branch or could stay with your personal papers and be prominently labeled with importance of sending it out in the future.

Emily Rosenberg

Holesov, Moravia Families, fl. 1750-1900 #austria-czech #records


I have just now completed an 18-month analysis of all Jewish families living in Holesov, Moravia, fl. 1750-1900. While  I can't claim that it is completely comprehensive, I do think it is a fairly thorough summary based on the following sources:
(1) Jewish births, marriages, and deaths for Holesov, 1784-1849, plus additional collections, 1899 through the early 1900s.
(2) Holesov Pinkas records/ documents, 1785-1830.
(3) Holesov Jewish census records, 1755, 1760, 1819, 1830, 1857, and 1869.  
(4) Holesov Jewish cemetery records.
This is a lengthy document -- 537 pages -- which sounds daunting.  But it is organized alphabetically by family, and I've been somewhat successful at proving relationships within family groups.  If any of you are researching families from this community, I would be happy to send you this summary by email.  Just send me a message at robertbhanscom@..., and I will forward it along to you.
My ancestral families that lived in Holesov were KNOPFELMACHER (in Holesov as early as the 1650s), ZWILLINGER (originally TEOMIM, came to Holesov in the 1770s), and TAUBER (came to Holesov from Leipnik in the early 1760s).
Best regards,

Robert Hanscom
Andover, Massachusetts USA

Re: Looking for Weiss family from Romania or France #france


Hi Isabel,

I'm not sure we are related but my great grandfather was named Morris Weiss aka Max Voskoboynik. I know he was born in Helem, Russia (not sure about the Turkish/Romanian connection), but  he lived in Paris as a tailor in the Marais district with my great grandmother Marie aka Miriam Lea Berkowitz. They resided there around the turn of the century, married in 1904 and eventually moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1913 after going back and forth. My grandmother was born in 1908 in Cleveland. She must have been the anchor baby as her older brother was born in Paris in 1905. I think Morris had a sister who was married to a man named Prigal. She also lived in Paris at the same time. Obviously, there are many men named Morris Weiss. Let me know if any of this rings a bell. Best of luck with your efforts! Best, Eve Kummel

Need help narrowing search for US naturalization records #usa #records

Mark Horowitz

Looking for my grandfather's records. The 1940 census indicates he had his "first papers". His brothers also applied/received citizenship around the same time. My question is: Are my grandfather's records at the county court or USCIS (or somewhere else)? 
Here's the situation: I found records for one brother (Edward) on Ancestry, I suppose because he finished in Los Angeles, and Ancestry has those records transcribed. Anyway, the first papers say "District Court, Cleveland, OH" at the top, but they say "Common Pleas Court, Canton, OH" at the bottom. The second papers say "District Court, Los Angeles" at the top and "District Court, Cleveland" at the bottom.

I searched the National Archives' online scans of the Northern District of Ohio, Cleveland, (here and here), and I couldn't find any records on my grandfather or his brothers, not even Edward, even though he sent his first papers to Cleveland. (And I checked all spelling variations of our last name). 

But just now, a relative sent me another brother's (Hyman) certificate of naturalization which he received in 1940. It says it was issued by the Common Pleas Court of Stark County, Canton, OH.

I've already submitted an index search request to USCIS, but I'm wondering if I should also find someone to search the Stark County Court's archives (has to be done in-person). Where are they supposed to be? Maybe another location? Any advice would be appreciated.


Mark Horowitz

Re: Help Finding Listing/Ads/Pictures of Lodz Shoe Store, early 1900s #poland #lodz


Thank you everyone for your help!! All the links were so helpful, the Lodz photographer with Refotographie is stunning, and I was thrilled to find documents on the Geneaology Indexer site as well as the Polish State Archives. 

For those of you that have used Geneology Indexer, do you have recommendations on how to view the files? My computer seems to download them as dju files and I am not sure how to open them.

Thank you again for all your help,
Andrew Cooke

Re: Where Was Wilkennie, Russia? #russia #names


I searched using only the last name, the ship, and the arrival month.  Was surprised to see Meier matching the age and the occupation. 

David Rosen

On 9/3/2020 7:01 AM, Carl Kaplan via wrote:
Thanks. I'm still learning. Were you able to connect Isaac to Meier by age and occupation, or is there something in the name Meier also? Thanks again.
Carl Kaplan

KAPLAN Minsk, Belarus
EDELSON, EDINBURG Kovno, Lithuania

Another finding among Bessarabia records - Service Form List #bessarabia #ukraine #records #translation

Yefim Kogan

Hello everybody,  I am back again, and have a number of new finding to discuss with you.

Here is the first - Формулярный Список о Службе  - Service Form List.  It was used in 19 century and beginning of 20th century in Russian Empire for mostly nobles, to list their positions in the government and social institutions, estates, holdings, awards, family, etc.  Such list for one person could be on 20 pages or more.  Why I am mentioning this to you?   We did not find Jews nobles in Bessarabia?!  But we did have a lot of Jews who served on different positions in government, other institutions.

You may know that we have a database specifically for this:  Jews in Public Life in Bessarabia. See description of it at

While I was working on Revision list pages, I found a Service Form List for a Jew, Merchant of Second Gild Naum ben Alter KITROSER.  The reason that such document was written, Naum was a Manager of Soroki Mutual Credit Society (1905).   If look into our database Jews in Public Life in Bessarabia,  Naum KITROSER was a Member of Soroki City Counsel in 1916.

There is a full page of information about that person in the Service Form List. It appeared that he owned 166 acre of land in Zguritsa, Soroki uezd, etc.

I have added that family into our database "Revision list and other lists",  but I want to ask  the group if anyone with Russian would like to translate all the positions he held, everything....  and that we can add as an article on our Bessarabia website.  

All the best,
Yefim Kogan
Bessarabia Research Leader and Coordinator

Re: ViewMate translation request - Russian #translation


In Russian:


Посад Вышков



Состоялось в посаде Вышков 4-го (16-го) июля 1885-го года, в 10 часов утра.  Явился Литман Зильберман, 26-и лет, портной, живущий в посаде Вышков, в присутствии свидетелей: Вульф Цимбаль, верующего учителя, 59-и лет и Мошка 

Голанд, 60-и лет, торговца, живущих в посаде Вышков, и предъявили младенца женского пола, объявляя, что она родилась в посаде Вышков 1-го (13-го) июля текущего года, в 10 часов вечера, от законной жены Гинды-Двойры, урожденной Ягода, 22-х лет.  Младенцу этому дано имя Хая-Сура.  Аkт объявляющим прочитан и подписан отцом.  Свидетели не грамотны.


Чиновник гражданского состояния    Подпись 


Translate into English:


Posad Vyshkov

# 120


It took place in the settlement of Vyshkov on July 4 (16), 1885, at 10 am. Litman Zilberman, 26 years old, a tailor living in the Vyshkov settlement, appeared in the presence of witnesses: Wolf Tsimbal, a believing teacher, 59 years old, and Moshka

Goland, 60 years old, a merchant living in the Vyshkov settlement, and presented a female baby, announcing that she was born in the Vyshkov settlement on July 1 (13) of this year, at 10 pm, from the lawful wife of Hinda- Dvoira, nee Yagoda, 22 years old. This baby is given the name Haya-Sura. Act by the proclaimed is read and signed by the father. The witnesses are not literate.


Civil Status Official Signature

Translated By Michael Ryabinky

Obtaining original records from Kaunas Regional Archives #lithuania #records

Judith Singer

Does anyone have recent information on how to contact the Kaunas Regional Archives? I need to see the original record for a 1911 Municipal Voters list from Kavarskas that is held there. Several years ago JewishGen had provided instructions stating that we should write or email the request to:

Ms. Vjtalija Gircyte, Chief Archivist


Maironio 28A

L T -3000 KAUNAS


email: archyvas@... 

However, I tried that email address earlier this week and it is apparently no longer valid. Does anyone have more recent information?
Thank you - Judith Singer

Re: Where Was Wilkennie, Russia? #russia #names

Carl Kaplan

Thanks. I'm still learning. Were you able to connect Isaac to Meier by age and occupation, or is there something in the name Meier also? Thanks again.
Carl Kaplan

KAPLAN Minsk, Belarus
EDELSON, EDINBURG Kovno, Lithuania

Re: Where Was Wilkennie, Russia? #russia #names


I can confirm the information given by others since I recently looked up this JewishGen entry. For reasons I do not understand, my grandfather Jack Cooke (Kruk) and his brother Max helped found the Northend Wilkomir Society (a burial society) in the 1920s referring to the north-end of Montreal where the main Jewish cemetery was located.  They were both born in Warsaw, Poland, so I cannot establish their connection to Wilkomir unless some earlier generation came from there.

Mel Solman

The ancestry of Sarah nee MENDES (b 1791) wife of David JUDA RODRIGUES #unitedkingdom #germany #sephardic


I am looking for further ideas concerning Sarah nee MENDES (b 1791) was my fourth great-grandmother and was married to David JUDA RODRIGUES. See:-

Her husband was from the Netherlands, and they at some stage lived moved to the UK. Some of the children were born in the Netherlands and some were born in England. The couple belonged to the Portuguese Jewish community.

We know of her, as her name is mentioned in some of their children's documents. Her husband has also been traced through the Dutch archives, and we can go back quite a few generations. We do not, though, have any reference to her parents and neither can her birth record nor their marriage record be found, neither in the UK (Bevis Marks) nor in the Netherlands (Jewish Portuguese community). Thus it is very likely that she was born, and they married in Hamburg.

She is not Sarah the convert that appears on Bevis Marks records and was transcribed onto the 1851 Anglo-Jewish Database at Jewishgen, as that Sara had a different family.

I already requested help through the Sephardi Diaspora Facebook group, and I was shown the following multi page link to a legal dossier concerning inheritance:-

which mentions a Sarah MENDES of an earlier generation from Hamburg. but my Sarah is more likely to be descended from the earlier generation Sara's brother Moses, as it seems that he was the only paternal grandson from their grandfather Isaac MENDES :-

There is actually already a family connection, as the earlier generation Sarah's husband's later wife is a sister-in-law of David's grandfather.

Unfortunately, the Hamburg records are generally very sparse and although was able to receive a lot of resource with regards to JEUDA RODRIGUEZ from the Sephardi group and private correspondence with one of the members, no further information was able to be provided with regards to tracing David's wife, apart from the earlier generation family.

It should be pointed out that although David and Sarah came to live in England, Bevis Marks do not seem to have a record of her, although they have of husband David (d1867) . There are too many Sarah RODRIGUES in UK BMD to identify her (family prefix JUDA was no longer used), and although they both seem to appear in London on 1841 census there, neither were so far found in 1851 and 1861 censuses - so maybe they returned to Hamburg - but then David is buried in London.

So, I am posting here, to see whether anyone has any further ideas how I can trace my fourth great-grandmother upwards. 

Also it should be pointed out, that from checking JOBWR for Germany, there was seen to be a few people named Sarah MENDES in the death records there, the dates of these do not resonate and there is not enough data in total to be able to identify the earlier generations as relevant.

Thank you in advance.

David Ziants

dziants AT (please put "@" instead of " AT ")

Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel 


translation from German request - please - #translation

rose A


I request a translation from German to English or French for the following posts I sent through viewmate (there are 4 posts, but in fact they correspond to one single letter which is very long and which I devided into 4 parts).

It was written in May 1939 by my father's sister who was in Kobylnica Ruska, then in Lemberg with my grand father and sisters. My father had left to Italy where he probably received the letter. I would thank you for a translation as complete as possible, knowing that many words are difficult to read.

Thanks a lot ! I am trying to imagine my father's life as he never talked about it, it was probably too painful.

Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.
Thank you very much.

Rose Katz-Assor


I request a translation from German to English or French for the following posts I sent through viewmate (there are 4 posts, but in fact they correspond to one single letter which is very long and which I devided into 4 parts).

It was written in May 1939 by my father's sister who was in Kobylnica Ruska, then in Lemberg with my grand father and sisters. My father had left to Italy where he probably received the letter. I would thank you for a translation as complete as possible, knowing that many words are difficult to read.

Thanks a lot ! I am trying to imagine my father's life as he never talked about it, it was probably too painful.
Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page. Thank you very much.

Rose Katz-Assor


Re: Good news for French research: 1931-1948 naturalization decrees online #announcements #france #records

Daniela Torsh

Thanks a lot Peter for posting Bernard's guide to research in France. I have found naturalisation for Paul STRANSKY a cousin of my mother's in 1946 the year I was born in Prague. Now I need to find how he got to Paris from Vienna and where he lived in Paris and how he survived the Nazis. I have no idea how to proceed. Any advice much appreciated.
Regards from Sydney
Daniela Torsh

James P. Kuykendall World War II Photography Collection #holocaust #photographs

Emily Garber

The Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona has announced the completion of a web project featuring the James P. Kuykendall World War II Photography Collection.

In 2016, a box of more than 400 photographs and memorabilia related to the European theater of World War II was donated to the Martin-Springer Institute. The materials had belonged to U.S. Medical Corp. soldier, James P. Kuykendall and was donated by a third party.

The Institute created, funded, and supervised a team of NAU students to research and archive the collection. The student team organized, identified, and preserved the collection of photographs and also reconstructed part of Kuykendall’s life and wartime experience using genealogical records and methods. The collection includes graphic imagery from Ebensee concentration camp, liberated 6 May 1945; Nurnberg (Nuremburg), massacred Russian slave laborers, May 1945; and Geisenhausen, political prisoners, April and May 1945.

The impressive web project may be viewed at:

A warning: some of the images are difficult to take.

Emily Garber
Phoenix, Arizona

ViewMate translation request - Russian #translation

Debbie Terman

I've posted a vital record in Russian for which I need a translation. It is on ViewMate at the following address ...
Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.
Thank you very much.
Debbie Terman

Re: How to correct information in Jewishgen Databases #records

Nicole Heymans

As stated in several replies, information in databases should only be corrected if the indexer clearly misread the original record. No information absent from the original record should be added.

You can post a tree to FTJP including any information known to you from family history, if you believe this to be correct. (I have some seemingly official documents where my grandmother, who was substantially older than my grandfather, adjusted her birth date by 10 or more years...).

In my first effort at indexing records, when I was still coming to terms with old German, I remember deciphering a newborn's given name as Hans, and later realized it was Isaac. If in doubt, always try to find the original record, and post to Viewmate if you need help.

At present I am busy double checking an old file that has been up on JRI-Poland for some time, correcting some misread items, but mainly eliminating hypothetical suggestions that were nowhere in the records and may be potentially misleading.

Nineteenth century records were not exact. They provide any information the informant provided, and the clerk chose to register. In my extended family, there's an individual with given name Chaim in some of his children's birth records, Joachim in 1834 naturalization records, and Heymann in his son's 1887 death record. Genealogy develops creativity and lateral thinking.

Happy hunting,

Nicole Heymans, near Brussels, Belgium


Re: My JABLOW Family from Minsk #belarus #names

Sherri Bobish


A soundex search at
for surname JABLOW finds this surname in Minsk records, along with other possibilities:  YAVELOV

I see a December 1903 Ellis Island passenger manifest for Ender JABLOW from Minsk.  If you look at the manifest you will see the name JABLOW was written over a crossed out surname that looks like GZABLO,  Although, I'm not quite certain about the first letter being "G" or something else?


Sherri Bobish

Viewmate 85183--translation requested--German #translation #germany

Joseph Walder

I've posted a vital record in German for which I need a translation. It is on ViewMate at the address above.
This is a marriage record for Moses Moritz Walder and Brandel Betty Eber from 1884. I would appreciate as complete a translation as possible, including any notes related to later events and anything about place of origin, family members, previous marriages, and professions. I'm not able to decipher the handwritten German from this era. 
Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page. Thank you very much.
Joseph Walder
Portland, Oregon, USA
MODERATOR: Please ignore messages I sent earlier today (2 September). There seemed to be a problem with the link going to a different Viewmate request