Re: Info and questions please #general #russia

Alan Shuchat

In addition to Kherson having been a gubernia in southern Ukraine, it is a city that was the capital of the gubernia. Odessa is a city that was in that gubernia.
Alan Shuchat
Newton, MA

Re: DNA results vs records #dna

Jill Whitehead

If Elaine's ancestors came from New East Prussia, the area around Konigsberg, now Kaliningrad, she would have been on the borders of the Suwalki Lomza gubernias in NE Poland which used to be in Lithuania in medieval times, but went through several different ownerships in the 18th and 19th centuries (Prussian, Napoleon, and Russia's Pale of Settlement) and then formed part of the front line in both WW1 and WW2 between Germany and the Allies . in 1919, the northern part of these gubernias returned from Poland to Lithuania. The border changes were very fluid over many centuries and Russia held sway for much of the 19th century in this area.

It was common for those coming from Suwalki Lomza to say they came from Konigsberg/New East Prussia when they went West in the 19th century. All my eight great grandparents came from these gubernias and all of them emigrated to the UK between 1865 and 1875. Some of them said they came from New East Prussia, as likely they were smuggled over the border and likely they sailed across the Baltic from Konigsberg. And their homeland was part of Prussia in their parents' time, but then later on became part of Russia. My ancestors' census and naturalization information say they came from Russian Poland on the whole, because when they arrived Poland was part of the Russian Pale of Settlement.

Depending which DNA provider you go with you get different results - they are not attuned to Jewish DNA and you need more sensitive analysis which can be provided by some specialist DNA providers (I have had this done). On Ancestry (which in my view is the least sensitive), 23andme, FTDNA and My Heritage, I am given wildly different ancestry make ups varying from 100% Ashkenazi to seven eighths Ashkenazi/one eighth Sephardic and to 89% Ashkenazi and 11% Russian/East European. It depends on the reference populations the companies use. And some of the reference populations may self -identify with one country or another, depending who ruled when their families left. Or who rules it today. 

I would take most of the DNA results from the big companies with a barge pole as none of them agree with each other. But at the end of the day it is the combination of the paper trail and DNA results that counts. You need to track your family tree by tried and trusted means before trying to match them to DNA.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

Re: Searching Michael GOLDSMITH Volochysk/Podvolochisk #ukraine

Sherri Bobish

Pevsner family in Zaporozky , Ukraine #ukraine

Joan Kadonoff

Looking for any records of my Pevsner family, grandfather Gershon and his son Mordecai . Mordecai and his brothers owned a department store there which was burned down in a program in the early 1900 s . The brothers left What was then Russia and my Grandfather Mordecai( Max)came to Montreal. The Russian government allowed compensation for the building and one brother went back to claim it .

Joan Kadonoff

Looking for Yaakov Rotem — Yad Vashem testimonies reporter #holocaust #galicia


Looking for Yaakov Rotem (or relative) Yad Vashem testimonial reporter who reported murders of Wilder family members from Lwow.
Nina Talbot, Brooklyn, NY

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

Harvey Kabaker

Also, perhaps this is the way the clerk wrote a capital I, and made a capital L with a longer leg, but we would need to examine more of her or his work to confirm it.

BTW, I don't think the Kabakiers/Kabakers are related to Kabaks or Kabakoffs, Kabakovs, etc.

Harvey Kabaker
Silver Spring, Md.

Re: Ordering USCIS records for appeal/rehearing


Hi Judy,


Let me try to reply to your questions:

1) Is there likely to be any correspondence about this case?


There was correspondence in 1906 because the file is indexed in an index to correspondence.  The only questions are whether it survives, and whether it can be found.

2) If so, is 50,030-1 the index case number, in which case I can use it on a Genealogy Records Request USCIS Form G-1041A to see if there is any correspondence about this?  or do I have to still submit a request to find the index case number?


Yes, the file number referenced (50030-1) is the number needed to request the file from the National Archives (do not request from USCIS!).  


All the INS immigration correspondence prior to 1957 has transferred to NARA and falls into either the Letters Received, 1882-1906 (NAID 1564919) OR the Subject Correspondence 1906-1957 (NAID 559947).  Because you have a number from 1906 we don’t know in which it will be found (assuming it survives).  So you’ll need to provide the file number and BOTH possible locations.


Since NARA is closed, I suggest you send a request via their “Your Inquiry” form here:

Write your request in the text box, and provide the following citation:

RG 85

NAID 1564919  - OR -  NAID 559947

File # 50030-1


Be sure to provide your email/phone number.  They’ll let you know if they find it or not, and if there are any copying fees (I don’t know if there are).

3) What is Section 11?


Section 11 of the Immigration Act of March 3, 1903.  They are citing it as the authority for some action in that case.  You’ll find the text of section 11 on page 1216 of this online PDF , where it is summarized as “Return of alien accompanying rejected, helpless, etc., alien.”  Presumably, this is the authority to deport Shmuel to accompany Wolf back to where they came from.

Good luck!

Marian Smith

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

Harvey Kabaker

Often a capital I appears in transliterations, because the name was
pronounced Yacovitch. The Anglicized name was Jacovitch or Jacobitch, or

From there, the capital I was mistaken for a lower case l (see what I
mean?), and incorrectly rewritten as a capital L.

Harvey Kabaker

Silver Spring, Md.

Yizkor Book on the History of Bar, Ukraine - Translated and Now Available Digitally #yizkorbooks #ukraine #holocaust #announcements

Stefani Elkort Twyford

In September 2019, one of my researchers, made a visit to Bar Ukraine and purchased a newly released book on the history of Bar written by Bar historian Mikhail Kupershteyn. The original book is written in Ukrainian. I quickly got in touch with Mr. Kupershteyn who gave me permission to have the book translated into English and made available to Jewish researchers. The book is now fully translated, reformatted and available as a PDF.  I've also included a name index at the end of the translation to identify all the surnames in the book. That list can be seen here.

The book is a magnum opus spanning from early 1500s up through modern day. It covers such topics as:

  • historical chronology of the city

  • the shtetl, synagogue, cemetery and market

  • what community life was like, a Jewish home and Jewish traditions

  • pogroms, occupations and memories of witnesses

  • Jews on the frontlines of WWII

  • development of the Jewish society from the end of the 19th century up to the 1940s

  • society in the post war period including later history of the community, prominent Jews from Bar and the Yiddish community

Many family names appear in stories, lists of pogrom and war victims, famous citizens from Bar and other anecdotes. The book is a fascinating glimpse into the life of our ancestors and includes numerous photographs and maps. 
One of my DNA cousins described this book as "an extraordinary work of dedication, love and scholarship." I'm sure you will agree.

Currently the digital PDF of this book is available to researchers for a $50 or larger donation to the JewishGen -  Bar, Ukraine Records Project. Remember that your donation is tax deductible. To get to the fundraising page, click on this link or log in to your JewishGen account and click on the far-right tab labeled Donate. In the right hand JewishGen Projects, click on Ukraine. Our project is the third listed: Bar, Ukraine Records Project.  To take advantage of this offer, when you receive your receipt for the donation from JewishGen, email it to me at bargenealogy@... and I’ll email you the PDF.

Soon the book will be available for purchase in a hard cover version through JewishGen's Yizkor Books Print on Demand program.

L'Shana Tova


Stefani Elkort Twyford

Researching: Siegal/Sigal, Spiel, Tarle, Ilkovics, Feiermann, Kronenberg, Szerman, Kletzel, Ricker/Ricken, Spiro

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

Elise Cundiff

I don't agree that the example cited is a distortion in any way.   Perhaps include those who thought 20 million in those who were aware of the magnitude of the  disaster - but if the question is, "how many?" and the answers are far less than 6 million that is indeed of some concern.  

It is true that too many Americans, not just those two generations,  seem to have a general ignorance and lack of understanding of history, including pertinent American history.   Our educational system is failing in that.

I had a younger co-worker (who had previously made a few vaguely anti- semitc comments to me before) tell me that  "Jews need to get over it" because it was so long ago.
She had no response when I pointed out that my two oldest brothers, along with my parents and grandparents, would have been killed - and that didn't seem so long ago to me.    

Re: DNA results vs records #dna

Sally Bruckheimer <sallybruc@...>

My mother said her mother's family came from Latvia - they were Litvaks after all. She thought Litvaks came from Latvia. Of course, her family weren't from Latvia at all (as far back as I could go), but culturally they were Litvaks, meaning Lithuania (the U in Lithuania is the V in Litvak, originally the same letter). So your mother might be right, or not. Only finding records of your family will tell you who they were and where they really lived.

Our ancestors moved around a lot more than we often think, and not just to the next town over. My family above came to Augustow district of the Kingdom of Poland from somewhere in Russia proper.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ

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

David Jacobowitz

I took a look at the Ohio Marriage record. Surely the recording clerk was incompetent, the informants' accents were incomprehensible, or the record is for other people.

Your family seems to be on Anita Carol Rosenberg's Ancestry tree:

 Since I have an interest in the Jacobowitz name, I put up a list of variant spellings at

None of these has an initial L. I think that J is probably correct. It would have been pronounced as Y, and perhaps misheard as L.

David Jacobowitz


Re: Using DNA matches to find Jewish ancestors #dna

Adam Cherson

On understanding ethnicity and admixture reports, please see my post Deciphering Ancient Jewish Origins Using Genography

Adam Cherson

Help unravelling the mystery of Sarah and Victor LEVIN, LIverpool, England #unitedkingdom


Help unravelling the mystery of Sarah and Victor LEVIN

Sarah Levin was my great Aunt, born about 1861 in Izabelin, Belarus and married Vigder Levin also from 'Russia'. They had 2 children Abraham born 1885 in Russia and Flora born 1887 in Izabelin, Belarus.  I have found Sarah and Abraham together in the 1901 census in Liverpool and I have found Sarah and Flora together in the 1911 census in Liverpool.  I know Abraham married in Llanelli and sadly died in 1909.  I can't find the family in the 1891 census.  This is probably not surprising as I know Sarah's brother my ggf and his family arrived in Liverpool in the late 1890's.
What I can't find and I would like help with please is any evidence of Victor in the UK. (On his daughter's marriage certificate (Liverpool 1911)  the surname was spelt Levien). I also can't find a death record for Sarah. I know her daughter Flora (later Florie) married a David Lurie from Holyhead and Flora moved to Anglesey and she was certainly there up until 1950. Flora died in 1965 in London, presumably following her children there, her husband David having died in 1947 in Anglesey. So I did wonder whether Sarah may have moved to her daughter or even to London where her brother was for some time. Any suggestions much appreciated

Rachel Poole

Searching: LEVIN/E- Belarus, UK, SILVER - UK, Russia/Poland, COHEN- - Latvia, UK, LYPSYZC/LIFSHITS/LYONS - Belarus, UK, USA

Why a 1911 Registry Office Wedding? #unitedkingdom #general


1911 Registry Office Wedding - Why?

This partially relates to another of my posts today - but this focuses on the marriage of Flora Levin (Florie Levien)  and David Lurie in 1911.  I was really surprised' to see that they had been married in the Registry Office in Liverpool and that the line 'according to the rites and ceremonies of' had been crossed out. Flora's uncle was Rabbi Lewis Levin/e was in Liverpool at this time and his son Nathan Levine was a witness.  Nathan also became Rabbi or Rev. The second witness was also a wider family member. I could be wrong, but this suggests that it wasn't a registry office wedding because they had married out of faith. This family was known to disown anyone that did in later years. The bride is described as a spinster and the groom as Bachelor. I haven't been able to find a marriage authorisation either. Why would a marriage authorisation not be given? Could this be why it was a registry office wedding?
Rachel Poole

Searching: LEVIN/E- Belarus, UK, SILVER - UK, Russia/Poland, COHEN- - Latvia, UK, LYPSYZC/LIFSHITS/LYONS - Belarus, UK, USA

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

Henry Carrey Boston,MA . Carey/Kirzhner/Berestyaner , Belous , Isenberg - Lutsk ; Postolov/Herman/Kolovsky-Zhitomir

HI! So far, I have not found any online records for my family in Zhitomir .  i have wanted to get my mother's "birth certificate" from May 26,1908 ( old style ) ( Leyke Zalmanovna Postalov ) or my grandparents marriage ( Postalov/G/Herman )  info from 1906/7 or any kind of city directory showing my GGF (Dovid H/Gersh H/German )  who had a grain store (?) or a record of his wife (Rivke Kolovsky (?)) who died sometime between 1908 and 1923 or any tax or census record which might show names of children to see if there was a brother Yudl . The only record I have is on the JG burial records where there is a photo of the gravestones of my great aunt and her husband ( Karmazin ) from recent times  which has an error in the Hebrew . None of the surviving Russian relatives have any ideas  about Yudl ; the only reference to a Yudl was a family photo from 1908 in which there is a modern-looking young man that my mother identified as Yudl who was supposed to have died in the army or a pogrom. . As far as I know the only way to get info is to contact some archivist in Ukraine . Is there anything online  for Zhitomir or the Lutsk area where I have even less info on my father's side ?
Henry H. Carrey

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

Paulo Abrahamsohn

L’Shana Tova to Avraham and to all JewishGeners. And a warm thanks for helping me with data during my searches.

Paulo Abrahamsohn. Sao Paulo. Brazil

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


OEFF  - perhaps consider IOFE and variants.
Paul Hattori
London UK

MINDEL, MINDELL from Utena and Vyzuonos, Lithuania
FELLER from Pabrade, Lithuania

Local History - CJH Genealogy Coffee Break shout-out #usa #records #names

Lee Jaffe

I would like to give a big shout-out to Center for Jewish History's weekly Genealogy Coffee Break series and in particular last week's session which lead to a big break-through in my family tree research.

Maybe the strategies and tools suggested in this program (you can see the recording at the above link)  might be second-nature to more experienced researchers, but it really got me to explore areas I hadn't considered before.   Specifically, following their suggestions I discovered that my grandfather's hometown newspaper (The Perth Amboy Evening News) has been digitized by Rutgers U. and is available to search and view through the Library of Congress's Chronicling America project (  The search tools are quite good and it turned out that my great-grandparents and my grandfather and his siblings were very active in various social and political (and legal) arenas, enough to get mentioned often in these pages.  For papers of that time, "Mr. Joseph Schwartz motored to Princeton yesterday" was newsworthy.  Lucky me.  

There were a lot of meaningful items retrieved through a series of searches:  my grandparents' wedding announcement, my great-grandfather's run for election as alderman (Socialist Party) and his death announcement, a front page item detailing my great-uncle's arrest for grand larceny at the age of 14, and a letter commending the same great-uncle for meritorious service in France during WWI. I even found an item describing a boating party of young people listing my still-unmarried grandmother and grandfather in attendance.  

More curious were some of the more oblique references.  One of these included a description of the will of a recently deceased businessman, mentioning my great-grandfather as a trustee and brother-in-law, a family connection that was news to me.  There were a couple of social events attended my great-grandparents and a number of Weinblatts, which I believed was my great-grandmother's maiden name, but I had no documentation nor information about her family.

Refining my searches, I found my Rosetta Stone: a death announcement for the wife of the above-mentioned businessman, detailing her surviving family, including her husband, children, father, and six Weinblatt siblings, one of whom was my great-grandmother.  In two paragraphs, I added ten family members, including my 2x great-grandfather.
True, it took several days of digging, reviewing more than 100 items retrieved through different search attempts.  There were a more than a few false leads, such as two Leo Schwartzes, one a city health commissioner and president of a local synagogue, when the Leo Schwartz who is my grandfather was still in knee pants.  
I mention this experience for several reasons.  First, I want to recommend the Center for Jewish History's weekly Genealogy Coffee Breaks.  Though they seem aimed mostly at the beginner, even an experienced researcher can learn something new.  I've been looking for these people for more than 20 years and the other approaches I tried haven't worked.  Finally, a caveat, that this particular strategy won't work for everyone: not every town has a newspaper (or archive) that's searchable online and, even for those that do, finding an item like the one I discovered has to be a rare event.  But it's still worth "thinking laterally" – going around brick walls when you haven't been able to break through them.  

Shana Tova,

Lee Jaffe

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

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