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I have the exact situation in the Yaffe branch of my family. I had from a naturalization the month and year of arrival. I could not find any Yaffe's who arrived at that time, so I just brute force starting going through manifests, and I found a family named Preiskel, perfect analogs in first names and ages. They were headed to brother in law A. Hurwitz in New Haven, which clinched it for me. A JewishGen search of Lithuanian records brought up a 6 birth records and 3 death records, with town of origin and other info. It had been their name for at least 20 years at time of arrival. My question is whether my GGF had always been a Preiskel, or if it had been the re-adoption of the Yaffe name, from childhood or a prior generation.
I have that situation in a more distant branch of the tree. My 3GGF Karlin had a brother who changed his name to Verebyofsky, possibly to avoid the draft. His grandchildren came to America and changed their names back to Karlin.
3rd version in my tree: a cousin in the Apter branch who came to Hartford, where there were already lots of Apters. His mother had been an Apter. He came as Menasche Rapp, and became Max Apter. The better to fit in and take advantage of family connections, I think.
Larry, I recently had the exact same issue. Even using a few different websites to 'break' the pdf into text and then using Google translate, it did not tell me how to make payment which apparently is difficult to do. They give a long account number which is for their treasury account, but that alone is not helpful. Realistically, the only way to make payment is to find someone or an organization or perhaps a bank in Europe (with US branches maybe) who can contact the archives and make the payment. For example, Santander Bank is a foreign bank (Spain), or some USA based banks might have foreign branches that could assist. Then you can pay that intermediary either before or afterward. In my case I had an ongoing genealogy project with another organization in the UK which was able to make the payment on my behalf. I received a summary of the information I requested and a translation but am still waiting for copies of the actual documents. I paid about $20.
The records on Ancestry for UK incoming and outgoing ships come from the National Archives in London. They make it clear in the description that these records are for journeys that do NOT include mainland Europe. A handful of ships from Europe can be found but they are very rare.
How to pay any archive has become easy and less expensive. I’m sure someone else can help with the translation of the invoice but I’ve never used a bank for wire transfers because of the high fees. I’ve used transferwise (online service) which has given me excellent, quick service with minimal fees and highly recommend them.
I am trying to find some confirmation that my paternal grandfather - Hirch SONNENSHTRAL (later known as Harry SONNENTHAL) - was born in Latvia, I believe in Riga, his year of of birth 1886 (1885?).
He was one of 8 children born to Abraham and Fanny Sonnenshtral? Sonnenthal? (the other children were Bloomah, Symie, Wolf, Louis, Nathan, David and Leah).
Information I have found so far on the internet suggests he was born in Russia .... but I don't believe this. I was always aware as a very young girl that my grandfather was from Riga - my father had told me so and I never doubted it. My father even had a very old photo of the street in Riga where my grandfather lived; I remember the photo and have searched everywhere for it but unfortunately without success.
What also makes me doubt the internet is that my grandmother, Hirch/Harry's wife (Eva, nee Perper) was from Smyrna, now Izmir, in Turkey. She came as a young woman to England where she met and married my grandfather. I remember her well (she died in the 1980s) and even to look at her there was no mistaking she was from Turkey ..... yet the ancestry records I found online state she was apparently also, like my grandfather, born in Russia. My father tells me he thinks Eva's mother was indeed originally from Russia but Eva was born and grew up in Turkey.
From my internet search it seems the surname Sonnenshtral is only found to be linked to Latvia. I looked on the Jewish Genealogy database and cannot find the surname as a mention under any country other than Latvia.
I knew my grandfather had come to England as a very young boy via Switzerland.
I know also that there used to be a town in Switzerland called Sonnenthal. I tried to find it on a map many years ago when I had an idea to visit but could not find it; I then discovered it no longer existed (as was further confirmed to me by a then work colleague who had travelled to Switzerland to visit the Bally clothing/shoe factory which was situated in the neighbouring town).
Both the British Naturalization Record and Oath of Allegiance for my grandfather give his name as "Hirch Sonnenshtral (Known as Harry Sonnenthal)" , the country of origin stated as Russia, and dated 11 August 1919.
I found it odd though that, on the birth certificate of my father who was born in 1922, my grandfather is listed as Hirch Sonnenshtral.
My grandfather died in London in 1970.
I wonder if anyone can help me please to confirm that my grandfather's place of birth was indeed Riga.
Helen Sonnenthal MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately
Re Lazarus Black born in Russia in 1881 Lived in Liverpool(UK).
Can anyone advise me what happened to him. I can find no marriage or a death records for him.
He was the son of Yisrael Yitzhak ben Eliezer Schwartzberg (Black) who was a writer and humorist who sometimes used the pseudonym Yshai Ish Montenegro and had book published in Manchester in 1903 titled The Paths of Judaism by Israel Isaac Black. Isaac died in Liverpool on 19 Feb 1932 and is buried in Rice Lane Cemetery.
Lazarus Black is mentioned on the Census records for 1891 and 1901 but for some reason is missing off the 1911 Census as living with his parents (Isaac/Esther)/siblings at 138 Crown Street although the Liverpool Electoral records for 1904 to 1915 have him down as living at that address. The number of children on the 1911 Census is correct - there had been 8 - one called Drinka had died and 6 others were showing excluding Lazarus.
The Lazarus Black I'm researching must not be confused with his first cousin Lazarus Black son of David (Isaac's brother) who was born in West Derby, Liverpool in 1881 who married Freda Soloman in Liverpool 1906 and died in 1953 and was buried in Long Lane cemetery, Liverpool. Certain people have got the two Lazarus Blacks mixed up on Family Trees posted on Ancestry.
Richard Casson(Manchester,UK) MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately
There are some records 1878-1960 for incoming passengers on Ancestry, unfortunately not everything was recorded back then. (Sadly I can't find any of mine from early 1900 on there, only on the 1911 census). If you have any other ways of spelling the surnames you are looking for, it might be worth having a look for incorrect spellings noted down wrong, you can also do a search on there for instance first couple of letters of the surname followed by * this does a good search IMHO.
Good luck Mandy Molava Researching Brest Belarus Grodno and a lot more!
Scots families were very common in Poland and Lithuania kick-starting the agricultural revolution. One of my (Jewish) great grandmothers came from Raczki in Suwalki Gubernia and this is the site of Dowspuda palace, where Napoleon kept his Polish mistress. This is now an agricultural college, but next to it is the village of Scotia, which was founded by the Scottish pioneers in the 18th century, and people with Scots surnames still exist there today. We visited it in 2000.
But by an amazing coincidence, my late Edinburgh aunt (my Mum's sister) was in the Scottish land Army in WW2, with the descendant of one of these Scots-Polish pioneers who had lived at Raczki- Scotia, and whose family later returned to Scotland a few centuries later. This descendant (who is now over 100 years old) Mona McLeod wrote a book on this episode in Polish history called "Agents of change, Scots in Poland 1800-1918" (published in 2000).
I have seen it mentioned before that the name Gordon could have derived in this way, as it is very common in the Suwalki gubernia in NE Poland. and our ancestors took on surnames at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, to replace or add to patronymics. Napoleon was the one who most encouraged this move in this period.
Thank you, Simon, very helpful! I hope to find his burial records next, which might provide other clues, and then perhaps the marriage records, which I understand would mention his parents. -- Richard Hatch Providence, Utah richard@...
I assume you are interested in name changes in the United States. I highly recommend getting a copy of Kirsten Fermaglich's book, "A Rosenberg By Any Other Name". New York University Press 2018. The subtitle of the book is "A History Of Jewish Name Changing In America" and should answer most of your questions about "new" surnames. -- Joel Weintraub Dana Point, CA
Auction House Suspends Sale of 19th-Century Jewish Burial Records
The records of a Jewish community in Romania that was almost annihilated during the Holocaust are viewed as essential to reconstructing its history.
Feb. 19, 2021
A bound memorial register of Jewish burials from Oradea that was among those offered for, and then withdrawn from sale, at Kestenbaum & Company. via Kestenbaum & Company
Under Nazi rule in 1944, some 18,000 Jews were deported in six trains from the city of Cluj-Napoca in modern-day Romania to the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. They nearly all perished. Jewish homes, offices, archives and synagogues in Cluj were ransacked and possessions were looted, including books and historical records, leaving behind scant trace of a once-vibrant, mainly Hungarian-speaking community.
Today, decades after many of the few Holocaust survivors emigrated, the Jewish community there numbers just 350 and possesses little evidence of its history.
But this month a rare relic of Cluj’s Jewish past surfaced at a New York auction house. A bound memorial register of Jewish burials in the city between 1836 and 1899 was one of 17 documents offered for, and then withdrawn from sale, at Kestenbaum & Company, a Brooklyn auction house that specializes in Judaica.
The withdrawal came at the request of the Jewish Community in Cluj and the World Jewish Restitution Organization, who asked that the sale of the burial register listed in the catalog for the Feb. 18 auction and known as the Pinkas Klali D’Chevra Kadisha, be canceled.
The register, handwritten in Hebrew and Yiddish with an elaborate title page extolling the leaders of the burial society, was spotted online by a genealogy researcher who alerted Robert Schwartz, president of the Jewish Community of Cluj.
“Very little belonging to the community survived World War II,” Schwartz says. “It’s surprising that the book surfaced at auction, because no one knew anything about its existence. We have few documents or books, so this manuscript is a vital source of information about the community in the 19th century.”
Members of a Hungarian Jewish labor battalion building a road in Cluj, in 1943.United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, via George Pick
Schwartz was among the Holocaust survivors of Cluj. He was born in hiding in a cellar after his pregnant mother escaped the city ghetto. An eminent chemist, he has since 2010 led the Jewish Community of Cluj, which is the fourth-biggest city in Romania and home to the country’s largest university.
Under his leadership, the community has attempted to rebuild, celebrating Jewish religious festivals with a wider public and staging scholarly events in pre-pandemic times. The Neolog Synagogue, the only one of the three synagogues there that is still used as a Jewish place of worship, is undergoing renovation and will house a small museum, Schwartz said. “This document could be very valuable as a key exhibit,” he said.
In a letter to the auction house earlier this month, Schwartz described the manuscript — which was estimated to fetch between $5,000 and $7,000 — as “very precious for the history of our community” and said it was “appropriated illegally by persons who have not been identified.”
A page from a register from Oradea, listing the names of people who had died.via Kestenbaum & Company
He also enlisted the support of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which urged the auction house to halt the sale of both the Cluj burial records and a similar register of the births and deaths of Jews from nearby Oradea. In its letter, the restitution organization said private institutions like Kestenbaum have “a responsibility to make certain that claims to recover Nazi-confiscated property are resolved expeditiously” and cited international agreements on returning Nazi-looted cultural property and Holocaust-era assets.
“Given the historically delicate nature of the items that are entrusted to us to handle, we take the matter of title to be one of the utmost importance,” Daniel Kestenbaum, the founding chairman of the auction house, wrote in an email. “Consequently, in respect to recently acquired information, manuscripts were withdrawn from our February Judaica auction.”
The consignor is “a scholarly businessman who for decades has exerted enormous effort to rescue and preserve historical artifacts that would otherwise have been destroyed,” Kestenbaum said. The seller has agreed to discuss the matter further with the restitution organization, he said.
Zoltan Tibori Szabo, the director of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Cluj, said he is counting on the consignor’s good will. If made available to researchers, the newly discovered register will provide scholars with the names of the ancestors of those who were deported, he said.
“Usually if a person dies, he is remembered by his community and his family,” he said. “But in the case of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Eastern Europe, there was nothing left of them — even their documents were robbed and disappeared. You cannot reconstitute the history of a community without documents. We don’t even have a list of their names.”
While historic Jewish communal registers do occasionally come up for sale, it is unusual for so many to be offered at auction at once, said Jonathan Fishburn, a dealer in Jewish and Hebrew books in London. The market is generally confined to museums and libraries, though some private collectors with a connection to a specific region would also be potential customers, he said. Kestenbaum said that of about 30,000 auction lots he has handled in his career, only about 100 involved such records, which he described as crucial for genealogical research.
“It’s about saving history,” said Gideon Taylor, chair of operations at the World Jewish Restitution Organization. The newly discovered registry “is a treasure and a rare window into the past,” he said. “Every name on that list matters.”
The discovery of these documents is “symbolic of a wider challenge,” he said. “How do we make sure these pieces of history do not get traded? We want to make sure it gives us a road map going forward. We will be reaching out to auction houses in a more systematic way and looking for partnerships.”
Subject: ViewMate translation request - German to English=
I request a translation of the death certificate of Veronika LEVI the sister of my great grandfather. She was a twin, but so far I have not found the death certificate of her twin, who also died soon after birth. Sadly they were the first children of my 2x great grandparents. It is on ViewMate at the following address https://www.jewishgen.org/viewmate/viewmateview.asp?key=VM91245.
Whether you have ancestry from Lodz or not, you don't want to miss this online tour of Jewish Lodz, the second most important Jewish city in Poland after Warsaw. I have been on tours with the Forum for Dialogue and their tours are just first rate even online.
Join me this Thursday at 10 am Pacific time, 1 pm Eastern time, 6 pm in UK, 8 pm in Israel for a very worthwhile hour.
As the travel restrictions still hinder our international friends from visiting Poland in person, I would like to invite you to a virtual tour of another Polish city with a rich Jewish heritage and a special place in the history of Polish Jews. We feel that virtual tours of Warsaw and Krakow we hosted last summer were a great success, therefore let me invite you to our Zoom in on the Forum session devoted to Lodz and its 20thcentury history. Our guest, Milena Wicepolska-Goralczyk, Lodz tour guide and a genealogist, will walk us through the rise of "Polish Manchester" as a significant social and industrial center with vibrant Jewish community and its tragedy during the Nazi occupation with the creation of Litzmannstadt Ghetto. Join us next Thursday, February 25th, at 10 am Pacific, 12 pm Central, 1 pm Eastern, 7 pm Warsaw, 8 pm Tel-Aviv time for a session about Lodz.
Milena Wicepolska-Goralczyk, graduate of English Philology and History, is a tour guide and a Jewish genealogy researcher with more than 10 years of experience. She has cooperated with numerous organizations, such as Taube Center for Jewish Life and Learning, Center of Jewish Research in Lodz, Jewish Historical Institute, University of Lodz, University of Michigan, University of Haifa. Do not hesitate to share this information with people who might be interested in joining this session! Looking forward to meeting you on Thursday, Olga
Hi Siggers, Recently I sent for the death record of my great-grandfather and received the attached invoice. I do not speak Ukrainian and I cannot figure out how to go about making the payment. My bank tells me that in order to make a wire transfer I need the bank's Swift number and their address. Additionally I need the organization's name, address, and account number. So my questions are: Are all these things on the invoice and which is which? Also, my bank wants to charge me $35 for the wire transfer whereas the invoice is for only about $4. Does anyone know a less expensive way to send the money? When I googled about it MoneyGram came up. Does anyone have experience with them? Would I need all the same info? Thanks in advance for your help. Larry Bassist