JewishGen.org Discussion Group FAQs
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The JewishGen.org Discussion Group unites thousands of Jewish genealogical researchers worldwide as they research their family history, search for relatives, and share information, ideas, methods, tips, techniques, and resources. The JewishGen.org Discussion Group makes it easy, quick, and fun, to connect with others around the world.
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How is the New JewishGen.org Discussion Group better than the old one?
Our old Discussion List platform was woefully antiquated. Among its many challenges: it was not secure, it required messages to be sent in Plain Text, did not support accented characters or languages other than English, could not display links or images, and had archives that were not mobile-friendly.
This new platform that JewishGen is using is a scalable, and sustainable solution, and allows us to engage with JewishGen members throughout the world. It offers a simple and intuitive interface for both members and moderators, more powerful tools, and more secure archives (which are easily accessible on mobile devices, and which also block out personal email addresses to the public).
I am a JewishGen member, why do I have to create a separate account for the Discussion Group?
As we continue to modernize our platform, we are trying to ensure that everything meets contemporary security standards. In the future, we plan hope to have one single sign-in page.
I like how the current lists work. Will I still be able to send/receive emails of posts (and/or digests)?
Yes. In terms of functionality, the group will operate the same for people who like to participate with email. People can still send a message to an email address (in this case, main@groups.JewishGen.org), and receive a daily digest of postings, or individual emails. In addition, Members can also receive a daily summary of topics, and then choose which topics they would like to read about it. However, in addition to email, there is the additional functionality of being able to read/post messages utilizing our online forum (https://groups.jewishgen.org).
Does this new system require plain-text?
Can I post images, accented characters, different colors/font sizes, non-latin characters?
Can I categorize a message? For example, if my message is related to Polish, or Ukraine research, can I indicate as such?
Yes! Our new platform allows members to use “Hashtags.” Messages can then be sorted, and searched, based upon how they are categorized. Another advantage is that members can “mute” any conversations they are not interested in, by simply indicating they are not interested in a particular “hashtag.”
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Send your questions to: support@JewishGen.org
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Follow this link: https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main
So just to be sure - this new group will allow us to post from our mobile phones, includes images, accented characters, and non-latin characters, and does not require plain text?
Will there be any ads or annoying pop-ups?
Will the current guidelines change?
Yes. While posts will be moderated to ensure civility, and that there is nothing posted that is inappropriate (or completely unrelated to genealogy), we will be trying to create an online community of people who regulate themselves, much as they do (very successfully) on Jewish Genealogy Portal on Facebook.
What are the new guidelines?
There are just a few simple rules & guidelines to follow, which you can read here:https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main/guidelines
Thank you in advance for contributing to this amazing online community!
If you have any questions, or suggestions, please email support@JewishGen.org.
The JewishGen.org Team
Sylvia Fleck Abrams
Join the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland
Installation of Officers
followed by a Program
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
starting at 7:00 pm (ET)
"Finding Our Kaplans"
Mindie Kaplan will discuss techniques for researching common names that, because they are so common, create difficulties in determining whether there is a relationship to the family being researched. To illustrate the process, she will focus on how she was able to find a bit more on her Cleveland relatives in the presentation. She may also illustrate her techniques with an example from our membership.
This program is free and open to the public, but space is limited.
Priority will be given to members of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland.
Preregistration is required and must be requested by 12:00 Noon on January 13th.
To preregister, send an email message with your name, email address, and complete mailing address, by clicking here: rsvp@...
After you register, you will receive an email reply acknowledging receipt of your request. On January 12th, we will forward the meeting details, including a link and passcode to each registrant.
On the day of the meeting (January 13th), shortly before 7:00 pm, attendees should click on the link provided, follow the prompts and enter the passcode to join the meeting.
If you have any problems registering for the program, please contact:
We will be using the Zoom meeting platform, so you may watch, listen and participate from the comfort of your own home.
Sylvia F. Abrams
On behalf of the Program Committee
It seems that in a time that we are searching for optimism, I am very pleased to note that the Yizkor Book continued to grow and thrive during 2020 and the December achievements are a reflection of what took place, in general, over this past year. The Yizkor Book Project continues to be a hive of activity and some clear proof of this is the fact that in December, we saw the completion of no less than three translation projects:
Ozerna, Ukraine (Memorial book of Jezierna) [Hebrew]
This time, we have the combined effort of Suri Edell-Greenberg and Talila Charap-Friedman, who after arranging the complete English translation of the Ozerna book turned their attention to preparing a complete Hebrew online version of this book. In doing so, Hebrew speakers who previously were unable to read the Yiddish sections, can now read them in their own language. Their dedication and persistence in seeing both of these projects to their successful completion is worthy of note.
Just to note, during 2020, there were 20 projects completed and as we are also aiming for higher I do hope that 2021 will see the completion of even greater numbers. I do know that there are quite a few projects with coordinators who very actively involved in leading the projects forward and am quite sure we’ll continue to see projects completed on a regular basis.
Yizkor Book updates
· Bessarabia (he Jews in Bessarabia; between the world wars 1914-1940, volume I)
· Biłgoraj, Poland (Destruction of Bilgoraj)
· Ciechanowiec, Poland (Ciechanoviec-Bialystok District; Memorial and Records)
· Dzyatlava, Belarus (A memorial to the Jewish community of Zhetel)
· Hrubieszow, Poland (Memorial Book of Hrubieshov)
· Jaroslaw, Poland (Jaroslaw Book: a Memorial to Our Town)
· Kamyanyets, Belarus (Memorial Book of Kamenets Litovsk, Zastavye, and Colonies)
· Kutno, Poland (Kutno and Surroundings Book)
· Lviv, Ukraine (The Encyclopaedia of the Jewish Diaspora, Poland Series: Lwow Volume)
· Makow Mazowiecki, Poland (Memorial book of the community of Maków-Mazowiecki)
· Nasielsk, Poland (Nashelsk: a name, a city, a people eternal!)
· Nyasvizh, Belarus (The Nesvizh Yizkor Book)
· Ozerna, Ukraine (Memorial book of Jezierna) [Hebrew]
· Przytyk, Poland (Przytyk Memorial Book)
· Radomysl Wielki, Poland (Radomysl Wielki and Neighborhood)
· Rafalovka, Ukraine (Memorial book for the towns of Old Rafalowka, New Rafalowka, Olizarka, Zoludzk and vicinity)
· Siedlce, Poland (Memorial book of the community of Siedlce)
· Skalat, Ukraine (Skalat: A Memorial Anthology for a Community Destroyed in the Holocaust)
· Sokołów Podlaski, Poland (Memorial Book Sokolow-Podlask)
· Stowbtsy, Belarus (Memorial volume of Steibtz-Swerznie and the neighboring villages Rubezhevitz, Derevna, Nalibok)
· Uhniv, Ukraine (Hivniv (Uhnow); memorial book to a community)
· Ustilug, Ukraine (The growth and destruction of the community of Uscilug)
· Zgierz, Poland (The Book of Zgierz, Volume II)
· Zolochiv, Ukraine (The City of Zloczow)
Last month, the publishing of this book was announced and in parallel, we have now enabled the book to be freely read online.
New Yizkor Books in Print
Before ending this report, here are some important links to note:
Wishing you all a markedly improved and healthier civil New Year,
Director of Special Projects - Yizkor Books
Re: 1910 Census lists German as language, but country of origin is "Russia. #russia
I wish to thank everyone who responded to my question. Based on the answers I received in response I feel that it was very possible that the person in question was able to speak fluent German as a Jew living within the Pale.
Thank you everyone one and all who took the time to answer my question.
San Rafael, CA
If you have registered for the Zoom event, Tue 1/12/2020 and have a question, do this.
If you have specific question(s) that don't require too much detail, please send them to Arthur (see email below) before the meeting. He will try to prepare an answer or research approach.
Example: Looking for family surname Sissman on JewishGen.org, what would be a research strategy. Know the given names, too.
Jewish Genealogy SIG of SW FL
I have found it helpful to map the migration patterns discovered in the course of a
250 member family project at FTDNA.As shown here, there are ample opportunities
for mixing of Sephardic and Ashkenazic as well as pre-Sephardic and pre-Ashkenaic
genetics-- and this pattern is derived from only one lineage (yDNA) of one modern
individual (who happens to be my great-grandfather). One can imagine what this map
would like if it attempted to include all possible Hebraic migration/mixing patterns!
Shmuel Leib CITRON, Minsk and Vilnius #lithuania
Shmuel Leib CITRON (1860-1930), Hebrew and Yiddish journalist, writer, and
He was born in Minsk and from 1903 lived in Vilnius.
He was the brother of my wife's great great grandfather Gershon CITRON. b.
1839 in Minsk, a merchant of wine and spirits, who in 1883 was living in
Dvinsk , Latvia; in 1897 in Kreutzburg/Krustpils, Latvia; and in 1909 was
living in Zichron Yakov near Haifa.
While there are several biographical mentions of Shmuel Leib CITRON , none
mention if he was married with family. I will be grateful to whoever may
know and can provide details.
Shmuel Leib and Gershon were the sons of Jankel & Chana CITRON . According
to family narrative they had a brother Isaac who was murdered with his
family in the pogroms that followed the First World War. JewishGen tells of
a sister Aidele CITRON b. 1847 in Minsk but I have found no further
information about her.
Re: Help Unraveling a Mystery #latvia
The Riga archives have a treasure of information and create family trees and photos from passports and other documents for very little money.
From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of aweitzman.ret via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Sunday, January 3, 2021 8:17 AM
Subject: [JewishGen.org] Help Unraveling a Mystery #latvia
Help Unraveling a Mystery #latvia
I have a letter my uncle gave me back in 1996. It was from our cousin living in Riga, Latvia. The letter is postmarked 1973. The cousin's name was Israel Fiselsons (Fiselsohn). He said he was a wounded war veteran that survived WWII by being in the Army while most of his family perished. He was living in his mother's apartment with his wife (a dentist) and 10 year old daughter, Ilana. No name for the wife.
I was able to determine his mother's name (finally) as being Hinda (Shirren) Fiselsohn so was able to place him as a cousin to our Weitzman family but have been unable to learn the name of his wife or whatever happened to his daughter. I've tried all the resources I know about without success. Ancestry, Family Finder, Jews of Latvia Surnames etc.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Generally Eastern European Jews had two given names: a Hebrew one used mostly for religious occasions and a second one that might be Hebrew, Yiddish, or the language of the surrounding populace. Each of those two names, but particularly the second name, generally had multipile variants such as diminutives (Tsipe, Tsipora, Tsipela, for example, seem to all the same name) and different spellings depending on transliteration. Furthermore, many pepole had nicknames that might refer to a physical characteristic or occupation, for example, that were used in place of or in addition to the second name Nicknames might have been used as surnames within the Jewish community, but Russian law under the Tsars required that a family choose one name and retain it permanently (a law often ignored).
During times of deadly plagues, some parents changed the names of their children to confuse Death.
So in Eastern Europe, it was not unusual for people to end up with three or four names used as given names.
When our ancestors emigrated, many began to use a Western European (usually English) version of their names for interactions with the goyim but retained their original names within their Jewish community. The Western European version of the name was also subject to change at whim. (One relative of mine used the names Etta, Edith, Ethel, Yetta and I think a couple others after arriving in the U.S.)
Good luck - Judith Singer
My GGF, Samuel Schwartz (1858-1924), originally from Slovakia, lived most of his adult life in the Boston area. In 1914, he and his wife and two of his four daughters moved to Chicago, where he lived the rest of his life. Samuel Schwartz is a pretty common name.
Do i show up on your Ancestry or FTDNA results?
If not, i'm probably not your needle and not even your haystack.
Although all my ancestors came from the borders of NE Poland and SW Lithuania, my DNA shows I am seven eighths Ashkenazi and one eighth Sephardic. One of my family's male lines has a rare sub clade of the J2 haplogroup that could be considered either Ashkenazi or Sephardic, but the ancestry may not come from that direction. Another male line has the classic Levite signature of a rabbinical family which is said to originate in medieval Spain.
I match on my DNA autosomal results with a number of people of known Spanish and Portuguese origin, and with Spanish or Portuguese names. Last year I had an in depth K16 test done by a European provider that showed my DNA had significant Spanish and Portuguese influences, especially a close resemblance to the DNA of the Belmonte converso people of Portugal.
The overall Sephardic proportion may be small in comparison to the Ashkenazi, but it is still there as a signal from the past.
Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK
This hypothetical Chinese woman would have lived approximately 25 to 33 generations ago (assuming a generation is on average 25 yrs). No genetic genealogy text or paper I have read would support a belief in the survival of any significant amount of her autosomal DNA in living descendants. If anyone can cite evidence to support this belief, I would welcome the opportunity to improve my knowledge of genetics.
Re: Who is the better option for DNA: siblings or father and son? #dna
You should always test the oldest family member. If you are looking for a paternal relative, then test your father, followed by one of his siblings.
Jan Meisels Allen
Legacy Family Tree, a member of the MyHeritage group of companies, announced that registration is open for their 2021 Legacy Family Tree Webinars. There are 120 classes to chose from on topics ranging from Prussia to Ireland to Samoa, from Zotero to WordPress, from The National Road to Angel Island to the 1890 census, and from the top 10 DNA do's and don'ts to the genealogy of your house. The webinars are free at time of the webinar and for the first seven days. After the free time only those with paid subscriptions may access the webinars. Webinars can accept up to 3,000 live viewers.
To read more see:
To convert the time zone to your local time zone see: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/
This year they also have an “African Diaspora” which will broadcast live the first Friday of each month and will deliver educational webinars geared toward African-ancestored people in the United States and around the world. Another new series is “O’Canada” which will broadcast live the third Friday of each month and will present educational classes with a focus on the broad range of ancestries found in Canada.
The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will again host a monthly webinar series. https://familytreewebinars.com/bcg
They are continuing for the third year with their Down-Under Series designed for genealogists in Australia and New Zealand - at 12pm (noon) on the first Wednesday of each month (Sydney time). That line up may be accessed at: https://familytreewebinars.com/downunder
You can register to get information on the webinars at:
This site provides information on date of presentation, name of webinar and the presenter.
I have no affiliation with MyHeritage or Legacy family Tree Webinars and am posting this solely for the information of the reader.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
Jan Meisels Allen
The Dutch National Archives https://www.nationaalarchief.nl/ have made some records that became public as of January 1, 2021. Exceptions may occur for those people who are still living:
Civil registration records:
There are also some national government records, some of which may be of interest as they include Department of Justice, police division, which includes reports about concentration and extermination camps, the Putten razzia of 1 October 1944, and the prosecution of Jews in the Netherlands.
Due to the pandemic the archives is currently close therefore most of the records cannot be accessed now.
The information is from Yvette Hoitnik CG a board certified genealogist in the Netherlands on her blog post: https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/records-that-became-public-in-2021
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
Over the years, many JewishGenners have been curious about perceived East Asian physical traits (especially eye shapes) in certain members of their Ashkenazic families and genetic tests that assigned some of them tiny percentages of East Asian ancestry. Some of these posters speculated that the traits and genes could have come from Khazars, Mongols, or Tatars. If the source(s) had been Mongols, they feared that rape had been responsible.
The good news is we definitely didn't get these from rapists since the actual contributors were not men. The scientific evidence for the source population wasn't revealed in earlier JewishGen messages (I searched the archive).
Now we know that in medieval times, probably the 1200s or 1300s, a Chinese woman traveled west on the Silk Road and she ended up becoming probably the first Chinese person to permanently settle in Europe, and not only that but she converted to Judaism and married a Jewish man and had at least one daughter and at least one granddaughter and her lineage continued from there, all raised in the Jewish community. Sadly, we'll never learn her name or hometown or life story, which were unrecorded. Obviously, if the Chinese settler had been a man instead, we would have been likely able to determine his surname by looking through a Y-DNA (paternal) match list.
It goes without saying that her native language and traditions didn't pass down to us to any degree. What she did pass down is her mitochondrial sequence. Scientists identified a mtDNA (maternal) haplogroup called M33c that is found mostly among Chinese ethnicities. Its daughter branch M33c2 is also found among Chinese, specifically at least Han Chinese in Sichuan province, but also among Ashkenazic Jews from Eastern Europe. (Not among the original German Jews.)
Deborah Schilmeister Levenstein's great-uncle was right!
In addition, the East Asian haplogroups A and N9a3 among Ashkenazim likely came from Chinese women, too.
I had already provided some preliminary details to Mike Rothenberg via private email in March 2014 so his question in message #32910 from November 2017 surprises me. Anyway, I wanted you all to know what I know.
Jiao-Yang Tian, Hua-Wei Wang, et al., "A Genetic Contribution from the Far East into Ashkenazi Jews via the Ancient Silk Road," Scientific Reports 5 (February 11, 2015): article no. 8377.
Kevin Alan Brook, "The Chinese Lady who Joined the Ashkenazic People," Jewish Times Asia, March 2015, page 19.
Kevin Alan Brook, The Jews of Khazaria, Third Edition (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2018) on pages 203-204.
In reply to:
Deborah Schilmeister Levenstein, Message #306386:
"The men in his family.....my ggrandfather, my zeyde, and my greazt-uncles and great aunt all looked decidedly Asian. One great-uncle often referred to himself as a 'Chinaman.'"
Victoria Fisch Reed, Message #199956:
"our cousin, the former DA of San Bernadino, was often mistaken for Chinese or Mexican, and I own a photograph of perhaps a great-great grandfather (we've never been sure) taken sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century, whose eyes have a decidely Asian appearance. In addition, I was in New York this weekend and got to see my first cousin's son [...] He said to me that he had forgotten this incident, but that when he was young and moved to Texas, some of the kids didn't want to play ball with him because they thought he was Korean and didn't speak English."
Andrea King, Message #257965:
"Many of the descendants of my Great Great Grandfather Aaron Bennett (including my grandma) had asian shaped eyes!"
Eric Benjaminson, Message #257421:
"We have always wondered why one of the defining physical features of male Benjaminsons is an oriental cast to our eyelids."
Joe Hirschfeld, Message #520299:
"That is why I'm told many Jews of European ancestry have an Asiatic look. This may be a myth, but that look is true in my family- one aunt particularly and a few cousins."
Ann Rabinowitz, Message #267391:
"There are many Jews who have slightly "oriental" eyes from the Baltics including several of my family."
Anne Lapidus Brest, Message #168583:
"In my ex husband's family [...] many family members have "Oriental" features. More so in the older family members, but it has carried down through the generations and my daughter has "Oriental" eyes. Where would this come from? The family are from Latvia."
Evelyn Filippi, Message #200011:
Evelyn thought Israelis whose ancestors lived in Russia, unlike other Israelis, "had the look of Mongol to me . They had it in the eyes."
Charles Nydorf, Message #31737:
"A component associated with East Asian populations like the Hmong of China is .2% among the Sephardim and .8% among the Ashkenazim. These numbers are small but higher among the Ashkenazim as would be expected."
I've just found out about two unknown to us great aunts from my wife's SZTARK family from Przytyk, Poland, one was married to Leib WAJZER
and the other to Jojna WAJNBERG (born in Kozienice). I got some information about those families from JewishGen and Yad Vashem but I wish to know more.
According to Yad Vashem, Zvi WAJZER was the only surviver of 6 siblings, he lived in 1957 in Tel Aviv, and according to ספר פשיטיק (Przytyk Yizkor book)
he had a daughter in law named Sarah BAUM.
Any help will be appreciated.
Researching (main surnames):
From Austria, Slovakia: LOFFLER / LEFLER, LEDERER, SCHNEIDER, NATHAN, SEELENFRIED, ZAPPERT.
From Bukowina, Galicia: MINSTER / MUNSTER, NAGEL, SCHERL, IWANIR.
From Poland / Belarus: ALTMAN, KAMINSKY, KAMINKIER, LUBETKIN, SZTARK, YOSELEWICZ, KOSLOWSKI, KRAMARZ, RAUCHFELD.
In my research, I came across several children in my family under the age of one, that I had never heard about. It seems like it was common for the generation born in the nineteenth century to never speak of dead children. There may have been a superstition connected with it.
I can't answer your question, but I have put together a modest, incomplete tree of this Herrnstadt family.
Else Herrnstadt, wife of Oscar Grab, was born in Lissa on 21 Feb 1884.
from London, living in Berlin
I've frequently seen this in Polish or Lithuanian records.
People typically had two names. They were generally interchangeable (unless they only liked one of them!), which is odd to people today who are used to a first name / second name schema.