FW: From Glory to Dispersion - The Sephardi Lisbona family from Damascus #sephardic #events

David Mendoza

David Lisbona will discuss the history of his Sephardic ancestors who originated in Portugal and later settled in Damascus, a major city on the Silk Road. The 'Franco' Sephardic community maintained a distinct identity from the indigenous Arabic-speaking Jews. Using available historic and genealogical sources, including records new to us, David tells the remarkable story of his family, who were prominent in the Damascene Jewish community. Upheavals in the Ottoman Empire and the opening of the Suez Canal led to a decline in the community, with migrations to Egypt, England, the United States and elsewhere.

Topic: From Glory to Dispersion - The Sephardic Lisbona family from Damascus

Time: Nov 16, 2020. 2pm NYC, 7pm London, 8pm Amsterdam/Paris, 9pm Jerusalem.

Sephardic World meetings are free of charge. you can join the mailing list at:

Best wishes,

David Mendoza and Ton Tielen, Sephardic World

Re: Jewish Geneology Society of Colorado presents: Finding Original Jewish Surnames and Towns: Our Ancestors Left Clues #events


This sounds interesting. Is it possible to give time in different zones. I'm in GMT and think that converted it is 5pm but not sure. Thank you.
Noreen (nee Thorne) England
Szczepmanski/a, Mrozowska - Poland

Re: Births records for Memel (Klaipėda)from September 1874? #lithuania #records

Joyaa Antares

On Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 08:56 AM, <devicesofwonder@...> wrote:
I want to find a birth record for an ancestor who was born in Memel (Klaipėda) on 1 September 1874.

I located an 1873 birth record for Klaipeda for a family member on ancestry.  It's worth searching there. - and good luck!

Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Researching ZAUSMER, ZOUSMER, CHOUSMER, CHAUSMER, MARCUS, DAVIDOFF, COHEN, KAHN in Polangen, Kretinga, Darbenai, Libau, Riga, Memel

A Journey Through the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter #galicia #hungary #poland #ukraine

Jan Meisels Allen



This is not a new publication, my apologies if this was posted about several years ago.

A Journey Through the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter debuted in Canada at the Jewish Ukrainian festival in 2018.


While it’s about Ukraine, it also covers parts of Galicia, Hungarian Kingdom and the Partitions of Poland (1772–95).

You can access the 168-page document with illustrations at:

Just click on the photo when the URL opens.


Thank you to Andrea Massion, JGSCV Board member for sharing this with us.


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee




Large LEVY family (Simon and Lena arrived NYC ca. 1890) #usa #general

Jay L Gordon


I am looking for anyone who is researching a LEVY family headed by parents Simon and Lena. They both appear to have arrived in New York around 1890 and may have married in the USA.

As of the 1900 Federal Census, they had six children living who were born in the USA. The sixth of these was Rachel/Rose, my grandfather's stepmother, born in 1899.

Other children include: Mary, Benjamin, David, Henry, Esther, Yetta/Sophie, Julius, Morris, Louis, and Jack. There may have been more. I am reasonably sure I'm not conflating two or more families here-- these names come up consistently in the 1905 and 1925 NY census, as well as the 1910, 1920, and 1940 Federal census (no luck yet with 1930).

I'd especially like to find out more about Simon and Lena. I didn't have much luck on the databases here.

Thank you.

Jay Gordon

Jewish Geneology Society of Colorado presents: Finding Original Jewish Surnames and Towns: Our Ancestors Left Clues #events

Ellen Beller

Sunday, November 15th
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Mountain time
Speaker Debbie Schwartz

Successful Jewish Genealogy hinges on two essential facts:  what are the Ancestral surnames and towns (Shtetls) for each branch in your family.  Once you have these, you can attend hundreds of other genealogy sessions online or elsewhere to build your past.  But what if you dont know one or both of those facts?  What do you do?  Where do you start?  Is it even possible to re-capture that crucial information if you know neither?  Using many examples and strategies, I will walk you through each showing examples of how original names and towns can be confirmed many decades after they were forgotten or obscured. 

Debbie Schwartz is past president and programming VP for JGSCO.  Her career in Rights Licensing for an educational publisher required her to find creative ways to locate people that didn't always want to be found.  That experience helped her discover creative ways to find and confirm original ancestral last names and towns using clues left by our ancestors.  She launched a company (oriGen) in 2018 to accomplish similar results for others.  Debbie will share practical and focused ways to find and verify original family names and locations in step-by-step presentations.
Ellen Beller

How to locate post war documents from Wloclawek court #poland

Relly coleman

After the war survivors applied to confirm the death of a relative (child, wife, parents, siblings).  I am looking for these records from Wloclawek, I could not  find in the Wloclawek online archive.  Could it be in the Wloclawek Court?  Another municipal office?   Does anyone have suggested sources/links?

The names I am looking for are:  FELD from Dobrzyn nad Wisla
Survivors who filed the request: IZRAEL FELD, MAJER FELD
Associated names in documents: Malka Feld, Gerszyn Feld, and others.

Relly Coleman

Re: Identify military uniform and medals #photographs #general #germany

Fig, Lorraine

Many thanks for your replies.  Great appreciated.  A few follow up questions (sorry but I know nothing about this subject):
1.  Are there uniform details that would help to identify German vs. Prussian?  Any regimental details, etc?
2.  Does the lower medal explain more about why the Iron Cross was awarded, or are the 2 medals totally separate (awarded for separate conduct)?
3.  Are there any lists of WWI awardees that would help to identify the subject?
Thank you!

Lorraine Fig Shapiro
Ann Arbor, MI

Researching: SLADOWSKY (Suwalki and East Prussia), LUDWINOWSKI (Suwalki and East Prussia), FIG (Lithuania), CHAPMAN (UK)

Re: Rothenberg family tree #general


I have a Rotenberg/Rottenberg/Rosenberg great-grandmother (the official documentation that I have uses all three versions) that came from Zohatin, Galicia and moved to Budapest in the mid to late 1800s.  What are the chances that the name was just picked at random (perhaps because of one of these famous Rothenberg Rabbis) when Austrian Jews were forced to acquire surnames?

Tom Beer
Melbourne, Australia

Re: ViewMate translation request - Russian #translation



In Rusian:




Состоялось в городе Пултуск 22-го января (4 февраля) 1902-го года в 2 часа дня.  Явился равин Пултуского религиозного округа Абрам Бегам и в присутствии свидетелей Боруха Розенблюма, торговца, 71 года и Шии-Лейбы Гольдмахера, учителя 38-и лет, оба жители города Пултуск, и объявили, что 16 (29) января, в 11 часов ночи, был заключен религиозный брачный союз между присудствующими Ароном Домбом, холостым, 28-и лет, торговцем, сыном живущих Зельмана и Гитли, урожденной Мендлевны (возможно), супругов Домб, проживающем при родителях в деревне Домбрувка (не ясно), Маковского религиозного округа, с Эстер-Рохл Млявской, девицей, 22 лет, дочерью живущих Берки и Маргулы, урожденной Мильштейн, супругов Млявских, проживающей в деревне Грохи-стары (не ясно) Козлово, Пултуского религиозного округа с родителями.  Браку этому предшествовали троекратное оглашение опубликованные в Маковской синагоге 15, 22, 29 декабря 1901 года и в Пултуской синагоге 8, 15 и 22 декабря 1901 года, как об этом удостоверяют приложенные свидетельства.  Новобрачные объявили, что брачный контракт заключен не был.  По прочтении присутствующим, акт нами и равином подписан, кроме неграмотных новобрачных. 


Подпись  Подпись  Подпись  Подпись


Translated into English:






It took place in the city of Pultusk on January 22 (February 4) 1902 at 2 pm. The rabbi of the Pultu religious district Abram Begam appeared and in the presence of witnesses Borukh Rosenblum, a merchant, 71 years old, and Shya-Leiba Goldmakher, a 38-year-old teacher, both residents of the city of Pultusk, and announced that on January 16 (29), at 11 am, A religious marriage union was concluded between the present Aron Domb, single, 28 years old, a merchant, the son of living Zelman and Gitlya, nee Mendlevna (possibly), the spouses of Domb, living with their parents in the village of Dombruvka (not clear), Makovsky religious district, with Esther-Rokhl Mlyavsky, a damsel, 22 years old, the daughter of living Berka and Margulya, née Milstein, the Mlyavsky spouses, living in the village of Grokhi-stary (not clear) Kozlovo, Pultu religious district with her parents. This marriage was preceded by a three-fold announcement published in the Makovsky synagogue on December 15, 22, 29, 1901 and in the Pultusk synagogue on December 8, 15 and 22, 1901, as evidenced by the attached certificates. The newlyweds announced that the marriage contract had not been concluded. Upon reading by those present, the act was signed by us and the rabbi, except for illiterate newlyweds.




Signature Signature Signature Signature
Translated by Michael Ryabinky
Boynton Beach

SACKS FAMILY OF SVEKSNA #lithuania #southafrica


I am researching  the SACKS family that lived in Svenska, La.
My great grandfather's name was Shmuel and my grandfather was Leon (1882-1941).
Leon emigrated to South Africa in 1888/89 from Sveksna.
I am looking for any connections to this family.
Thank you,
Alan Sacks

Mount Jacob Cemetery PA photo request - Philip Rothback gravestone #usa


If someone is willing to volunteer, I would like to request a photograph of the gravestone for Philip Rothback at Mount Jacob Cemetery in Glenolden, PA. I called the cemetery office, and was told that the grave is in Section O.
Thank you,
Ben Zitomer

Re: ViewMate translation request - Russian #translation


This is a birth certificate, not a death certificate.

 In Russian:




Состоялось в городе Пултуск 24 мая (4 июня) 1899 года в 9 часов утра.  Явился лично житель города Пултуск, Меер Домб, 43 лет, домовладелец,  и в присутствии свидетелей: Шии-Лейбы Голдмахера, учителя, 35-и лет и Боруха Розенблюма, торговца, 68-и лет, жителей города Пултуск и преявили нам мальчика, объявляя что он родился в городе Пултуск 17 (29)  мая сего года  в 12 часов дня, от его жены Суры, урожденной Зискинд, 33 лет.  Мальчику этому при обрезании было дано имя Хаим-Берек.  Акт сей объявляющему и свидетелям прочитан и ими и нами подписан.  Отец младенца неграмотен.

Л. Голдмахер

Борух Розенблюм

Чиновник гражданского состояния, президент города Пултуска        Подпись

Translated into English:

# 55




It took place in the city of Pultusk on May 24 (June 4), 1899 at 9 am. A resident of the city of Pultusk, Meer Domb, 43 years old, a homeowner, personally appeared, and in the presence of witnesses: Shya-Leiba Goldmacher, a teacher, 35 years old, and Borukh Rosenblum, a merchant, 68 years old, residents of the city of Pultusk, and showed us a boy, announcing that he was born in the city of Pultusk on May 17 (29) of this year at 12 noon, from his wife Sura, nee Ziskind, 33 years old. When circumcised, this boy was given the name Chaim-Berek. This act was read to the announcer and to the witnesses, and they and us signed. The baby's father is illiterate.

L. Goldmacher

Boruch Rosenblum

Civil Status Official, President of Pultusk City Signature

Translated by Michael Ryabinky
Boynton Beach

Mark of the Mediterranean #sephardic

Nina Tobias

Hello, fellow searchers!

Some of the members of a Sephardic family I know have identical birthmarks. At the very base of the spine, they each have a darker patch of skin shaped like a downward triangle. They call this "the mark of the Mediterranean" and say that it is common among Sephardic Jews. 

Has anyone else ever heard a similar story?

With thanks,
Nina Tobias
Scottsdale, Arizona

Researching: HOROWITZ (Iasi, Romania; Odessa)
                      SWARTZ (Iasi, Romania; Philadelphia; Chicago)
                      TOBIAS (Rymanow, Galicia; Chicago)
,                     VOROBYEV, GOLDMAN, VERB (Russia; Chicago)

Rovno 1851 Revision List Translation #ukraine

David R. Brill

For those with ancestry in Rovno (Rivne, Ukraine), good news! I completed translating the 1851 (9th) revision list for the town of Rovno. This record set consists of 4,581 individual records covering 608 families of the "townspeople" (meshchanin) class. The full list should be up and searchable on the JewishGen Ukraine database soon. (Currently, only the first 1,071 records - less than a quarter of the whole thing - have been uploaded.) For now, you can view the full list by going to the the Tuchin (Ukraine) KehilaLinks web page:

Scroll down to the link under “Jewish Records Translation Project.”


David R. Brill

Cherry Hill, NJ USA

Re: Reclaim The Records is going after EVERY SINGLE DIGITIZED RECORD at the New York City Municipal Archives, to put them all online, for free public use #usa #records


Jonathan O'Donnell wrote:
"This is so great! Will the lawsuit against the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also seek to recover the New York City death index books through 1986 that were confiscated from the New York Public Library in the dead of night?"
Short answer: yes, but we want more than the books, and it would be handled in a separate lawsuit, and not right now, but in the near-ish future. ;-)
Longer answer: The New York City death index books that were on the shelves at the New York Public Library went up through about 1982, I think. They were, just as you say, pulled off the shelves in the dead of night, and without a public comment period, a few years ago. See below for what they looked like before they got pulled:
example of NYC death index 1981.jpg
Without these books available, the main public copy of the New York City death index is a set of old microfilms (originally created by the NYC DOH) that go only up through 1965, not through 1982, and certainly not through 2020. FamilySearch has a copy of the films, but you have to be actually onsite at one of their Family History Library locations (or using their WiFi from the parking lot) to see them, and cannot see them from home.
Those old FamilySearch films were then digitized a few years ago (without permission, presumably) by a small commercial company called (not to be confused with Vitalchek, which is the Lexis-Nexis owned company for ordering paper certificates). Vitalsearch then watermarked all the images, cut a deal with, sold them the images, and then Ancestry transcribed them all and made a database. By that time, the images were like fourth generation removed from the originals and hard to read, and so the transcriptions are not always quite right, especially the certificate numbers.
So now we finally have a mediocre text-searchable death index for New York City -- but only on a paywalled commercial website and only up through 1965, fifty-five years ago. Not okay.
(Also, Vitalsearch slapped a copyright notice in red on every single image, along with their watermarks, and just so we're all clear, that is not actually a thing. Personally, I always find it hilarious when a shady company run through a semi-anonymous Nevada LLC decides to profit off taxpayer-funded public data by simply declaring that they own it all in a way that has no actual legal backing beyond Photoshop skills and chutzpah, but maybe that's just me.)
Right after the books were pulled at the NYPL, I had two phone conversations about the situation with the then-head of the New York State Committee on Open Government (COOG). COOG is a group of attorneys in Albany, funded by the state legislature, who basically get paid to give free legal advice to both the public and to state agencies who are trying to work with the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). In both of our conversations, COOG's executive director was absolutely livid at both the city for "retroactively classifying" the death index and at the NYPL and their librarians too, for allowing a government agency to come take their books instead of standing up to them. He pointed us to a number of previous Advisory Opinions that are online at COOG that we could use if we intended to go after the books legally.
So originally, we at Reclaim The Records thought great, that means we have a good shot at getting the books back! They were already created by a public agency, with public funding, and were known to be available to the public for decades. You can't retroactively make a purposely-public document not-public. "No backsies!" as the kids say. Seemed straightforward enough.
But then we realized that waitaminute, the city has all that death index data in a database, which they used to print the books in the first place. Why should we go after old paper books just to go laboriously scan them and then transcribe them or OCR them, when we can go right to the source material, the underlying database? And then we heard through the grapevine that as late as 2008, the DOH was allowing genealogists to go into their office and see the modern day death index (and the birth index, too!) on printed paper lists... And if they already made it publicly available, then...No backsies!
So, to sum up: we are definitely planning on going after the New York City birth index and death index as one of our projects in the future, but most likely not the old books -- instead, we want the entire database, in CSV or SQL or whatever format they keep it in, and we want the data up through as recently as possible. Because of rule changes at the NYC DOH we might have to limit the end date of the data request to 2008, or maybe not -- we'll have to see if we think we can make a good legal case to push that up to the present day. But having the data even through 2008 would still be a big step up from where we are now, and also would be in a native digital format.
Relevant to the news: we also know that the NYC DOH gives copies of the up-to-date death index to the NYC Board of Elections on a regular basis, to make sure that recently-dead voters are struck from the rolls. We're wondering if we can try fighting for the data once it enters the BoE instead of fighting the DOH itself... And we know there are a couple of other places where the city freely shares the data with other organizations, not all of them in the government, and those might be good entry points, too.
In any case, this fight will take a separate FOIL request, and it will very likely wind up turning into a lawsuit. And I think we would want to wrap up some of our other pending work before tackling it; we are already juggling a lot of balls (that is, lawsuits and potential lawsuits) right now. But it is definitely on our "to-do" list.
- Brooke Schreier Ganz
President and Founder, Reclaim The Records
Mill Valley, California

Re: Surname Alhadeff from Greece #names


I know of Aljadef (this is how they write it there) in Uruguay, even in my family tree, but they are probably from Turkey.

Best success,
Vivian Cohen

Re: Privacy and Baptism Concerns #general


On Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 5:34 AM Jack de Lowe <delowe@...> wrote:
> RE:
> Regarding the concerns expressed by Bill Katz (see the above link) about of the LDS Church and their pernicious interest in Jews (especially dead Jews), this is a very long story of broken promises by the Mormons (see: The LDS Church collects every record they can find on Jewish genealogy from around the world and they make this information available to all without charge and encourage people to add information to the Jewish family trees they have.

To be more accurate, the LDS church collects every record it can find on **everyone** for all genealogy from around the world and makes that information available to all without charge.  It also encourages people to add information to **all** the family trees it has.

> Ernest Michel was my cousin, an Auschwitz survivor, the former professional director of the Jewish Federation of Manhattan (the largest Federation in the United States) and the founder and head of the Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. While working on his own family tree, he discovered that the Mormon Church had posthumously converted his own parents who were both murdered during the Shoah. He met on more than one occasion with the then head of the LDS Church and received very explicit promises to not only cease this practice, but to also correct any and all such changes that the LDS Church had done. The LDS Church did not follow through on any of these promises and to this day, continue with this disgusting practice. They have never made clear why they do this, but they seem to have an abnormal interest in Jews and one can only speculate where this interest has led them.

It is very clear why the LDS church encourages its member to perform posthumous baptisms (which as far as I can tell based on my research do not actually convert someone, but that is a separate issue).  **It's part of the religion.**  There is **nothing** we can say or do that is going to change that.  Church members firmly believe posthumous baptism is a necessary practice to allow the possibility that anyone's soul (not just those of Jews) can be allowed into their belief of Heaven.  Trying to get anyone to change his belief in religion, or in a specific practice of his religion, is fruitless.

> I would urge all Jewish genealogists to refrain from accessing all websites associated with the LDS Church and to not provide them with any information on your family trees.

Keep in mind that if you refrain from accessing all sites associated with the LDS church, you are cutting yourself off from the extremely valuable and free resource of

If you are concerned about posthumous baptisms performed on your family members, then certainly, don't provide the church with information from your family tree.  You can use FamilySearch forever and not add family members to FamilyTree.  But also don't put that information **anywhere else online**, including Ancestry, MyHeritage, Geni, and your own personal site, because information is harvested from any and all sources relating to genealogy, wherever people find information.

My personal opinion, which I repeat to anyone when this issue arises (again and again) and even incorporate into the genealogy classes I teach, is if you don't believe in the practice, then it has no meaning in your life.  Let it go.  Church members will not stop performing posthumous baptisms, period.

Are you offended if someone says "God bless you" or wishes you a merry Christmas?  That is the category in which I place posthumous baptism.

Janice M. Sellers
Ancestral Discoveries
Gresham, Oregon

Everything turns out all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end.

Re: Surname Alhadeff from Greece #names


There are a lot of ALHADEFFs in Seattle - originally from Rhodes, as are many of the early Jewish families in Seattle. Many businesses, the Sephardic temple, cultural contributions, pillars of the famous Pike Place Market. See There is also a well-known photographer, Marc Alhadeff based in Brussels.
Jeff Goldner
Researching Goldner, Singer, Neuman, Braun, Schwartz, Gluck, Reichfeld (Hungary/Slovakia); Adler, Roth, Ader (Galicia); Soltz/Shultz/Zuckerman/Zicherman (Vitebsk, maybe Lithuania)

Need Look-Up on #usa #records


Hi Cousins,

I would appreciate it if someone who has a subscription to could do a look-up for me and send me a .jpg or
screenshot. If you can help me out, please email me privately at

I'll then provide you the details.

Thank you so much!
Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida

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