Re: Why Various Spellings of A Family Name #names


Ditto Sally.... "spelling doesn't count".... and people "spelled what they heard"....

There's lots of possible scenarios where your multiplicity of variants might arise -- but here's a common one....

Very often, your perfectly literate-in-Yiddish ancestors were in the situation of being interviewed by an English-speaking clerk -- at the marriage license office, when registering a birth or a death at the hospital, by a census taker, .... -- and the clerk wrote as well as they could what they heard, but your ancestor couldn't read English so even if they could have looked over the document it wouldn't have made a difference.

You mention that in your family each sibling had a different rendition of the name, but often you'll see these kinds of variant spellings for the same individual in different contexts -- for example, in subsequent census tabulations, or different transliterations of the same name on each new child's birth certificate.... Often it's just a simple substitution for a vowel -- as in your case -- or a single consonant substitution, Hotash for Hodash, for example.

As Sally points out, you also get the artifacts of a Yiddish accent heard by an English ear -- often that will account for spellings that substitute one vowel for another -- or as in Sally's example of "w" going to "v"....

But often, again like Sally's example, there are apparently mysterious transformations that are actually quite accountable, just as Sally shows. I see these all the time with my clients -- it's one of the things that makes my work interesting, given that I have an academic background in Linguistics.

Yale mentions his example of a Boston-accented clerk adding that "Boston r" in Akabas > Arkabes -- I found my husband's great-grandfather in the 1910 census in Boston as Salyer -- same "Boston r" added to his name Selya.... along with the very typical vowel transformation from a spoken Yiddish "e" to an English-heard "a".....

In trying to suss out these changes, as Sally says, it helps to say the name with the relevant German, Russian, or Yiddish accent -- when I'm trying to think about what a Yiddish name might sound like, I can evoke my Grandma Pauline's Russian Yiddish pronunciation and it often does the trick....

By the way, this mantra of "spelling doesn't count" isn't just applicable to our eastern European ancestors, or other immigrant populations.... My American genealogy colleagues have the same issues with American names, especially prior to the early 20th century, because most people before then, especially in rural populations, were illiterate even in English, so their names were also subject to being spelled the way the clerk or the census taker heard them, and multiple variants are just as common for them, and pose the same kinds of problems in sorting out who was who....

Meredith Hoffman
Professional Genealogy Research & Training
GenerationsWeb / Plymouth, MA

Re: Natan Noteh equivalent to one name? #names

Matthew Klionsky

My family also has a person with this set of names - and more.  We've seen references to Natan, Nota, Note, Noteh,...and also Nissan.  All with wife Mina, so we think it must all be one person.  But, I've also researched that Nissan and Natan are NOT likely the same name.  I'd welcome informed opinion about this. 

Matthew Klionsky

Re: We believe we are related, but DNA doesn't show connection... ??? KLEPFISZ #poland #warsaw #dna


While the previous answers may help some of the time, one should seek the origin of the name. I Googled the surname Klepfish and learned: 
Klepfish Surname Definition: (from an ancestor's occupation) A Yiddish version of Klippfisch (“stockfish”), cod or haddock, salted or dried. The bearer of this name was a merchant of this commodity. So there's no reason for all Klepfish families to be related. Baker and Cooper families often aren't related. My surname is based on a town name (Noerdlingen in Bavaria), so Nordlingers are people whose ancestors left that town over centuries. They are Jewish, Catholic and Protestant. Some of them are related to each other, but many are not.
Stephanie Nordlinger
Los Angeles California

Re: We believe we are related, but DNA doesn't show connection... ??? KLEPFISZ #poland #warsaw #dna

Stephen Weinstein

If they are still alive, DNA test your parents or grandparents.  A closer relationship is more likely to give a positive DNA match.

However, you also need to realize that when all with a surname are "related", it means, at most, only that everyone with the surname has the same mother's husband's mother's husband's mother's husband, etc., if you go back enough generations (even this isn't always true).  It does not mean that they are all biological relatives or share DNA.  It just takes one person in one generation whose mother was impregnated by someone other than her husband.

You can't "research this farther" unless you are willing to research this father.

On Wed, Mar 17, 2021 at 04:58 AM, Elizabeth Jackson wrote:
it was a small family.  All are related".  ...

research this farther? 

Stephen Weinstein
Camarillo, California, USA

Re: Searching for art stolen from German Jewish family. #germany

Jan Meisels Allen

I would like to know if anyone has searched for art objects stolen or confiscated by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Especially helpful would be specific web sites that can locate art that might be in museums or private collections or even archived waiting for descendants of Holocaust victims or survivors to claim them.
Roger P. Kingsley

I posted about this last December and here is the posting again:




The Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Project (JDCRP) plans to provide a comprehensive registry of all Jewish collections looted by the Nazi.  They are beginning with a pilot project on Old Masters seized by the Nazis, which was owned by Adolphe Schloss.  Schloss had a collection of Old Dutch Masters seized by the Gestapo from a French chateau- but one-third of the collection is still missing.


The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the Commission for Art Recovery initiated the Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Project. They received   €490,000 from the European Union’s Creative Europe program. In addition to listing both missing and recovered art, it will explore the looting networks and the trade and digitize thousands of documents and photographs from archives.


While there are other databases on looted art, the JDCRP is different as it takes Jewish collections as its starting-point and using an event-based approach to trace the route the objects took.


The project plans to have an initial mock-up online at the end of June 2021.

To see more go to:


The website is in English, French and German


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


JGS Toronto. Free Virtual Meeting. Hungarian Jewry: History, Holocaust, and Genealogy. Karesz Vandor. Sunday, 21 March 2021 at 10:30 a.m. ET. #jgs-iajgs #hungary #holocaust #announcements

Jerry Scherer


Hungarian Jewry: History, Holocaust, and Genealogy

Speaker: Karesz Vandor 

VIRTUAL MEETING: View from home 

Sunday, 21 March 2021
at 10:30 am. ET.

 Karesz Vandor’s presentation will include:

  • A short history of Hungary including maps, border changes, and the Holocaust timeline.
  • How to do genealogy research in Hungarian-related areas such as current day Slovakia, the Transylvanian part of Romania, Northern Serbia, Subcarpathian Ukraine, Burgenland Austria, and Hungary proper.

Karesz Vandor is a professional Jewish Hungarian historian and genealogist. Karesz lives in Budapest where he has been researching and running Jewish Heritage tours for nearly 20 years. His work often includes threading clients’ genealogical research into their tours; guiding them through historical landmarks related to their families; and, for some, taking them to the site of their family’s roots including relevant towns and cemeteries. As a genealogist he has been commissioned to research family origins for the descendants of Hungarians whose ancestors migrated around the world. 

To register, please go to

Please keep the acknowledgement email when you receive it as it contains your personalized link to join the Zoom meeting.


To our guests, consider joining our membership for only $40.00 per year by Clicking Here or consider a donation by Clicking Here to assist us in continuing our mission providing a forum for the exchange of genealogical knowledge and information. (Canadians receive a CRA tax receipt.)

info@...              Tel:  647-247-6414

twitter: jgsoftoronto        facebook: Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto



Jerry Scherer

Vice President, Communications




Re: Need copy of record located at LDS library - KLEPFISZ #poland #records

Sarah L Meyer

I understand that these records are only available on the FHL computers, due to legal requirements from Poland.  Since the FHL libraries are closed due to Covid, I am not sure whether using their wifi in the parking lot will work.  I have a batch of Warsaw Jewish records that I got in 2019, but there were a few that I still need to find, and I was going to go to a FHL library last year, but did not go, so I too am waiting.

Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania

Polish Translation Request #poland #translation

Nomi Waksberg


I've posted a vital record in Polish for which I need a translation.
It is on ViewMate at the following address ...
Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.
Thank you very much.

Nomi Fiszenfeld Waksberg

(including variations in spelling)

Help with Address - Pinsk #belarus #poland


Hi All,

The 1920 immigration record for my g-grandfather lists his home address as:

Pinsk, Liskowska 2, Poland
I haven't been able to locate this address and would love any assistance that can be offered. If it helps, the name of the nearest relative at the address was listed as:
father Eisik Burman
Thank you,

David Mahler

Re: We believe we are related, but DNA doesn't show connection... ??? KLEPFISZ #poland #warsaw #dna

Michele Lock

On Thu, Mar 18, 2021 at 02:21 PM, Phil Karlin wrote:
JRI-Poland has a neat feature called Results Mapper, that shows where surname records are found, and how prevalent they are. For the exact spelling of Klepfisz, there are 617 records in 25 different towns, some near Warsaw, and some towns not quite so near. 

Back to DNA results - Another option is to have you and your possible cousin test with AncestryDNA, since you are both likely to find more matches there, and may be able to tell if you are both from the same Klepfisz branch or unrelated Klepfisz families.

I have two relatively rare Litvak surnames in my family, Kalon and Lak (Lock). For the Lak surname, there appear to be three unrelated clusters of families with the surname, in Telsiai, Zagare, and Vilnius. For Kalon, there appears to be two unrelated clusters of families, in Telsiai and Joniskis. I've had a hard time explaining to some of my relatives that not all Jewish Locks or Jewish Kalons are related.  
Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Trisinsky/Trushinsky/Sturisky and Leybman in Dotnuva, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine/Lev/Lew in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Vilna gub., Belarus

Searching for art stolen from German Jewish family. #germany

Herbert Lazerow

   One website is
Herbert Lazerow
Professor of Law, University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego CA 92110 U.S.A.
(619)260-4597 office, (858)453-2388 cell, lazer@...
Author: Mastering Art Law (2d ed. Carolina Academic Press 2020)

Herbert Lazerow
Professor of Law, University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego CA 92110
Author: Mastering Art Law (Carolina Academic Press, 2d ed. 2020)

Romania Research Division Update #romania #announcements #records #JewishGenUpdates

Michael Moritz


Hello from JewishGen’s Romania Research Division! I am writing with several important updates, which I’m excited to share with you all. Please see the attached document (at this link), which covers the following:
  1. Change of Leadership

  2. Significant Correction to Online Records Database - Thousands of “New” Records

  3. The New “Romanian Vital Records Collection”

  4. New and Upcoming Data Uploads

  5. Next Projects

  6. New Website

  7. Get Involved/Donate

  8. Romanian Archives Begins Project to Digitize All Historical Vital Records
  9. Iasi Archives Places Entire List of Births Online (1865 to 1913)

Michael Moritz (NY)
Director, Romania Research Division

Re: Stanislawow/Ivano-Frankivsk - an enquiry regarding the 1900 census conducted in the city by the Austro-Hungarians #galicia #ukraine

Avi Bitron

Thank you very much for the interesting link. I have a few questions regarding those lists.
I see that they have additional info there, not only the 1857 census. Did you manage to get information related to real estate ownership from the various records? If you did, which one was it? According to your findings, was a certain house number in Stanislawow referring to one house or sometimes you saw that 2 different houses in 2 different parts of the city had the same number?
What do you mean by different volumes? There are 13 different results in the link you sent. Do you mean that in each and every link of the 13, there is a referral to the same house?
Would you happen to know what is the reason to each house number there is a fraction attached, such as 1/4, 2/4 or 3/4? What is the meaning of that?

Thank you again so much.

Best regards,

Avi Bitron

Why Various Spellings of A Family Name #names


It may also have something to do with local accents.  One of my Akabas ancestors, who died in Boston, had her name listed as Arkabes on her death certificate: the "r" is the famous "Boston r" that appears elsewhere after disappearing from words like "pahk ya cah in Hahvahd yahd."
Yale Zussman

Searching for art stolen from German Jewish family. #germany


I would like to know if anyone has searched for art objects stolen or confiscated by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Especially helpful would be specific web sites that can locate art that might be in museums or private collections or even archived waiting for descendants of Holocaust victims or survivors to claim them.
Roger P. Kingsley

Klepfisz Cousins DNA #dna

Susan Sorkenn

I went to college (CCNY) with Irena Klepfisz, who was born in the Warsaw Ghetto. Her father, Michael, was a hero defender. She and her mother made it to Sweden after the war and then to NYC, where her mother worked for YIVO. Irena is a poet and Yiddishist and teaches at Barnard College. I visited Warsaw a few years ago and saw her father’s grave and memorials to him at the cemetery and in the Polin Museum. Perhaps she is a relative.

Susan Kurtin Sorkenn

My great uncle FISERAS / FISHER from Utena, Lithuania #lithuania #general

Audrey Levin

Looking for info about my great uncle Jankelis/Jankel Fiseras/Fisher from Utena, Lithuania. Married to Sonia Pikeraite/Piker. They had 3 children. He was born about 1899 in Utena. She was born about 1898 in Anyksciai, Lithuania. They married in Anyksciai on Sept. 21, 1923. His father was Girsas/Harry Fiseras/Fisher. His mother was Dobra/Dora Margolis. Both were from Utena.

Audrey Levin
MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately

#translation #yiddish #translation #yiddish


Hello!  I'd greatly appreciate assistance in translating this letter from Yiddish to English.  It is from a packet of documents and letters belonging to my grandparents. 
This letter is from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, and hopefully offers an insight to this generation of my family!  VM91490 has been translated and is included, with translation, for reference. VM91489 has not been translated.  
Please respond via the forms provided on the ViewMate image page.
Thank you, in advance, for your time and expertise!
Harlene Rosenberg
Researching:  ARONSON (Kolno, Poland & Cleveland), GAVURIN (Slonim, Grodno, Poland), GANCEVITZ (Neshvis, Russia), ZARETSKY (Gomel, Belarus)

Re: Stanislawow/Ivano-Frankivsk - an enquiry regarding the 1900 census conducted in the city by the Austro-Hungarians #galicia #ukraine


I, too, would be interested to see census information for the small towns of Kossow and Zablotow.  I believe they were in the general area.  Thanks for any leads.

Lisa Bracco,

Re: Why Various Spellings of A Family Name #names

Adelle Gloger

This discussion has centered around variant spellings of surnames. It isn't just spellings, it could also be pronunciation of that name.
 My late mother-in-law who arrived in NYC in 1906 (8 years old) showed up on the 1910 US Census, and on her naturalization documents in the early 1940s indicating the name with which she entered  the country was HAMSHANSKY.  For years I searched that name, and came up empty handed.
Years ago on one of the JewishGen digests someone, in general, suggested repeating the name with, in this case, a Russian/Yiddish accent. I did just that and found, not only my mother-in-law and her brothers, but two older sisters who had arrived here several years earlier. The name was -- CHRAMZENKE. When I found the passenger list, that was the name listed. Incidentally, somewhere the family name became ORCHEN.  Go figure!!
Adelle Weintraub Gloger
Cleveland, Ohio

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