Re: DNA matches with descendants of enslaved African Americans. #usa #general

Deborah Friedman

Hi Brad,
Thank you for your letter.
I appreciate your courage in starting this conversation.
Although our family has not, at least so far, uncovered any DNA matches with descendants of enslaved African Americans,  we do have evidence (1840 Donaldsonville, LA census) of  the fact of slave ownership (one so far, that we know of) by one of our ancestors, Levi Hess (1812-1882), born in Germany, died in San Francisco, but lived in New Orleans from 1835 to 1850, had 8 children with Theresa Sanger.  With the help of the River Road African American Museum, we were able to find a conveyance document for the sale of a woman named Ruthe from M.W.S.Green to my grgrgr grandfather, Levi Hess.  Reading the document was a sobering, painful but important experience for many in my family and we hope to learn more, both about what happened in the past and what we can do to help now.  Other than the above named museum,  two other organizations have been helpful: Enslaved. org and The Beyond Kin Project. A useful article is the following:
Eager to speak to you and others out there who are going through this essential discovery and education process.

Deborah Friedman

Walnut Creek, CA




Re: DNA matches with descendants of enslaved African Americans. #usa #general

Mike Daren

I have southern Jewish ancestry, and DNA matches with descendants of enslaved African Americans.

I have relatives (not in the branch matching the enslaved African Americans) who moved from the North to Georgia some time before the Civil War, and fought for the South during the Civil War.   They were merchants.  I don't know if they had any slaves, it's possible.

As a result of a genealogy DNA test, I found out that in a different branch of my family, about 17 years after the Civil War, a great-granduncle Lewis conceived a son Henry with a woman Louisa who was born a slave.  They were 18 and 21.  Louisa and her parents worked for and lived with a merchant who was friendly with the Lewis's father, also a merchant.  (There may be some evidence that Louisa's family had been enslaved the merchant or his family, and then became his employees after the Civil War.)  Lewis and Louisa married other people.  My family didn't know anything about Lewis and Louisa's relationship and child, we have an old family tree of that part of the family, but this isn't in it.  There's a story passed down in Henry's descendants's family about Lewis running into and speaking briefly with Henry once as an adult, it seemed he knew who Henry was, other than that we don't know anything about their relationship if any, it seems likely it was minimal at most.

The DNA test lead to Henry's descendant contacting me, we met and she's since met my sisters, we communicate often about genealogy and other things.

One organization you might be interested in is called Coming To The Table.  Their Mission Statement is "Coming to the Table provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery."  I joined the organization on their website. They have number of local chapters around the country; it looks like there's only one in Texas, in Dallas.  Their website has resources about researching African-American and slaveholding family histories, I believe there's some advice about making contact between descendants of enslaved and enslaving people.  I haven't been to any meetings in person yet.  They're having their annual national Gathering June 24-27, which will be virtual this year.

Mike Daren
Arlington, Virginia

Re: DNA matches with descendants of enslaved African Americans. #usa #general

Rachel Unkefer

I recommend joining Coming to the Table, an organization particularly founded to bring together the descendants of enslavers and enslaved. Genealogy is a big focus of CTTT because of the dearth of antebellum paper records for the enslaved. I've worked with them as a volunteer providing education about DNA and genealogy.

Rachel Unkefer
Charlottesville, VA

US National Archives Genealogy Series #announcements #records #usa

Jan Meisels Allen



The (US) National Archives has presented a virtual genealogy fair since 2013 and last year due to the pandemic they canceled the virtual genealogy fair. This year, they announced several sessions to be held over different days in May and June. You are invited to watch and participate in real time with the presenters and family historians from around the world on YouTube (


Over the two months, the sessions will offer family history research tools on federal records for all skill levels. The May sessions are broad and will appeal to the beginner and beyond. The June sessions are focused on specific topics and may be better suited for the experienced researcher. All are welcome! Session descriptions, videos, handouts, and participation instructions are below.


  • Open with no reservations required
  • Watch the broadcasts via YouTube
  • Participate and ask questions via chat during the scheduled broadcasts
  • After the scheduled broadcasts, video recordings and presentation materials will be available online


The Schedule:


Tuesday, May 4, at 1:00 p.m. ET

Preserving and Digitizing Personal Photo Albums and Scrapbooks 

Wednesday, May 12, at 1:00 p.m. ET 

Finding Genealogy Resources and Tools on

Wednesday, May 19, at 1:00 p.m. ET

Tips and Tools for Engaging Family with Your Research Finds 

Tuesday, June 1, at 1:00 p.m. ET

From Here to There: Researching Office of Indian Affairs Employees 

Tuesday, June 8, at 1:00 p.m. ET

Civil War Union Noncombatant Personnel: Teamsters, Laundresses, Nurses, Sutlers, and More 

Tuesday, June 15, at 1:00 p.m. ET

Merchant Marine Records at the National Archives at St. Louis 

To learn more about this year’s virtual fair and details about the aforementioned sessions go to:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Re: Looking for Weisskopf relatives birth records from Kojétin #austria-czech #general

Richard Nohel

My great-grandfather Jakob Weisskopf (1855-1921) had 2 wives. His second wife, my great-grandmother, Rosa Weisskopf née Scherbak(1873-1929) supposedly had 3 children. My grandfather, Josef J. Weisskopf (b. 5/8/1904; d. 1977) a brother named Philin (or Fill-in) and a sister whose name I do not know. I want to find any birth records that might exist for any or all of these descendants. Thank you for your assistance!

Richard Nohel
Minneapolis, MN USA
MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately

Knowledge of 1890 Petkunai, Lithuania #lithuania

David Wolk

Continue to seek any information (vital stats, occupation, education) on family of Moshe Tsodik (Chaim David Wolk) believed living in or near Petkunai circa 1870 - 1900.  The mother may have been Leba Bresky Wolk who emigrated as a widow to New York 1906.  Interested to hear from anyone who had ancestors in Petkunai or Petkuny pre-1900.

Many thanks -   David Wolk, Guelph, Ontario

Free Webinars with Dr Janette Silverman, Eastern European Genealogy expert 5/1 #events



  I am  the programs chair of Orange County California Genealogical Society.
  This month we have a speaker that may well be of interest to JewishGen members.
Dr Janette Silverman works for Ancestry ProGenealogists in their Eastern European/Jewish Team. Her talks and expertise I suspect would be of interest.
The event is free on Zoom, so  I wanted to share it with you

Vivs Laliberte

Vivs Laliberte

Orange County, Calfiornia

Re: Published Jewish Family Histories #general

Dan Rottenberg

My original guidebook to Jewish genealogy, Finding Our Fathers (Random House, 1977), contains an extensive list of Jewish family histories and where to find them, listed by family name. Of course, the list contains only books published before 1977. See pages 376-390.
Dan Rottenberg
Philadelphia PA

Re: Is there a JewishGen equivalent for Italian Americans #usa #general

Kenneth Ryesky

The people have long cooperated with the New York City area Jewish genealogy groups.  I myself helped them to transcribe some New York City vital record indices back in the day.

Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@... 

GERTZIG, BRODSKY; Yelizavetgrad, Ukraine
IZRAELSON, ARSHENOV; Yevpatoriya, Ukraine (Crimea)

Searchable database of Jewish last names from Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus and Alexandria #names #records

Lee Jaffe

(JTA) — In the late 1800s, the Ottoman Empire was looking to conscript men into its army, including the several thousand young Jewish ones who were living in the city of Baghdad. 

The Jewish community didn’t like the idea of the imperial forces taking away its young men, so it arranged to pay authorities for exemptions. Rabbi Shlomo Bekhor Husin of Baghdad documented the exemptions, carefully jotting each down name in medieval Rashi script

In the following decades, many of those names vanished or morphed as the Jews living there dispersed across the globe. But the lists survived and now are housed at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem — if you’re willing to deal with the microfilm format on which they are preserved. 

Retired Israeli diplomat and independent researcher Jacob Rosen-Koenigsbuch has squinted to read and translate every single one of the nearly 3,500 names on Husin’s lists. And the lists are just one of the dozens of idiosyncratic sources that Rosen-Koenigsbuch has consulted in his years-long hunt for lost Jewish family names. 

Rosen-Koenigsbuch, 73, has published the world’s most complete lists of Jewish surnames from the cities of BaghdadDamascusCairo and — as of this week — Alexandria. (Next up are probably Basra, Mosul and Erbil, he said.) The four lists have been combined by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency into this searchable database. (If you know your name belongs but isn’t there, email Rosen-Koenigsbuch, who’s always making additions and corrections.


Lee David Jaffe

Surnames / Towns:  Jaffe / Suchowola, Poland ; Stein (Sztejnsapir) / Bialystok and Rajgrod, Poland ; Joroff (Jaroff, Zarov) / Chernigov, Ukraine ; Schwartz (Schwarzman?, Schwarzstein?) / ? ;  Koshkin / Snovsk, Ukraine ; Rappoport / ? ; Braun / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland,  Ludwinowski / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland


Re: Hebrew/Yiddish translation request: photo caption in Rudky Yizkor book #galicia #ukraine #yizkorbooks #translation

Miron Chumash

Hi Jay Osborn,


The translation is:


Hannah Hoch beside the gravestone on the mass grave in Berezina in 1944.




Miron Chumash

Re: Is there a JewishGen equivalent for Italian Americans #usa #general

Erika Gottfried

Three suggestions for your research—both to garner specific information about individual family members and context for their lives in Paterson: 

1) Most of the immigrants who lived in or close by to Paterson were industrial workers, so finding out in which industries family members worked, their employer names, and location of their workplaces would garner you some important information (WWI draft cards would be a good source for this information).  The central industry in Paterson was silk (hence Paterson’s moniker “Silk City”) at least into the1920s, so if the family was living in Paterson up to then it’s a good bet that some of its members worked in the silk mills.  If the family lived in Paterson before 1913 they may have been involved in the famous silk strike of 1913 about which there's a great deal of information 
2) Directly across the city line from Paterson is the town of Haledon.  Many who worked in the mills and other industries in Paterson lived in Haledon (and a lot of the rallies during the 1913 silk strike took place there,too), particularly Italian immigrants—many of them skilled..  There’s a truly excellent book on Haledon and its immigrants that has a lot of information about Italian immigrants to the area (not all came from Southern Italy) that’s part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series:  Around Haledon: Immigration and Labor.   A blurb for the book describes it this way:
By 1908, when Haledon became independent from Manchester Township, thousands of southern and eastern European immigrants settled in the borough and its surrounding area. Immigrants found work in textile mills, machine shops, and other industries located in proximity to the city of Paterson and the Passaic River and its mighty Great Falls. Land promoters spurred home building in Haledon, a streetcar suburb. In 1913, nearly 25,000 workers went on strike, demanding an eight-hour workday. During the six-month strike, Haledon became the workers' haven for free speech and assembly as they demanded safer workplaces, a living wage, and an end to child labor. Archival photographs, documents, and postcards from 1890 to 1930 share the story of workers and immigrants who fought for the workplace benefits widely enjoyed by Americans today.
3) One of the book’s authors, Angelica Santomauro, is the current director of the American Labor Museum, so you might want to contact her to ask about local and national sources and Italian-American genealogical organizations. ( 
Happy hunting,

Erika Gottfried
Teaneck, New Jersey

translation to the attached pictures back #translation

Lea Haber Gedalia

Dear gennners
I yould very much appreciate translation to the attached picture's back writing. The pictures belong to
the Levitan family from Chaslevici.
please email me directly  
Thank you
Lea Haber Gedalia, Tel Aviv

Seeking families with paintings of relatives by Chicago artist Isador Langhaus (1910-1950) #usa


Good morning,

I recently discovered that my paternal great-grandmother?s
Romanian-born nephew?Isador Langhaus?was an artist by profession. See
1940 US census attached.

He painted a portrait of his father Jacob Langhaus (also attached)?my
great-grandmother?s brother. I am assuming Isador Langhaus painted
many other people?s relatives in the Chicago area from about

I am asking if anyone else has a portrait by Isador Langhaus to please
let me know so I can create a virtual exhibition of his work, perhaps
through JewishGen. Please check the artist signature on any family
paintings you may have. He seems to me to be quite a fine artist who
deserves some recognition after all these years.

Mel Solman


Langhaus, Vineberg, Salmanovitz, Zalmanovitz, Holdengraber,
Kruk/Cooke/Kirk, Wigdor, Sobiloff, Sobelevski, Goldenberg, Zatkovetski

Re: Is there a JewishGen equivalent for Italian Americans #usa #general

Sarah L Meyer

There is an  I know that it specializes in New York City records but it may have other records and you may be able to ask questions there.

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

Re: A Request for someone who has the book: "Eliyahu's Branches: The Descendants of the Vilna Gaon (Of Blessed and Saintly Memory)" #lithuania

Eliyahu Allon

You could try writing to the author of the book, Chaim Freedman. He was very helpful with a question I had a few years ago. Chaim freedman [chaimjan@...]

Eliyahu Allon
Detroit, MI

Re: DNA matches with descendants of enslaved African Americans. #usa #general

Brad Fanta

Thank you, Erika.  These are great ideas, particularly about contacting African American genealogical associations and discussion groups.


I realize that the vast majority of JewishGen readers on this listserv do not have southern antebellum ancestors, so I have thought about contacting various southern Jewish Genealogical societies directly to see if they have addressed this topic. In fact, researching former slaves and finding their descendants has its own set of research challenges. Perhaps this is an opportunity to organize a talk at select JGS chapters. Teaching others how to look for these connections would be helpful.


Another possibility which would include many more people, such as your mother’s line, is to do genealogies of the people who worked and lived in our ancestors homes. Understanding their backgrounds and the caste system that everyone had/has to negotiate in, has deep ramifications for understanding our present. 

As you can see, I'm still in the early stages of thinking through this topic.  I see it as a moral and civic responsibility. 

Thank you again for your support and suggestions.

Brad Fanta
Austin, Texas


Re: A Request for someone who has the book: "Eliyahu's Branches: The Descendants of the Vilna Gaon (Of Blessed and Saintly Memory)" #lithuania

Mark Shapiro

The Center for Jewish History has the volume and might be willing to scan and send you the page.  You can send a request to inquiries@....

Mark Shapiro
New York, NY

Today: CJH Genealogy Coffee Break #events #latinamerica

Moriah Amit

Interested in finding relatives who emigrated to Latin America or their descendants? Today (4/20) at 3:30 pm Eastern Time, tune into the Center for Jewish History's Facebook page for the next episode of Genealogy Coffee Break. We'll teach you how about online resources for Jewish genealogy in Latin America. We welcome you to pose your questions to our librarians during the live broadcast. There is no registration or link. To join the live webinar, click "Follow" or "Like" on the top of the Center's Facebook page to be alerted when the video starts and return to this page at 3:30 pm ET. Note: If the alert doesn't appear or if you don't have a Facebook account, you can still watch the webinar on our Facebook videos page once it goes live. Catch up on the entire series here.
Moriah Amit
Senior Genealogy Librarian, Center for Jewish History
New York, NY

JGS of Greater Boston Virtual Program with Emily Garber May 2 1:30-4:00PM EDT #education #events #announcements

Jessie Klein

The JGS of Greater Boston presents two talks by Emily Garber: When It Takes a Village: Applying Cluster Research Techniques & Conflict Management: Evaluating Evidence of Identity. May 2 1:30-4:00PM EDT. 
Free for JGS of Greater Boston members. $5.00 for non-members. Information at

Jessie Klein
JGS of Greater Boston

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