FamilySearch Jewish records are topic of Nov. 22, 2020, JGS of Illinois webinar #jgs-iajgs

Martin Fischer

“Using FamilySearch for Jewish Research” is the topic of a webinar by expert genealogist W. Todd Knowles for the Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois virtual meeting. His live streaming presentation, which will begin at 2 p.m. Central Time, will be preceded at 1 p.m. CST by a genealogy question-and-answer discussion time.  

Attendees/viewers must register/RSVP in advance at After you register, you will be sent a link to join the meeting. This webinar will be recorded so that JGSI’s paid members who are unable to view it live will be able to view the recording later. 

For more information, see or phone 312-666-0100. 

The Family History Library has an extensive collection of Jewish records. Understanding what is there and how best to access it is vital to having a successful search, Todd says. The Jewish records in the collection of FamilySearch can best be obtained through the Family History Library Catalog. There are multiple ways to search the Family History Library catalog to find the records, and in this presentation, we will learn how best to do that.
W. Todd Knowles, AG, is a member of the staff at the Family History Library, where he has been for 22 years. He currently serves as deputy chief genealogical officer at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. After being introduced to family history at the age of 12, he soon discovered his Jewish roots. The journey to find these Polish Jews led to the creation of the Knowles Collection, six databases that as of Oct 1, 2020, contained the genealogical records of more than 1.4 million people.
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. 

JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 60 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations, the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database, monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more. 

Martin Fischer
Vice President-Publicity
Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

JGSI website:

Looking for siblings and parents of ENGEL Adolf b 1863 Szenicz d 1938 Vienna #austria-czech


Kia ora all,

I am looking for family of Adolf ENGEL who married Eugenie BISS b 1882 Vienna, d 1938 Vienna.  

Adolf's parents  were Markus ENGEL b abt 1830 Szenica (now Slovakia), d aft 1912 possibly Vienna, and Helen/Helena KRAUSS/KRAUSZ.

Any and all help very much appreciated.

My email is jonathanadlernz@...

Many thanks

MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately with family information

Re: Seeking genealogist for death records search in New Jersey #records

The Becker's Email

Re: Migration from Galicia to Vienna and Germany #austria-czech #germany #general

Judith Diamond

Are there immigration records to Berlin. My grandfather - Leo Lechner moved from Kolomyya about 1895.  I used Addressbooks to track him in Berlin.
Judith Diamond, London,UK
LECHNER Czernowitz, RATH  Kolomyya, HOLZER & HOROWITZ Krakow

Re: Meaning of surname “Moshchennik” #translation #names #lithuania #russia


Hi all

Having checked my pocket size 1960 edition of English/Russian, Russian/English dictionary,
мошенник means swindler.  So i agree that is the meaning of мошенник.

However, we have to look at this in the context of the timeline and documentation.  Russian was the official language to record matters such as birth marriage and death registrations.  I've seen many cyrillic records and very occasionally the cursive ' ш ' can look like the cursive ' ж ' (as in the 's' of  'usual').  On that basis the word wouldn't be мошенник but rather it would refer to someone of the Mosaic faith ie Moses which i take to mean Jewish.  

The registrations follow the same format: name of the informant in cyrillic, and in the case of 'Russian Poland' and possibly other areas within the Russian Tsarist Empire, followed by the name in brackets in Polish/latin characters, and lastly the occupation in cyrillic.  Very occasionally this reference to 'Mosaic' appears instead of the occupation.   

Malka Flekier
London, UK


Re: Help finding out the given name of my aunt's brother in Argentina #names #latinamerica #austria-czech

Michele Lock

On Sat, Nov 14, 2020 at 12:16 PM, Alberto Guido Chester wrote:
I found a site called, that lists more persons in Argentina with the surname Willig.

I believe I found a second cousin in Buenos Aires on the site. He has the name of my great grandfather, as well.
Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon in Zagare/Joniskis, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman and Zeligman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Minsk gub., Belarus

Volunteer cememtery project from home #records

A. E. Jordan

Looking for 1 or 2 or 3 volunteers for a cemetery project.
In my wonderings I photographed three plots all smaller. What I am proposing is someone to take a plot and transcribe the photos into the JewishGen template.
The photos are all digital so I can up load big files and send you the template. You need to be comfortable with Excel spreadsheets and photo files. If you can do the Hebrew that would be great too.
It is all from your home and should not be more than a few hours total and you can do it as fast or slow as you want.
One plot is105 photos; another is 166 and the third is 165. Some photos are duplicates, etc.
I would do it myself but I am still doing cemetery visits while the weather is good and my free time is limited by my current work schedule. With so many people stuck at home I thought someone might enjoy a little project.
Allan Jordan
New York

Re: How far back can one go? #general

Lee Jaffe

I'm intrigued by the underlying issues implied by this question.  For the most part, this revolves around what one considers valid evidence.  I know a couple of people (not Jews) who have extensive family trees going back hundreds of years – one more than a 1,000 years – where the only evidence are the trees themselves.  Someone, at some point some generations back, pulled together a family tree, which has since been handed down like a precious heirloom with all of the reverence accorded divine revelation.  I do think it is significant that someone managed to record this information early enough and that narrative was preserved to the current generation, but does this constitute the sort of evidence we hope for when tracing our family trees?  Perhaps there are supporting records or DNA evidence that corroborates the families' anecdotal narrative, but in neither case has external evidence been sought:  the families own records in themselves were considered sufficient.  Perhaps this speaks to the value one gives to a family tree.

I've mentioned in another thread that last winter Ancestry started prompting me with hints that lead to my paternal 3x great-grandmother ... and then linked her to a father and mother which lead to a vast branching tree that eventually reached back to the 12th C.  The records from the purported 4x ggm to ancestors born in Portugal, Amsterdam, Fez, Constantinople and even a British Norman baron were pretty rock-solid, but they came from a variety of sources, not all of them conventional.  For instance, one of the links was an Inquisition record, prompted by an indiscrete letter from the Constantinople branch to to family in Portugal, outlining the family's history.  Academic investigations into this family's history supported the Inquisition's version, revealing other historical evidence in support.  These include 16th and 17th C. Papal records, Dutch marriage records and gravestones which seem to be better preserved and more accessible than their 19th C. Polish counterparts.   If you can get back past a certain point in your family tree, the narrative may lead very far back indeed.

That is a very big IF... in my case, the link from my almost-certain 3x great-grandmother (born c. 1800) to her purported mother was uncertain at best.  The link appears to be based on a narrative in a doubtful text whose main theme is that most of the early modern Kabbalists and many rabbis were secret Catholics.  In one account the (otherwise unknown) daughter of a leading Kabbalist married the son of a famous rabbi (a marriage for which there is no supporting evidence) and one of their daughters was my 3x great-grandmother.  It's an enticing story because, if true, I can lay claim to 15 generations of family history.  Quite a few families accept this link and include those earlier generations in their trees.  I don't know if they know the background that supports that version or, like those families I mentioned earlier, for them the tree itself is the record. 

Lee Jaffe

Re: Seeking genealogist for death records search in New Jersey #records

Michele Lock

I've recently ordered death certificates from the NJ state archives, and there is an archivist there who has responded to my questions about what they have available now. I can give you her name and email address in a private message, if you'd like.

It took 10 weeks to get the first certificate, and about 5 weeks to get the second one. 

If you do find the name and date of death for the person you are looking for, the archive can provide death certificates up to 1930. Their website is not entirely clear about the date cutoff. 

Their online order form is also somewhat confusing. It doesn't allow you to attach a file, like a copy of the death index showing the person's name and date of death. But there is a text box where you can describe what you have, though with a ~200 word limit.

Naturally, the online form requires you to put in the names of the deceased's mother and father. However, it will accept 'Not Known', because it thinks this is a parent named Not Known. And Not Known is accepted for both the mother's and the father's names.

Hope this helps.

Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon in Zagare/Joniskis, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Minsk gub., Belarus
Leybman/Leapman/Lipman in Dotnuva, Lith.

Seeking information of my twin cousins during the Holocaust #holocaust #lodz #poland #photographs


My mother, Rosa Frenkel and her father, Avram Frenkel were on one of the last shipments to Aushwitz with her brother Mattes Leib.  This photo shows Mattes Leib with his wife, Rosa (Baltzer) Frenkel and their twins, Israel and Chaia, possible taken in the Lodz Ghetto.   Our family believes they may have been hidden with a Polish Gentile family in the Lodz area.

  Gayle Frankel Sokoloff

Re: Seeking genealogist for death records search in New Jersey #records

Sherri Bobish


You can also search for a death notice, or any other article, through old digitized newspapers at this free site, which does have some NJ newspapers:

You can search by name or by address.  I have found items using an address search, especially helpful if the person's exact name is in question.


Sherri Bobish

Re: How far back can one go? #general


For those whose families were from the Russian Empire -I have found that once you identify the place of legal registration in the Russian Empire you can make your way back through to the 1811 and 1816 Revision Lists without interruption. If a 1795 Revision List is available, it does not have surnames but it is an easy transition from the 1811/1816 or even the 1834 Revision List to the no-surname Revision Lists of 1795. You are using the earliest 19th century Revision Lists you can find, as "bridge records"  to the period before hereditary surnames were registered in 1805. Identifying a person old enough in the 19th century records, to have been well documented in 1795, lets you match them  by their given name, age, patronym, and other family members in the household to the same town's lists pre-surnames.  Those tracing family in today's Belarus and Lithuania, can continue back from the 1795 Revision which was compiled in Russian and Polish, to the 1784 Grand Duchy of Lithuania Poll tax which was created in Polish. And remember, the head of household  being listed in 1795 or 1784, was not born that year. Among the people named in Ostropol in Volhynia guberniya's 1816 and 1834 Revision Lists were people who had died since the previous Revision List. Among the living and the dead, there were a  number who had been born between 1730 and 1740. And all of those men were recorded in both Russian and Polish language records with their patronyms. Searching by whole community, makes the difference. Because  it gives you lots of data on  the way every person of that town will appear in a record in the pre-surname period. The 1795 Revision List of  the Jews Ostropol (one of the communities I study) and its surrounding villages, gives us two different groups who can be identified more or less clearly. Almost all of those living in Ostropol proper (the town itself) in 1795, can be fully identified with families still resident in the town in 1816. Around  half of those living in the surrounding villages have been identified also with folks later living in Ostropol proper. More details on the nineteenth century village residents would probably clear up some of the others. But allowing for the estimated ages of some of the fathers whose names are given only as patronyms, more than 50 of the families listed in both the Ostropol 1795  and 1834 Revision Lists, can be documented  back to ancestors born in the 1700/1710-1730s. 
Deborah Glassman, Historian of the Jewish Community of Ostropol
researching SOLOMON (from Chudnov); FRIEDMAN (from Ostropol and Lyubar); KLEINMAN (from Brailov); TUCKER   and LEVINSON (from Srednik); CHAIT (from Vilna city)

Re: Help finding out the given name of my aunt's brother in Argentina #names #latinamerica #austria-czech

Alberto Guido Chester

If you look at (white phone pages fo Argentina) you will find only 10 entries for the surname WILLIG (which seems to be your relatives surname)

Some of the names are duplicated (vacation homes probably).

I suggest you write by snail mail to these people, explianing the relation 

Writing is Spanish is highly recommended.

Some picture to show you are not a scam is suggested.

And suggest a follow up via mail.

People here are quite disenterested in ancestry... or is it everywhere ?


Guido Chester from Buenos Aires

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


Hi Lorraine

If your ancestors came from East Prussia or Berlin they were most probably in the Prussian army, so no service records survived.
The place mentionned in the "Lists o Losses" in most cases is the place of birth, but sometimes it is the place where he lived.
Sometimes there is also mentionned the date of birth (but often without the year).

You can only search in the service records of the Baden army and the Württemberg army if you know which unit (regiment and company) he belonged to.
The service records of the Baden army and the ones of the Württemberg army could be found on two different archives websites.

This is for the Baden army: Kriegsstammrollen 1914-1918, Kriegsformationen

This is for the Württemberg army: Militärische Bestände 1871 - ca 1920, Kriegsstammrollen

As far as I know for a Jewish man it was impossible to reach a rank as high as major, lieutenant colonel or full colonel. 
Also a man with such a high rank would have been awarded with much more than only two or three medals.


Corinne Iten

I looked at the Wurttemberg archive website and there was some information though I did not find a searchable database. 

Re: Help finding out the given name of my aunt's brother in Argentina #names #latinamerica #austria-czech

George Muenz

I hired a researcher in Argentina, not that expensive who helped me track down the families of my Uncles who had emigrated to Argentina from Hungary in the early 1930s. I had not even known they existed till 3 years ago, 

Andres Rodensteininfo
Av. Cabildo 66 - 1426
Buenos Aires - Argentina
Phone +5411 4978 3581
George (Naftali) Muenz
Vancouver, Canada

Help finding out the given name of my aunt's brother in Argentina -thank you #names

Aline Petzold

Hello all:

 To everyone who responded to my post, Thank You!  I found the information I was looking for and have also gotten many other tips that will help me further my research into other members of my family tree.  I am happy to have become a member of this group.

Best regards,
Aline Petzold
St. Paul MN

Re: Meaning of surname “Moshchennik” #translation #names #lithuania #russia

David Barrett

That is very interesting  - true it means a' swindler' 
The immediate thought that came to mind was " the son of Moses" [ Moshe]
In other words I suspect it is an old Russian anti-Semitic word for a Jew -- which I hope is not being used today in Russia

David Barrett

Translation help needed for 1820 death record #germany #translation


There is a 1820 death record from Binau that I am having trouble with, identifying who are the parents and who the spouse may be.
Any help would be appreciated.   This one is of particular interest because the deceased seems to have been born in the mid 1700s, potentially filling my tree far back.
Thanks very much.
Jeff Sugarman
Image attached and at Viewmate:

Advanced question on family name adoption lists in Baden #germany #records


For many years, I have used extensively the name adoption lists in Baden for my research.    A great resource for Baden researchers are the files created by Berthold Rosenthal available online at the Center for Jewish History.   The part of his collection containing the name adoption lists is here:

In these files, depending on the town there may be:
1.  Lists of names from enumerations before names were adopted towards the beginning of the 19th century.
2.  Lists of names of heads of households at the moment of the name adoption with the new family name:  e.g. Samuel Judel = Samuel Emmerich
3.  Lists of names of individuals with their new names,  including other family members.    These are the most rich in information and usually have the ages of all the individuals and frequently the birthdates as well.     As such, these files seem to represent the most easily accessible (online) resources for "census" type information and 18th century birthdates previous to the 19th century "Matrikel" files that are available online (from the Baden archives or Familysearch) and usually start around 1810.

Does anyone know about the original sources that Rosenthal used to create his lists and whether/how those sources can be accessed?

Thanks very much,
Jeff Sugarman

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

Jx. Gx.


The "two small holes" you mention between the first and second button on the uniform look like specks on the image, not holes. They did not wear name tags on their uniforms and I've never seen any medal/award posted in that position on a WWI German uniform.

Jeffrey Gee

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