USCIS Genealogy Program Questions #records #usa

Aaron Slotnik

Hello Fellow Genners,

Prior to the previous increase in USCIS genealogy program fees nearly 4 years ago, I submitted a number of requests at that time.  With the dramatic increase in USCIS genealogy program fees looming, I reviewed the results of those requests to see if there was anything outstanding or follow ups that I wanted to try to resolve.  As a result of that review, I have the following questions for the group:

  1. I submitted an index search request for my great-grandmother.  The response I received was "that the Alien Registration Form (AR-2) is the only file available for purchase from the USCIS Genealogy Program; no A-File exists".  This was consistent with my expectations; however, I subsequently found that she traveled back to Europe with my teenage grandmother to visit family.  This surprising realization was the result of finding their return passenger manifest by chance (  That manifest indicates that a visa was issued to her in Warsaw to enable her to return.  Should I resubmit a new index search request with this new information in hopes that the visa application file will be found?
  2. I submitted a request for my grandfather's derivative citizenship replacement file, but received a response that the file "had been lost and/or misplaced".  He gained citizenship as a child through his father's naturalization in 1920.  I have his physical naturalization certificate from 1947 and used that number to make the request, but am hoping that the full file may have some additional information such as his birth record from Europe.  Should I resubmit the same request in hopes that it is found?

Shana Tova,
Aaron Slotnik
Chicago, IL

1869 Hungarian Census #hungary #translation

Shana Millstein

I am trying to decipher the handwriting used in the 1869 Hungarian census. It doesn't seem to fall into any one specific type of script. In the entries I am trying to figure out some letters look like Kurrent, some like Roman cursive, and some unlike anything I am familiar with.  I am struggling with making sense on a number of entries that would really help me in my family research. Can anyone enlighten me, help me decipher the segments I am most interested in? I have uploaded them to Viewmate.  Thank you for any advice, leads. So far, my best guess is that the entires of my interest are in Roman script with some letters (like k) in Kurrent and some I cannot make out. 
Shana Millstein #66829
San Francisco area

Re: Agricultural colony of Zhankoye #russia

Alan Shuchat

Here's an old video of Pete Seeger singing about Zhankoye in Yiddish:
There's an English translation at, and I've attached a map showing where Zhankoye is in Crimea.
Alan Shuchat
Newton, MA

Seeking photo of grandfather's shop, Vienna #austria-czech

Selma Sheridan

In the 1930s, my grandfather, Israel SIGAL, had a small textile shop with his name on the front, at Weyprechtgasse 3 in the 16th District / Ottakring.  The landlord was named Kretschmer.  Although the shop was vandalized and looted, the building survived the wartime bombing and presently holds a physician's office.  Would photos exist of the 1930s storefront before the atrocities began, in city archives or elsewhere?  Any positive suggestions would be much appreciated.  Many thanks!
Selma Sheridan
Oswego NY

Re: LAKOBOVIC or JAKOBOVIC? #names #russia #ukraine

Sherri Bobish


Try doing a soundex search at Ancestry or FamilySearch or the Ellis Island Database at

You will get hits with alternative spellings, i.e. Lakubovic, Lakabovicz, Lucobovitz, and others.

A soundex search of
JAKOBOVIC on Ancestry shows people with that name that changed it to HILLMAN during naturalization.


Sherri Bobish

Re: DNA results vs records #dna

Adam Turner

I make no judgment on whether your grandnephew and mother's assertions on your family's Latvian origins are correct - only more research can prove whether they are right. But there is nothing inconsistent with the following clues you've mentioned:

-if your mother/grandnephew are correct, your family likely immigrated from some part of present-day Latvia
-they were Jewish, but considered themselves "Prussian" in some cultural sense
-their immigration records, which may predate the establishment of Latvia as an independent country post-WWI, say they came from "Russia".
-your AncestryDNA ethnicity estimate may list your DNA as being a part of an ethnic Community that includes Germany, suggesting that they may have been part of a population that had lived somewhere well west of Latvia several hundred years ago.

To understand why all of these are very easily reconcilable with one another, you need to acquire some familiarity with Latvian history, and particularly the history of Jews in Latvia. This article from Professor Ruvin Ferber, posted a long time ago by the JewishGen Latvia SIG, seems like one useful starting point on the latter topic:

Adam Turner

Re: Zagradowka, Ukraine #ukraine #latinamerica

Sherri Bobish


I did read that Mennonite farmers settled in that area, and that Jewish farmers co-settled with German Mennonite families.

And, quoting from the website noted below:
"Zagradovka Colonies   The Zagradovka colonies were to the west of the Ingulez River on 60,000 acres.  The land was purchased by Leo V. Kochubey in 1871 for the purpose of establishing daughter colonies for the Molotschna Mennonites.  There were 16 colonies settled between 1872 and 1883.  Another colony to the north, Nikolaidorf, considered itself a part of the Zagradovka settlement except administratively.   It was sold in 1908 to Russians."


Sherri Bobish

Re: How to find UKRAINE birth and marriage records #ukraine #records #russia

David Mason

Has anyone checked with the district civil registry (РАЦС = RATS in Ukrainian; ЗАГС = ZAGS in Russian)?  Ostroh is the administrative center of its district, so the civil registry for the whole district would be there.   Looks like their phone is +380 (3654) 2-30-92.  Email: vcs@... 


Phone calls should probably be done by someone fluent in Russian or Ukrainian, but emailing in English might actually work.  Chances are reasonably good that someone in the registry knows English, or they can recruit someone to translate.


-David Mason, Los Angeles

L'Shana Tovah v'Metuka #general

Yefim Kogan

Dear Researchers,

Shana Tovah! 

Happy New Year to all of you.  Let's new 5781 bring hope for everybody.

Be safe and healthy.

Yefim Kogan
Bessarabia group Leader and Coordinator

Re: How to find UKRAINE birth and marriage records #ukraine #records #russia

Nancy Reicher

How about Records from Cherson City and Odessa.

Nancy Reicher

Re: Registry Files: USCIS information #records


No, the purpose of creating records under the Registry Act of 1929 was to belatedly create an arrival record so it could be used as the basis of a certificate of arrival.  The ability to issue a certificate of arrival was the whole point of Registry proceedings.

That said, if the certificate of arrival number has the letter "R" in it (as in #-R-#####) or you find the word "Registry" written or stamped on the document, those can be clues to the existence of a Registry File.

Marian Smith

Re: DNA results vs records #dna

JoAnne Goldberg

When  I first tested, I had this naive hope that I'd get some clues as
to where my father's family lived prior to immigrating to the United
States. No such luck! All anyone (Ancestry, 23, MH, FTDNA) can tell me
is that I'm Jewish which I already kinda knew.

The problem with the different sample populations is that records are
sparse in most countries. The members of the sample may think their
ancestors lived in the same country for the last 500 years, but
generally no proof other than family lore.  Ancestry even says that they
use family trees as an input, and we know how well-documented a lot of
those are. So for non-Jews, it's a best guess estimate that will
continue to evolve as Ancestry et al refine their samples.
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535


Re: DNA results vs records #dna

Elaine King

I appreciate all the answers to my question. Altogether, it just gets more confusing. I have a great-nephew who says my father's family came from Krustpils, Latvia. I can find no records indicating this, and he won't answer me as to why he thinks this. I found a list of residents of Krustpils, but their name wasn't on it. My mother said my father's family came here from Riga, though they were Prussian. But again, there is no record I can find to indicate this. I thought they might have belonged to a synagogue there, and wrote the officials in Riga asking this, but they couldn't find any records either. All I know is that the US immigration records consistently say Russia, which, from what everyone is saying, might mean anywhere. I also appreciate the information about why they knew English. Since they were merchants, that would make sense.

Elaine King

Re: 🍎🍯 Shana Tova from JewishGen!🍎🍯 #JewishGenUpdates

Sam G.

שנה טובה

May we be pandemic-free in 5781!
-Amnon Gronner, USA

Re: 🍎🍯 Shana Tova from JewishGen!🍎🍯 #JewishGenUpdates


To all the amazing people who work so hard to make JewishGen the
incredible resource that it is and to everyone else here, I wish you all
the same! Nothing but sweetness.

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida

On 9/17/2020 5:47 PM, Avraham Groll wrote:
Wishing you all a Shana Tova, and a year filled with health, happiness,
and only good things!
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

Re: Hungarian Diary Translation Needed #general #hungary #translation

Peter Cherna

How much text is there? If it's a modest amount, then posting to ViewMate as Julia suggested can work. There are also Facebook forums where volunteers are doing an incredible service helping people understand Hungarian documents.

If there are lots of pages, it may be beyond what you can expect volunteers to respond to. If it's poetry, you may also want to capture some of the artistry, and not just the gist of the names and topics.

I have about 80 letters my grandmother wrote to my father, and I found a translator on that I paid for the work. I sent samples to a few of the people offering services, and picked the best result to send the rest of the letters to, and in my case I was super satisfied. I knew my grandmother when I was very little so I was able to "hear" her personality in the best of the translations. If you want the name and link of the specific translator on Fiverr that I ended up using, send me a private message.

Peter Cherna

Re: 50 State Survey Finds One Out of 10 Millennials and Generation Z Didi Not Recall Word 'Holocaust: or Basic Facts of the Genocide #announcements # holocaust #announcements #usa

Jessica Skippon

I first read this in The Guardian and our family emails did the expected outrage. Then my 25 year old grandson researched and brought up the survey responses themselves. I was shocked at how distorted the report was. For example:

"Sixty-three percent of those surveyed did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and over half of those thought the death toll was fewer than 2 million."

9. Approximately how many Jews were killed during the Holocaust?  Please select from the following list:


25,000              5%

100,000            6%

1 million            10%

2 million            15%

6 million            37%

20 million          10%

Not sure            17%

Personally, I would include all responses between 1 million and 20 million as knowing something about the scale of the Holocaust. But the writer chose only those who answered accurately.

I was a small child in Brooklyn when the Holocaust happened, and I found out about it in 1950 by reading Life Magazine. I don't remember ever being taught about it in high school, but self-taught myself by reading and then at 63 studying it at university. We are making assumptions that everyone knows the history of the 20th century, but I think we need to accept that we have a legacy to pass on. I don't mean just the Holocaust, but also a time when social justice was considered important.I could add many more values and qualities, but you know what I am talking about.

The full survey responses is in the link - but you need to go to almost the end, just before the list of States, and click on Millennial National Topline.

Jessica Skippon

Researching: SCHANZER, BORGER, BIRN, JACHZEL, Andrychau, Wadowice, Bielsko Biala


Re: DNA results vs records #dna

EdrieAnne Broughton

I'm one of your non-Jewish posters.  I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles.  My friends were mostly Jewish.  My mother had studied anthropology in college and reading was our main 'sport'.  It hasn't changed even in my mid 70s.  I recently finished a Great Courses on Audible on the Ottoman Empire.  I really recommend this geographical history and cultural history to anyone who has roots in Southeastern Europe and Asia Minor.  This includes Christians, Jews and Sunni Muslims.  Many of you who know that Russia had control of parts of your ancestors' homelands completely miss the fact that the Ottomans had control of it for longer that Russia was even a factor.  The Ottomans had a much different management style than the Hapsburgs, Russians or Prussians.  
EdrieAnne Broughton
Vacaville, California   

Re: How to find UKRAINE birth and marriage records #ukraine #records #russia

Gary Pokrassa

Alex Krakovsky does have posted an additional revision List for Volyn Province 1883 which has data from Ostrog on p. 69 and 145 archive ref 118-14-93 link (copy this into the browser dont click on it)
Additional auditory tales of the Volyn province. 1881–1883 // RAIN. F. 118. Op. 14. Ref. 93.

As Chuck says this has not been digitized or indexed.  while just before your date it may have information on the parents

Gary Pokrassa
Data Acquisition Director
Ukraine Research Division

Re: DNA results vs records #dna


I received Ancestry's new estimates of ethnicity yesterday along with great fanfare and their airy comments of new definitions and greater accuracy.  Mine changed from 100% European Jewish to 100% European Jewish.  Nope not a typo. No further definitions.  My father's family came from Hanover and Hess in Germany, and Bydgoszcz in Poland (then Bromberg in Prussia), and the Grodno gubernia which was Russia and is now in Belarus, and my mother's from Hungary, and Transylvania (formerly Hungary, now Romania) - A good solid mix of European Jewish ancestry.  If one looks at the US Census records, he/she can see how the country of origin listings change for a person over the years according to who reigns over the territory, and as we have seen they are still changing. L'Shana Tovah.  Rich Meyersburg, Laurel, MD

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