Jewish Matzeva (Tombstone) Stonemasons? #slovakia

Madeleine Isenberg

Hi Everyone,

Over the years that I have been reading the engraved inscriptions on matzevot, I discovered that some stonemasons "signed" their works or maybe it was a form of advertising since it sometimes had an associated town where they had their workshops, or both.  I'm trying to focus on a time period of roughly 1800-World War II, and anywhere in the world.  (We know that in contemporary times, once someone provides the format of the lettering, anyone with the current power tools and templates, could do the work.)

I have quite a list of such craftsmen, mostly in Slovakia, but some in nearby countries (Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Poland), from where people preferred to "import" their matzevot.

Unfortunately, I have not had much success if locating descendants of such craftsmen, or if I did, these descendants have no information about how such a mason gained his training, how well they supported their families.  I jokingly say, I have yet to find someone who wrote, "Memoirs of a Jewish Stonemason."

Here are a few questions and I will probably have more:

  1. Was such a monumental stonemason apprenticed to a guild? 
  2. Were Jews permitted to join such guilds?
    1. If so, when were they allowed to join?
  3. What additional Jewish knowledge did they need to ensure that inscriptions were grammatically correct?
  4. Did people by-pass a rabbinic authority and go directly to the stonemason?
    1. Some places might have had a Chevra Kadisha who approved of the proposed content and did they check the final product?
  5. What imagery did they use and what did they avoid?  (Some Sephardic stones had imagery not as constrained as Ashkenazi).  

Despite trying to research online and read many articles, it has been very difficult to pinpoint any useful details.

So, anyone out there -- any suggestions?
Madeleine Isenberg
Beverly Hills, CA
Researching: GOLDMAN, STEINER, LANGER, GLUECKSMAN, STOTTER in various parts of Galicia, Poland
(Nowy Targ, Nowy Sanz, Wachsmund, Dembno, Lapuszna, Krakow, Ochotnica) who migrated into Kezmarok or
nearby towns in northern Slovakia and Czech Republic (i.e., those who lived/had businesses in Moravska Ostrava);
GOLDSTEIN in Sena or Szina, Szkaros and Kosice, Slovakia; Tolcsva and Tokaj, Hungary.

Jewish Genealogical Society New York December 20 Meeting #announcements #jgs-iajgs

Phyllis Rosner

Jewish Genealogical Society NY Meeting
Sunday December 20, 2020 at 2 p.m.
Zoom Webinar

From Lithuania to Brooklyn: Preserving a Family Collection & History    

Speaker: Diana Korzenik

Brooklyn native Dr. Diana Korzenik first conceived of her book, Lithuania to Brooklyn, The Rabbi Daniel and Minnie Shapiro Family, as a way to preserve and document her collection of her maternal grandparents’ family objects now in New York’s Yeshiva University Museum. In that process she uncovered facts about the treasures  and the pains  of her grandparents' and parents’ lives, revelations that signal a departure from her family’s years of silence about the Old World, so familiar to many immigrant families.

Dr. Korzenik will first detail the process she followed in learning how to preserve her family collection. Then she will describe surprises in the stages of her construction of the family narrative. She begins with the family in Lithuania, fleshing out her grandfather’s Lithuanian rabbinic education, then turns toward rabbis’ debates about pros and cons of leaving, and challenges of getting to America. Once on New York’s Lower East Side and then in early 20th-century Brooklyn, both Rabbi and Rebbetzin Shapiro significantly contribute to Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish education and social services amidst the diverse pressures of Americanization.

Bonni-Dara Michaels, Collections Curator, Yeshiva University Museum, will speak briefly about the Museum’s acquisition policy and Dr. Korzenik’s donation of the Shapiro Family Collection.

Dr. Diana Korzenik, a writer and artist with paintings in museums as well as private collections, is professor emerita at Massachusetts College of Art. Her two prize-winning books, Drawn to Art: A Nineteenth-Century American Dream (1985) and Objects of American Art Education: Highlights from the Diana Korzenik Collection (2004), were based on collections she amassed for research, collections now, respectively, at the American Antiquarian Society and the Huntington Library. In addition to the Shapiro Family Collection, she created three additional research collections now held at the New England Historical Genealogical Society and two other institutions.

All are welcome; attendance is free, but registration is required:

Submitted by:
Phyllis Rosner
JGSNY VP Communications
New York, NY

Maryland cemetery search #usa

Trudy Barch

Hi everyone,


I have a father, Yehuda Barch that died in 2002 in Maryland and his son Russell Barch that died in 1996 in Maryland.   I do not know where they are buried therefore having a difficult time locating the cemetery name.   There are many cemeteries in that state that I don’t know where to start.   All suggestions where I should begin my search would be appreciated.


Thank you,   Trudy Barch,  FLorida

Rabbi Jacob DOLGINOS- N.Y.C. early 20th cent. #rabbinic #usa

Yonatan Ben-Ari

I have a picture of my late father-in-law, Rabbi Moshe (Morris) JERUSHALMY
with a scribble stating the name Rabbi Dolginos. I understand that
there was a Rabbi Jacob DOLGINOS who served during the early part of
the 20th cent. in NYC and I would like to identify the people in the

If there are relatives of Rabbi Dolginos on this forum please contact me.


Yoni Ben-Ari, Jerusalem

SALMENSON/SCHNEERSON, BERSE Piet Retief #southafrica


My grandfather Israel Herman Salmenson born 1877 in Kaunas apparently changed his name from Schneerson on arrival. Although I have documentation of his South African life (nationalization, marriage & death) I am unable to to confirm his name was Schneerson and cannot find any information prior to arriving in SA. In 1909 he married Jeanie (Shaina) Berse born in Rokiskis 1881.
Herman Salmenson

Help in figuring out a name #names


On Line 8 Column 11, I cannot figure out the name of Levy Teitler's brother.  It looks like Prechel, but that does not seem to be a Yiddish or Hebrew name?  Any thoughts?
Martin Kaplan

Searching OGONTZ-OGINZ, Massachusetts, USA #usa

Scooby Doo

Dear Fellow Genners,

Never underestimate the value of Newspapers in helping with your "Brick Walls".
I have been searching various branches of my Welsh Jewish Family that settled in the USA in the mid 1880's
I have managed to track down the descendants of 5 siblings, but couldn't get any further with one of the siblings, who appears as Inder|Inde|Hinda in various documents.
When I asked a granddaughter of one of Inder's siblings if she knew of any of her grandmother's siblings, she said she didn't know any of them but when I mentioned the name, Hinda/Inder, she said that name did sound familiar, but that's all she could tell me.
This week I found an online newspaper Obituary for one of the siblings, Harry Bertell ( Born Henry Bertelesteine) (Most family members went by Bertlestein/Bertelstein), who died on 31 October 1967 in Kenneth City, Florioda.
The Obituary mentions he was originally from Massachusetts.
It also mentions a sister named Indie Ogontz of Boston as a surviving member of his family.
So I finally found her married surname.
I used online directories and discovered that she was married to a David Ogontz and they lived in Boston, MA.
I found a death date online for Indie|Inde: 5 November 1972, Boston, MA. (She was born on 3 September 1893, Hyde Park, MA, USA)
I have found online records for a David Jacob Ogontz, who was married to a Rebecca and they had a few kids. They also appeared to have lived in Massachusetts at some stage as well
I don't know whether this is the same David Ogontz who married my relative or not.
Indie/Inde could well have been a second wife, but dates and timings of certain records appear to discount this.
On David Jacob Ogontz's WWII Draft Card- he notes the person who will always know his address as Isaac OGINZ of cambridge, MA.
This strongly suggests that Ogontz & Oginz are variations of the same surname and that David & Isaac were somehow related.
I have found no marriage details for Indie & David , no death certificate for either of them nor have I found any references as to where they might have been buried/cremated?
I have also found no references to any kids they might have had, but I have a feeling they didn't have any kids.
I would be most grateful if anyone can add any further information about this couple: where they might be buried, if they had any kids or  even knowledge of any extended family who might be able to help me further.
Happy Chanukah
Dr Joel Levy, London UK.

Re: Mandselshteyn - Starokonstantinov #ukraine #names #records


From Starokonstantinov 1834, 1850, 1858 censuses

1834 DAZhO 118-14-268
ID * Name * Relationship * Previous age * Current Age
764 * Mandelshteyn Khaim s.o. Itsko * head * 39 * 1825
764 * Mandelshteyn Leya * wife * - * 40
764 * Mandelshteyn Itsek * son * 15 * 33
764 * Mandelshteyn Khaya * Itsek's wife * - 30
764 * Mandelshteyn Malya * daughter * - * 12
764 * Mandelshteyn Avrum * son * - * 16
764 * Mandelshteyn Ester-Deyra [2 middle characters are unclear, but probably should be Dvoyra] * Avrum's wife * - * 16
764 * Mandelshteyn Mikhel * son * - * 14
764 * Mandelshteyn Moyshe * son * - * ? [possibly 8]
764 * Mandelshteyn Zus * son * 10 [in 1816] * died in 1827
764 * Mandelshteyn Barukh * son * 2.5 * died in 1824
1850 DAZhO 118-14-276
ID * Name * Relationship * Previous age * Current Age
323 * Mandelshteyn Itsko s.o. Khaim * head * 33 * 49
323 * Mandelshteyn Khaya * wife * - * 46
323 * Mandelshteyn Abramko * brother * 16 * 32
323 * Mandelshteyn Basya * SIL (Abramko's wife) * - * 25
323 * Mandelshteyn Itsko * nephew (Abram's son) * - * 14
323 * Mandelshteyn Khaya * niece (Abram's daughter) * - * 1/2
323 * Mandelshteyn Moshko * brother * 8 * sent to military in 1839
323 * Mandelshteyn Mikhel * brother * 14 * currently not present
323 * Mandelshteyn Ester * SIL (Mikhel's wife) * - * 30
323 * Mandelshteyn Srul * nephew (Mikhel's son) * - * currently not present
763 * Mandelshteyn Mikhel * - * 14 * 27
763 * Mandelshteyn Srul * son * - * 7
Itsko is also mentioned on the errata page with the note saying that instead of indicating his age as 4, they wrote 14.
1858 DAZhO 118-14-293
ID * Name * Relationship * Previous age * Current Age
498 * Mandelshteyn Itsko s.o. Khaim * head * 49 * died in 1852
498 * Mandelshteyn Abramko * brother * 32 * 40
498 * Mandelshteyn Basya * SIL * - * 33
498 * Mandelshteyn Itsko * nephew (son of Abramko) * 4 * 12
498 * Mandelshteyn Khaya * niece * - * 8.5
498 * Mandelshteyn Reyzya * niece * - * 4
498 * Mandelshteyn Khantsya * niece * - * 3
498 * Mandelshteyn Khasya * niece * - * 1
914 * Mandelshteyn Mekhel s.o. Khaim * head * 30 * 38
914 * Mandelshteyn Ester * wife * - 38
914 * Mandelshteyn Srul * son * 7 * 15

Mike Vayser

Memories of Migration: Between Personal and Collective Experience - Webinar, Sunday, December 27, 11:00 AM EST #announcements #events #education

N. Kotz

Join the AFHU and the Jewish Geneology Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW) for Memories of Migration: Between Personal and Collective Experience on Sunday, December 27 at 11:00 AM EST.

The large-scale migration of Jews across continents and oceans is one of the most characteristic features of the modern Jewish narrative. What do we now know about the reasons and the circumstances that guided millions of Jewish migrants around the globe? What has been the role of the United States, its Jewish community, and other countries around the world in these migrations?

Please join American Friends of the Hebrew University for a presentation and Q & A by Stephen S. Wise Professor of American Jewish History and Institutions at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and chair of the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Eli Lederhendler.

Registration is required. Visit for more information and to register.

Nancy Kotz
VP for Communicaitons, JGSGW

Re: tens of thousands members "family trees" in Ancestry #announcements #general #education


I have found about a dozen of these for my own extended  family on Ancestry.  They are called Family Groups. 

From Google:
Definition A family group record is created to show at least the names of the husband, wife, and children of a family. Most family group records also show birth, marriage, and death information, additional spouses (if any) of the parents, and children's spouses.

The family group records I have seen usually include the source of a particular piece of information.  You can see if the source is as good as the one you have. If it is better than yours you have gained something.  My experience is that the family group record has something like an immigration date taken from a census while I have the ship's manifest itself.  Rather than being disturbed, I offer to send the person a link to the document. 

David Rosen
Boston, MA

On 12/8/2020 10:44 AM, Teewinot wrote:
Hi Angel,

Have you come across "family trees" in Ancestry with tens of thousands
of members that are not a tree but what looks a collection of disjointed
small family trees? They seem to be related to DNA investigations. Any
idea why anybody would do this?
Yes, I have. They have my close family members, but have them married
to people who are not my family. And best of all, it says we're not
even a DNA match! I have no idea what that's all about, but I find it

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Re: tens of thousands members "family trees" in Ancestry #announcements #general #education


I have found a number of people on both ancestry and my heritage who have been raiding other family trees and adding them to their database. These people have been around before DNA testing and I can’t see the logic behind their collections and I think some of them are just obsessive collectors. I know a collector who has over 80,000 names and he told me he started researching his wife’s Jewish family and he enjoyed the research so much that he just kept adding names. Thanks to him I discovered a whole branch of my family, but at the same time I don’t think he was interested in correcting any mistakes in his collection.
Stephen Schmideg
Melbourne, Australia

Name changed in London before coming to US, searching for original name #names

Phil Goldfarb

I have a relative by the name of Barnett Mulmed who was born in Brest-Litovsk on July 17, 1879. He went to London and changed his name to Mulmed and arrived in the US on the SS New York on Feb. 25, 1906.

My question is: is there any on line site where I can find the record of his name change in London? I would imagine that this happened in late 1905 or early 1906 before he left. After several generations his original name is lost to the family.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Phil Goldfarb
Tulsa, OK

searching for a relative who had a business in Rivne in 1939 #holocaust #ukraine


I would appreciate suggestions on next steps in searching information about a relative (great uncle) who I believe likely died in the Shoah. The last name is BRONSZTEJN, first initial S. (I thought the name was Simon, but it may have been Srul). He was probably born in the 1870s, probably in Ostrog/Ostroh.
I have a copy of a business envelope postmarked 1939 for his business (glassware) under the name Bronsztejn, S., located at 8 Pocztowa (Post Office Street) in Rovno. Recently I found online a 1939 list of Jewish businesses in Rivno which included Srul Brojnsztejn at 8 Pocztowa, which made me wonder if his name was Srul, not Simon. 
From the USHMM, I found the name of Srul Brojnsztejn of Warsaw, not Rovno, on a list of Jewish survivors.
In 2004, I wrote to the Red Cross Holocaust victims tracing center seeking information about Simon Bronsztejn. They apparently corresponded with the archives in Rovno. The archives forwarded a letter in 2004 stating that “in the list of  Jewish population of Rovno as of January 15, 1942 the name of Simon (Shimon) Bronshtein could not be found.” It also said “in the book of Ukrainian Grief of Rovno Region, Rovno, of the year 2002, Khaya Bronshtein is listed as an owner of the building at 8 Post Office Street during the years of 1937-38. It is further stated that she was shot by the German fascist occupiers in November 1941.”
At Yad Vashem, there is a page of testimony regarding Chaya Brojnsztejn of Rovno, stating that she was killed in 1942 in Rovno. There also two other listings  for Khaya Bronshteyn of Rovno without documents attached, one of which refers to a list of persons evacuated to Uzbekistan and the other of which states presumably murdered in the Shoah.   
I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have regarding possible next steps and follow up, including the name of a researcher who could check property and other records in Rivne, if they exist. Or online sources I can check myself. 
Many thanks. 
Howard Brown
Stowe, VT
Researching BRONSZTEJN in Ostrog, Rivne and Warsaw, SHIKHMAN  in Makariv and Kiev, and SHVETS in Makariv.

Re: Help Needed Reading Nativity on Census #russia #records


If the word is actually Leuta, rather than Leoto, it could mean Lithuania.
--Yale Zussman

Searching for an experience genealogist for research in Ukraine 1800's #ukraine #belarus


Subject: Experience genealogist for research in Ukraine 1800's #ukraine #belarus
I am looking to find an experienced researcher that has experience in Ukraine and Belarus,
particularly pre 1910. Family roots in Dnieper (Ekaterinoslav, etc.) and Borisov, Belarus.
Please contact me;  Michael Benenson (Florida, USA) at mjbenenson@...

December 13 Meeting of the Minnesota Jewish Genealogical Society (MNJGS) #announcements #jgs-iajgs


MNJGS is pleased to present a panel discussion of the film The Flat on Sunday December 13, 2020 at 1:00 Central Time.
Summary: As the film maker cleans out the apartment that belonged to his grandparents, who immigrated from Nazi Germany, he uncovers clues pointing to a complicated and shocking story.
Panelists are Rodney Martel, documentary film maker, Bradley Prager, Professor Univ. of Missouri, Sheer Ganor, Visiting Professor Univ. of Minnesota. Details of the program can be found at under Events. 
Submitted by Walter S. Elias, Past President

Re: place in Teleneshty Yizkor book #yizkorbooks


My paternal  great-grandmother, Tsarna Bernstein, was born in Teleneshti.  My maternal grandmother, Chave Spiwak (changed from Glattstein) was born in Shukelten (sp). I was told that is now Cioceltani.

Gina Glazer

Re: tens of thousands members "family trees" in Ancestry #announcements #general #education


Hi Angel,

Have you come across "family trees" in Ancestry with tens of thousands
of members that are not a tree but what looks a collection of disjointed
small family trees? They seem to be related to DNA investigations. Any
idea why anybody would do this?
Yes, I have. They have my close family members, but have them married
to people who are not my family. And best of all, it says we're not
even a DNA match! I have no idea what that's all about, but I find it

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida

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Re: Help please with Jewish Family research in Turkey #names


Have you tried the site of the Israel National Library?  They have lots of material about communities around the world, including books in the library and documents in the archives.  

best success,
Vivian Silbermann

Re: Romanian Birth records #romania #records

Steve Stein

What was Maramaros before WW I, today is split between Romania and Ukraine. Be open to the possibility of either, depending on the town.

Steve Stein
Highland Park, NJ

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