Oct. 27: Genealogy Coffee Break #announcements #events

Moriah Amit

Next Tuesday (10/27) at 3:30 pm ET, tune into the Center for Jewish History's Facebook page for the next episode of Genealogy Coffee Break. Our guest presenter, Hallel Yadin (archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, one of the Center's in-house partners), will discuss Family History Research in YIVO's Landsmannschaftn Collection. To join the live webinar, click "Follow" on the top of the Center's Facebook page and a notification will pop up on your screen when the webinar goes live. Note: If the notification doesn't appear, you can also find the webinar on our Facebook videos page once it goes live. Catch up on the entire series here

Moriah Amit 
Senior Genealogy Librarian, Center for Jewish History
New York, NY

Re: Tombstone #translation

Dubin, David M. MD

והנחמד looks right with a diagonal line eliminating the lower left portions and the entire last letter. 

david dubin
teaneck nj

Re: Yiddish Question #yiddish

Albert Stern

There was an episode of M*A*S*H called 38 Across that revolved around Hawkeye being unable to finish a crossword. The missing clue was a five letter Yiddish word for bedbug, which they finally - after comic machinations - found out is "vantz."
Here is a link to a MASH fan page about the episode.
It was a long time ago, but I remember it was a funny one.
Albert Stern

Help translating record from Polish to English #translation


Hello. I am hoping for help translating entry 335 for Israel Wiengarten. Fingers crossed that I have found my gg grandfather!
Any pertinent geneological information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Deborah Moscou Annex

JewishGen Groups: Search Engine Question #names #general

Adam Cherson

To Anyone Who May Know:

I am wondering whether the search engine used to search JewishGen Group posts and archives is of the type that finds closely spelled names (I believe this is called something like Daitch-Molotov). For example, if I write the name Horvits capitalized in a post, will someone who is searching for 'Hurwitz' find my post?

Adam Cherson

This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks

Bruce Drake

This week’s offering is a collection of Yizkor book excerpts about practical jokes. Every society has its pranksters, so why not the shtetls of Europe? Some of these border on the side of cruel humor when it came to the victims, such as Reb Mendel in the first excerpt. But “it turns out that the city's clowns also have a Jewish heart, and when they realized that their prank agitated R' Mendel's soul, they decided to let him go him and find another victim for their practical jokes.” Not so much for poor, pious Chaya Shlia who, when fooled into thinking that she heard G-d speak to her, “returned home crushed and in agony.” Pranks on others were more in the general tradition of youthful mischief-making, like removing the wooden steps from the door of a person’s house, so that in the morning the members of the household would not be able to leave their home. 
Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD
Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

Re: finding PELZEL in Montevideo #general

Karen Lukeman

Hi Paul, 

We visited Montevideo a few years ago, and had an amazing Jewish tour with Fanny Margolis who might be able to help because she has many contacts. Part of the tour included visiting a synagogue/Jewish community. You can learn more about her at

Good luck on your journey!
Karen Calmon Lukeman
KALMANOWITZ (Lyubcha and towns near Grodno, Vilna and Minsk)
GOLDSMITH (Bakshty and Ivje)
NASSER (Damascus)
BENBAJI (Damascus)
BALLAS (Damascus)

Re: Opole Lubelskie Ghetto #holocaust

Lewis, Megan

Dear Moshe,

I did a search for Opole and Vienna in the USHMM Collections Search catalog,  There are digitized archival collections, oral histories and photographs you can access from home that may be of interest to you.

Best wishes,

Megan Lewis, USHMM reference librarian

Dieveniskes (Divenishok), Vilna: Photo Identification of Town’s Youth: 1925-1935 #photographs #lithuania #belarus

Adam Cherson

A group of high-definition photos of the youth of Dieveniskes (Divenishok) has been posted to the Photo Gallery ( Persons with Divenishok ancestry are requested to please make an effort to identify anyone in these photos, and send your findings to the email address on the photos.

Some of the persons in these photos include: Tsvi Hersh ROGOL, Basyeh RUDNIK, Yakov BENYAKONSKI, Breyneh RUDNIK, Sholem ROSENBLUM, Avraham KARCHMER, Shlomo LEVINE, Bilkhe CHERSON, Khayeh Rivke KRIZOVSKI, Tsvi KRIZOVSKI, Moshe ZUSSMAN, Avraham ALONI, Liba LEVINE, Reyzl MOVSHOVICH, Blumeh MOVSHOVICH, Moshe Yakov ROGOL.

The places associated with the persons or their descendants in these photos include Dieveniskes, Divenishok, Dziewieniszki, Jevenishok, Devenishki, Dzievianiski, Konvalishki, Kallelishok, Smarhon, Smorgon, Smorgonie, Svir, Lida, Voranava, Voronova, Voronove, Varanova, Binakoni, Benakoni, Benyakon, Byenyakoni, Yashun,  Jiasiunai, Jiasiuny, Rudnia, Volozhin, Bielica, Vilna Province,  Oshmyany (Ashmyany) Province, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nebraska (Lincoln), New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Australia, Belarus, Cuba, England, France (Grenoble), Ireland, Israel, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, Venezuela.

Adam Cherson

Re: Lithuanian Telephone Books #lithuania

Logan Kleinwaks

Todd Brody asked about Lithuanian directories before 1930, writing that "The earliest directory on the Genealogy Indexer seems to be 1930." Genealogy Indexer actually includes many Lithuanian directories from before 1930, see:
However, many are Russian Empire-era "Commemorative Books" (e.g., for Kovno Gubernia, Памятная книжка Ковенской губернии) that are far from comprehensive. The most comprehensive are the Russian Empire Business Directories, Vsia Rosiia (1902, 1900, 1899, 1895, part of 1897, Вся Россия). (Note that due to the way those are printed and scanned, OCR accuracy is not super high, so some matches might be missed by searching.) Less comprehensive is the 1924 Baltic States + U.S.S.R. Business Directory (Rudl's Adressbuch der Baltischen Staaten und der U.d.S.S.R).

Todd mentioned a 1923 all-Lithuania telephone directory at the Library of Congress -- as far as I know, they have not digitized it and it is not otherwise online (on reputable websites).

Logan Kleinwaks
near Washington, D.C.

Re: Yiddish Question #yiddish



Hello Genners,


As I recall from my childhood and just double checked with my mother in Israel, the word שוואנץ 

meant  a tail and was not a compliment (he/she is such a schwantz).

Shabbat shalom,

Malka Chosnek, Texas

Re: Did Barney Barnato and Sir David Harris walk together? #southafrica


Hi Paul,

Thanks very much. Where in my previous message I mention 'gold rush' I think it should have been 'diamond rush'. My special interest goes out to the peddlers that at that time made their rounds through Namibia and visited the miners camps, boerejoden and hottentots. My ggf was one of them, there are indications that his mother Clara LEVIN had ties with the Schür family at Bowesborp. Would your family annals contain anything also might point that way?
Ron Peeters

Re: Finding death of my great uncle Otto Seelig #germany #records


Dear Susan,
Otto Selig married Berta Annis 31 Jul 1928 in Berlin. He died already 26 Nov 1928 in Charlottenberg, Berlin. The informer on the death record was Ludwig Latz. I get the impression that his wife Berta died earlier in Nov 1928. 

Gunnar Leman, Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Yiddish Question #yiddish


On Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 05:36 PM, loren greenberg wrote:
It is a word in Yiddish "vantsun" - plural, mean bed bugs and "vontsun" - plural, mean mustache.

Michael Ryabinky

MEISELS family name from Hungary #hungary

David Grosz

I have recently done a DNA test on Ancestry and whilst it added a lot of confusion to my research by highlighting more than 160,000 connections, it identified one person who is close to me but a rather distant cousin and it has identified a name in common between us and some other DNA connections we have in common.  The family’s name MEISELS is the name that seems to be the name in common.  One person in common is Szeren MEISELS born in 1888 and her father was Marton MEISELS.  The other part of puzzle is Edith MEISELS born in 1892 and her father was William MEISELS born in 1861.  If anyone has some clues or other pieces to the jigsaw, your assistance would be most appreciated.

Thank you.
David Grosz

Re: Kaplan Family from Svislach, Grodno, Russia (Now Belarus) #russia #usa

Hazel Finn

Hi All
My grandmother Minnie Kaplin came from Minsk.  The information I have about her is as follows:
Minnie Kaplan, born in 1879,  and her husband Lazarus Kirshner settled in London, UK..  She had 5 children, one of whom was my father Alec
Minnie married in  1901 in Minsk.  
Her father was Aaron Jacob Kaplan.  Her brother was Isaac Kaplan who lived in New York and was hoping to arrange for his sister to come over to the US, but this never happened.  There was a nephew Irving who also lived in New York.  Believe she had two sisters, Rose and Sarah.
If anyone has mention of the above on their family tree I would be very happy to hear.
Hazel Finn

Re: Tombstone #translation

Dan Oren

This is an excellent discussion. Could someone type out in Hebrew (or spell out in English transliteration) the last word in the first line that Leya Aronson writes as "Nechmad." I am not reading the Hebrew letters of נחמד. But I'm not really sure...

Thank you. (If it works, I'm attaching an enlargement of that line from the photo submitted.)

Dan Oren
Woodbridge, Connecticut USA


International use of familysearch #ukraine #russia

David Mason

I've posted before about helping a Ukrainian and Russian Kagan/Cohen family who lost track of their American cousins in the 1930s, after falling into conversation on a train with the grandson of the brother who stayed behind.

At long last we have succeeded at finding them, special thanks to Georgeann Moore at Temple University.  She found the son who went to medical school and provided the link to his informative obituary..  So now we have dozens of cousins on this side and a still unknown number in Russia, hopefully more in Ukraine if there were survivors of all misfortunes of the 1930s and 40s.

So thinking of an online platform for documenting this, in a multi-lingual way, the familysearch website comes to mind, since the website can be navigated in Russian as well as English, and material can be entered and viewed in both languages.

So I'm curious if others have tried this, and how it worked out for them?  Was it actually used and updated over there as well as here?

-David Mason, Los Angeles

Re: Yiddish Question #yiddish

Philip Heilbrunn

A "vonce" also pronounced "Vantz" is a bed bug!
Not complimentary
Philip Heilbrunn

Re: My grandparents JONUSS and MAZUS from Ezere, Latvia #latvia #lithuania

Sherri Bobish


Have you tried looking for your family in these databases of Latvian & Lithuanian records?
Try a soundex search if you don't get hits on the exact spelling of the surname.


Sherri Bobish

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