Re: Cohen and Katz #names

Max Heffler


From Wikipedia:


Where it is a Jewish surname, Katz is almost always an abbreviation (Hebrew: כּ״ץ‎) formed from the initials of the term Kohen Tzedeq ("priest of justice"/"authentic priest") or Kohen Tzadok (meaning the name-bearer is of patrilineal descent of the Kohanim sons of Zadok), although when spelled out may mean the family ...


Max Heffler

Houston, TX


From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of Steven Cohen via
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 9:03 PM
To: main@...
Subject: [] Cohen and Katz #names


Coming from a family that was called Katz in Europe, but became Cohen
in America, I am wondering if any of you might be able to shed light
on this phenomenon. It must have been quite common: looking at the
Ellis Island database, I see that Katz appears 50% or so more often
than Cohen, while today Cohen is almost 3x more common in the US than
Katz. When did all of those Katzes become Cohens, and why?

Steven D. Cohen


Max Heffler
Houston, TX

Ethical Responsibilities of Genealogical Organizations during the Global COVID-19 Pandemic #education #guidelines

Jeffrey Mark Paull

The purpose of this article is to pose the question of what the ethical responsibilities of genealogical organizations, such as the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), are during the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Genealogical organizations are, of course, in the business of genealogy.  But, when conducting their genealogy-related business activities, such as planning, sponsoring, and hosting large national and international conferences, a number of ethical questions involving health policy come into play:

(1) Do genealogy organizations have an ethical responsibility to protect the health of their members when such activities may put their members’ health at risk?

(2) Who makes the health policy decisions of whether to hold a large in-person conference, and on what basis are these decisions made?

(3) What are the ethical responsibilities of genealogical organizations to share public health information, and to keep their membership informed of health-related policy decisions on social media?

This article examines these questions, and the ethical responsibilities of genealogical organizations to its members. 

Jeffrey Mark Paull, DRPH

Question about a matzeva: is Samuel mis-spelled or is a Yiddish alternative used? #names


My grandfather's matzeva spells his given name, Samuel, with an ayin rather than an aleph, as you can see in the attached photograph.  I don't know if the spelling is simply an error or if what is used is a Yiddish spelling where the inscription should properly be in Hebrew. 

Thanks for any comments on this.

David Stern

Re: Cohen and Katz #names


Katz is an acronyms for Cohen Tzedek (caf, tzadi in Hebrew  כ"ץ).
Cohen is Priest, the highest status in terms of religious ascendency, and Tzedek means Justice. So Katz is a "Priest of Justice". You can learn more here.

Cesar Yeudkin

YEUDKIN/YUDKIN & SHEIMAN from Gomel in Belarus

ViewMate translation request - Polish #poland #translation

Meliza Amity

I have posted a marriage record in Polish for which I need a
translation. It is now on ViewMate archive at the following address

I downloaded it from JRI-Poland for surname RADZIEJOWICZ in the Lomza Gubernia.

Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.

Thank you very much,
Meliza Amity

ViewMate translation request - Russian #translation #russia

Laufer, Shmuel

I've posted five vital record in Russian for which I need a translation.
Need names, places and dates.

A birth certificate at the following address:

Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.



Thank you very much. 

Shmuel Laufer

Rehovot -Israel


Research: Laufer (Przasnysz, Poland); Domb (Pultusk, Poland); Bruckman (Sarnaki, Poland); Zelazo (Sarnaki, Poland); Preschel (Berhomet, Chernivets'ka, Ukraine), Leder (Berhomet, Chernivets'ka, Ukraine); Schnap (Berhomet, Chernivets'ka, Ukraine); Mitelman (Chelm, Poland); Tenerman (Dubienka, Poland)

Re: Genealogy Research on LIEBERMAN British Family Member Originally from Belarus #unitedkingdom #belarus

Gerald and Margaret

I suggest a charity, based in London and Belarus, called The Together Plan.  One of its projects is to carry out a personalised genealogical research in Belarus.  They have the huge advantage of speaking the local languages, plus understanding the local bureaucracy !

Margaret Levin
London UK

Re: Ursula Wyss FREY, 16th century religious crossover? #general



I've been researching my wife's genealogy and have run into the same interesting connection. I've managed to trace her maternal grandmother back through long Mennonite lines, first in Waterloo Canada, then back to the German, and finally Switzerland. My wife's three times Great Grandmother was Elizabeth Frey, born to a Mennonite family in Woolwich Township where there are several references to her husband Isaac Reitzel who was mentioned a couple of times in the local Berliner newspaper. Apparently the Waterloo area is for Mennonites in the New World what Lancaster PA is for the Amish. You can apparently still go there and see carts and buggies, though I've never been myself. 

Elisabeth's father was born in Germany and several generations of Freys, all Mennonite, lead back to Hans Jagli (Jacob?) Frey (c.1642) who marries Barbara Oberholzer. The Oberholtzer Family Association has an extensively researched Genealogy that includes information about Veronica's grandfather Martin who was an early Anabaptist and was murdered by rival Zwiglians. Apparently not only did Lutherans and other Protestant sects as well as the Swiss Catholics all hate the Anabaptists, but the Anabaptist splinter groups all had hate to spare as well! When Martin was murdered by drowning at age 75 (That was apparently the "preferred" method of killing anabaptists. Ferdinand I called it the "third baptism" since Anabaptists believed other Christian converts needed to be "Rebaptised" as adults, hence the name. Nasty stuff.), his various children had already fled Switzerland to the German Palatine because of ill treatment. Without intending to compare the historical treatment of Mennonites with that of the Jewish community in Europe and elsewhere, Anabaptists in Switzerland were not allowed to own land, gather together in groups bigger than 20, meet any Christians on Sunday, marry non-anabaptists, were similarly taxed and faced regular violence. It was because of this that Martin's children fled to Germany and then his son Marx's family to Pennsylvania where they got land from William Penn and added their DNA to the Pennsylvania "Deutsch". 

But Hans Jacob Frey's line goes back to Jakob Wyss (b, 1549) and Madalena Sporri (b. 1560) who were married in the town of Weisslingen, Northwest of Zurich in 1580. I found a document of their marriage in the Zurich Canton library. It does not mention their religion though or their baptisms, only that he was a Carpenter. I'm a history teacher, but my expertise is NOT in 16th century Austrian Hapsburg Empire drama. Still, my understanding is that the area around Zurich was under the sway of the Empire and much more sympathetic to Protestants and Jews alike than the rest of Catholic Switzerland. Please correct me if I am wrong. It's possible that he was a convert to the rising tide of Protestentism or a Catholic, but it's hard to know since the first reference I can find to the Anabaptists is in reference to Han's son who is described as a widower and an Anabaptist in the records of his second marriage.

But here's where things get interesting. Three of my wife's grandparents were immigrants from small Norwegian fishing and farming villages and they have extensive family records, so we assumed she'd be nearly all Scandanavian. However, when my wife had her DNA done, she was 10% Jewish. It must come from that Mennonite line and can't be too far back. Although I don't have records before Jakob Wyss, there are lots of sites that seem to trace Jakob (without citation) back through various Wyss, Sporri, Schenkel and Johr families to Nathan Halevi Wyss (Weiss?) who was buried in 1535 in the Jewish graveyard at Endingen Switzerland. From there, people tie back to Rabbi Weil and others like Paul of Burgos. If anyone out there has more info on this, I'd love to see it.

If this is a real connection, it explains my wife's Jewish DNA and seems to verify casual comments I've read online about Jewish conversion to the anabaptist faith generally and the Mennonite faith more specifically. There is a article about Weisslingen on the website of the Mennonite church which says something similar.  Whether these were forced, coerced, a matter of survival, or heartfelt, I can't say. Frankly, I have no horse in that race. But if these conversions were for appearance sake or to protect their families, I wonder why they would choose a sect that meant continued persecution and violence?

I know that the Jewish community suffered horribly in Switzerland in the second half of the 14th century and were forced out of much of the country, but there had to have continued to be Jewish communities in the country for Nathan Halevi to be born near Zurich a century later. I recently contacted a librarian in the town of Weisslingen who informed me, to my surprise, that not a single Jew lived in Switzerland between 1400 and 1700! So maybe I'm wrong! 

Anyway, if anyone has any sources or information about a possible connection, I'd be fascinated to hear it.


Scott Froman

Judaica Bohemiae #general #austria-czech

Omri Arnon

Hello Group,
Does anyone have access to Judaica Bohemiae? there is an article I would
love to read: Miroslav Marada, The Oldest Tombstones in the Jewish Cemetery
of Tovačov (Tobitschau), in: "Judaica Bohemiae", 40/2004, S. 125 - 141 (my
6GF was from Tobitschau)
This is an Abstract
Thank you
Omri Arnon,

US Research Deep-Dive Virtual Workshop -- this Sunday #education #announcements #usa

Michael Moritz

Just beginning your research journey?  Trying to sharpen your skills?  Searching for that one elusive American? 

This Sunday, in conjunction with the Greater Houston JGS, I will be leading a four-hour virtual workshop on United States genealogy research (don't worry, there are intermissions!).  An outline of the workshop is below; the workshop includes all three segments.

United States Research Intro Series
Sunday, January 24, 2021, at either 11:00-3:00 EST or 4:30-8:30 EST

Segment 1: Databases and Federal Records.  Introduction to the primary databases for United States genealogical research. Introduction to federal records research, including federal censuses, federal court naturalization (citizenship), military records and the Social Security Death Index.

Segment 2: State Resources.  Introduction to state research, including vital records (birth, marriage, death records), state censuses and state court naturalization (citizenship). Introduction to the FamilySearch catalog for discovering additional resources and records.

Segment 3: Local Research.  Introduction to local research, including burial records, grave images, newspaper records, yearbook records and the US Public Records Index.

Registration and fee information is available here:

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Michael Moritz (New York)

Note that while I am the Director of the Romania RD, this is not a JewishGen event, but is being offered in conjunction with the Greater Houston Jewish Genealogy Society.

Cohen and Katz #names

Steven Cohen

Coming from a family that was called Katz in Europe, but became Cohen
in America, I am wondering if any of you might be able to shed light
on this phenomenon. It must have been quite common: looking at the
Ellis Island database, I see that Katz appears 50% or so more often
than Cohen, while today Cohen is almost 3x more common in the US than
Katz. When did all of those Katzes become Cohens, and why?

Steven D. Cohen

Re: Anna Bikont Contact #holocaust #poland

Sherri Bobish


I suggest writing to Anna Bikont's publisher.  I once contacted the author of a book in which my family was mentioned by sending a letter to the publisher of her book.  It worked, and the author contacted me quickly.


Sherri Bobish

photo identification - Poland or Russia #general

Nurit Har-zvi

I have found a photo with, among other people, my grandmother and 2 of my father's siblings but I was wondering if anyone could identify the uniform that the soldier is wearing.
The photo is posted on viewmate at:
Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.

Thank you,
Nurit Har-zvi

Translation Polish - backs of photos #translation

Nurit Har-zvi

I've posted backs of photos in Polish for which I'd appreciate a translation.
They are on ViewMate at the following addresses:

Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page. 
Thank you
Nurit Har-zvi

Viewmate Translation Request -- German #translation


I've posted a record in German for which I would appreciate a translation. It's a card I found at the Arolsen Archive, and it details some of what happened to a distant relative after the war. I'd be grateful for anything you are able to clarify for me.

It is on ViewMate at the following address:

Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.

Thank you very much.

Joe Kraus

Translate Russian Records on ViewMate #translation

Ellen Shindelman Kowitt

I've posted 5 marriage records from Poland, in RUSSIAN, for which I need translations of names. These are siblings, and we are most interested in confirming their parent names, although additional translation of genealogical data would be appreciated.




Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.


Thank you very much.


Ellen Shindelman Kowitt

Erie, Colorado USA


Ellen Shindelman Kowitt
Director, US Research Division

Reminder: JGSNY Sun. Jan. 24 Zoom Webinar, 2 PM #announcements

Phyllis Rosner

Jewish Genealogical Society NY Meeting
Sunday January 24, 2020 at 2 p.m.
Zoom Webinar

Out of the Whirlwind: Finding the Family You Lost in the Holocaust

Speaker: Deborah H. Long


The daughter of two Holocaust survivors, Deborah Long has been researching her family history and looking for family members for more than 50 years. She has found surviving cousins in Sweden, Hungary, Canada and Israel. Deborah will review the best (as well as some of the more obscure) resources and methods for determining the fate of those caught up in the Holocaust, survivors as well as victims. She will use examples from her own research to present the documents and artifacts she has discovered.


Deborah Long grew up in Skokie, Illinois, and is a professional educator and speaker. She has written more than 20 books, including a memoir about growing up as a child of survivors titled “First Hitler, Then Your Father, and Now You.” Deborah lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is the founder and first president of the Triangle Jewish Genealogical Society in Durham/Chapel Hill. 

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

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

Re: Russian immigration to the US late 1980s where to look? #russia


Hi Aaron,
Thank you. It does work. I just found myself and my family. It's kind of cool to see yourself in a database with all the other Jewish refugees. We came to the US after the 1980s. You have to click on HIAS database search tab to search. 


Re: Immigrant ships that never made it to America #general


Hi Bob

If ships were lost at sea between Europe and America it was usually written something about it in the newspapers in Europe and in the United States or Canada. Sometimes I found lists with the names of the people who were drowned or missing and sometimes also of the people who survived. 

Here is the story about the Ship Volturno, which had many Jewish passengers on board when the tragedy happened (in German language),_1906)

The Volturno Ship disaster with lists of names

Corinne Iten

Re: New book about Oscar Bloch, Swiss-Jewish architect in Stuttgart #germany


Hi, Eva.  This is a long shot, but worthwhile trying.  Can you check in the book if by any chance they designed Villa Sahlmann in Furth (by Nurnberg).  Thanks.
Vivian Silbermann

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