Looking for Helena Kotzin in Moscow #russia

Ted Kotzin

Seeking descendants of Zawelowicz/Zavelovich family in Philadelphia and Chicago #usa #belarus

Zawelowicz family immigrated from Koidanov, Minsk, Russia in early 1900s to U.S. After arrival their name was changed to Cohen. They settled mainly in Philadelphia and Chicago. Can give first names if you think you are related.
Thank you,
Judy Cohen
MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately

Re: Wrong people on family trees on genealogy sites #general

Linda Higgins

On several genealogy websites there are people who have my parents, myself and my brother in their family tree.  I have tried to make contact.  Most did not reply.  They see a name they are looking for and don't don anyinvestigation whatsoever.  They assume it's the person they are looking for and add them to their tree.  A few who responded to me said they had no idea how that information got into their family trees.  If  they made the tree, they  added the information.  It is absolutely imperative that you know for sure you have the right person before you add them.

Linda Gordon Higgins
Spring, TX

Marriage of Fredrick George Schneeberg to Wilhelmina "Minnie" Maack on 29 April 1891, in New York #germany #usa


I have obtained a copy of the marriage certificate for Frederick and Wilhelmina (see attached).  The celebrant was a Leo Koenig, and the Official Station looks like "Louth Tarbor" or "South Tarbor"; maybe this is an abbreviation for South Tabernacle?  The certificate shows that Frederick was born in Schiffdorf, Cuxhaven, Lower Saxony, Germany.  I should be grateful if anyone could be able to confirm the definite words/abbreviation shown against Official Station and, if that is a Jewish location in New York, any information about the Schneebergs of the late 19th century, at that location. Going back further, I would also welcome any information, which people may be able to share, regarding the Schneebergs of Schiffdorf, Cuxhaven, Lower Saxony, Germany.

With thanks in anticipation

Philip Mark Hunt

Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Travel with infants #general

Molly Staub

Re travel with infants


The answer is — with great difficulty. My Russian grandmother Fanny, who had married and had 3 children in London, traveled with them (aged 4, 3, and 2) to the U.S. in 1909. They had bought her nephew a passenger ticket so he could help, but he “found himself a girlfriend aboard ship” and was little help. I believe there were agencies
 and volunteers at Ellis Island in New York which helped with arrangements. 

Also, a great deal of travel in Europe and America was done by train, where records are not available. The steamship lines made those arrangements. 

Molly Staub





Molly Staub

E-mail staubmolly@...


Re: Wrong people on family trees on genealogy sites #general

Michele Lock

I have only contacted two people about my Lippman great great grandfather. All over Ancestry, people have him married to two different women simultaneously, fathering children with each in alternate years. I did get this corrected, but otherwise, I leave it alone.

On the other hand, I have found mistakes in other trees to sometimes give clues that are worth exploring. For instance, all over Ancestry, there are trees that say my Lock clan comes from Gruzdiske, Lithuania. I've had relatives tell me we come from Zagare, 60 miles away. When I went looking for a town that sounds like Gruzdiske but is near Zagare, up popped Gruzdziai, which records show is the correct town.

Another incorrect but useful factoid - All over Ancestry there are trees that show a certain Alex/Elias Lak/Locke was born in Riga, Latvia. His own census records say he was born in either Germany, Estonia, or Russia. But I figured maybe it is worth checking to see if there are any Lak records in Riga. And up pops several records showing a known great uncle Jacob Lak/Locke living there for several years before immigrating with his family to Boston, US. This was something we never knew about. Checking the naturalization papers for his children, shows them saying they were born in Riga. So, the trees have the wrong Lak/Locke born in Riga, but checking this out led to other correct Lockes. As it turns out, Alex/Elias Lak/Locke was born in Telsiai, Lithuania. HIs family moved to Estonia for several years, prior to immigrating to Chicago.

So, others' mistakes can be useful. However, I don't much bother trying to clean up these useful mistakes, since I figure the tree owners won't much care. It's a free country, and they can do as they please.

Michele Lock

Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock in Plunge/Telsiai in 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

Re: Emigration from Russian Empire to Canada #courland #lithuania #belarus #ukraine #russia

Victor Weisskopf

Visited Pier 21 in 2019. Did not find relatives there, but did find a picture of a Holland Amerika Line ship I'd ridden in the early 60's that was heavily used also to bring immigrants from Holland to Halifax.  Brought back nice memories to see the "SS Waterman".  
Vic Weisskopf
Deerfield, IL USA
Weisskopf, Kober, Marx, Lazarus

Re: Use of the term "Color" in late 19th century and Early 20th century NYC Birth Records #records

Sherri Bobish


Any time I have seen "color" as a category on a birth (and sometimes marriage) record it does refer to race.

I've seen forms that asked for description of complexion, however that is different from "color."  Complexion might be described as ruddy or fair, etc.

Many births were attended by midwifes, and many were barely literate and/or their English was limited.  It may be that the midwife did not understand the question. 

I do not know if most NYC birth certs were written out by the midwife, or by a clerk.  That would be an interesting thing to find out.

It may be that a clerk just made an error, or misunderstood what the midwife said, or the midwife simply did not understand the question.


Sherri Bobish

Re: Looking for information/documents on Abuliak and Ber families #records #bessarabia #ukraine #romania

Yefim Kogan

Hello Alberto,  thanks for your post.

Do you know who was Yitsik Ber in Khotin?  was he a carpenter?  We have a record from Bessarabia Business Directory of 1924 where BER, Itsko from Khotin is listed as a carpenter.
I would suggest for you to do a search for all Surname "BER" in Bessarabia, and look into every record.
There are also many records for surname BER or similar, but for some other towns in Bessarabia. I would suggest to check them out.
For example two Birth records from town of Novoselitsa, which is in Khotin uezd, not far from Khotin... also there are number of Revision list records too.

There are also several other researchers looking for family name BER, BEER, BEHR (these are likely the same family name).  Maybe you could connect with them using Family Finder.

Have a question to you... how do you know that the surname was BER ?  do you have it written down somewhere?

All the best,
Shabbat Shalom
Yefim Kogan
JewishGen Bessarabia Group Leader and Coordinator

Hungary Jewish records #hungary

Dubin, David M. MD

Hi all,
would anyone have access to 

Magyar-Zsidó Oklevéltár XVI, 1974? An ancestor is mentioned on page 318, and I’d appreciate a copy. 

thank you. 

David Dubin
Teaneck, NJ

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


Hello Brad,

Thank you for your important letter. My maternal family also came to the US  before the Civil War from small cities of southwestern Germany. Some went to Kingston, North Carolina and were merchants. Some went to Wheeling, West Virginia. Some were known as pioneers of the Jewish community of Cleveland, Ohio. Three of the Cleveland relatives fought in the Civil War for the Union. I was contacted by a descendant of a slave  because our DNA matched. He was already a good genealogist and had a name for the father of his slave ancestor from a death certificate, but the name was butchered. Using good old fashioned genealogy methods we followed the paper trail. It took us three years to discover that the name of our common Jewish ancestor was Joseph Sondheimer. He was not a slave owner but a peddler in Kentucky. He arrived in this country from Sennfeld, Baden in 1850 at 18 years of age. The story is a different narrative than one you describe. The paths of this Jewish peddler named Joseph Sondheimer crossed with a woman named Caroline, enslaved on a farm in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. When peddlers had to find a place to sleep, they were not invited into the house with the farmer and probably had to choose between the barn and  slave houses.  Identical twin boys were born to Joseph Sondheimer and the enslaved Caroline Chambers in 1856.  The boys were born into slavery on the Chambers farm. The African American descendants of Joseph and Caroline assumed that the farmer, Mr. Chambers was their white ancestor until DNA revealed a different truth.  We think that Joseph acknowledged his fatherhood and was involved in the children's lives in some manner because of family stories passed down in the black family.  The peddler, Joseph, also fathered another boy in 1859 with a free woman of color. After freedom, these children went on to became known as some of the most successful blacks in Montgomery County, Kentucky!

Joseph went on to marry a Jewish woman named Caroline Goodman and had a legal family of nine children! When Joseph died, he and his wife, were buried in Willet Cemetery, the first  Jewish cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. I presented a talk about this story at the  IAJGS conference in Cleveland two summers ago. Feel free to contact me for more details.

Linda Levine
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Kitchener Camps Sandwich #unitedkingdom


I am researching my wife's family background.  Her father, together with his brother were part of the 4000 or so young men sent to a Kitchener Camp in Sandwich, Kent, UK in 1939 as part of an agreement between the UK Government and the Nazi regime (AFAIK).
The rest of her father's family, mother, father, younger brother were all murdered in a concentration camp near Minsk in 1942.

What I am trying to do is find out the brother's pathway from arrest (presumably) and onward journey to the UK.   I have searched every database that I can find and there's no sign of:

Franz Oscar Mandl, born 19th May 1913,
Wilhelm Mandl, born 28 April 1908,  

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Kind Regards
Richard Holder

Re: Wrong people on family trees on genealogy sites #general

Marcel Apsel

Hi Laurie,


I completely agree with you, when putting trees on internet (geni, myheritage etc …) there are plenty of people who think they are smart in adding anything in order to get a huge, but mostly fabricated, tree.  I have my family tree privately build and once a cousin asked me to forward him my gedcom file; I send it to him with the explicit demand not to put it on internet.  This ‘idiot’ did it without my permission (I had to respect privacy matters with some family members) and at the long run my tree became a mess with shulent, kigel and kishke mixed.  I was really furious on that cousin and decided that I never again will give a gedcom format to any one, only a PDF descendant format tree to family members.  It does not mean that geni and myheritage have not positive effects in researching.  I do researching through this channels, but try to be very careful with the information on it.  Most of the information is more or less correct, but with experience you might find mistakes and completely invented pieces, like a son who is born 30 years after the death of his mother, as well as putting wrong information through different trees and mixing them together.

It is important to keep track of correct records; for example I found yesterday somebody who stated that her grandfather was born in London, what was absolutely impossible; but she did not know and supposed that what she decided was correct … and this information will on the long run be kept as correct.

My conclusion is : you can research all kind of records anywhere, but keep it in mind that any record where ever you find it can be right or wrong, not only geni/myheritage, but also civil records anywhere.  Use common sense and then you will be able to detect most mistakes.


Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Re: Wrong people on family trees on genealogy sites #general

Marcel Apsel

Luckily there are some people like you; if not we will have to ‘accept’ that each rabbi would have between 50 children or more ……!!!!!


Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Re: Needing help in deciphering the name of a place #poland #lodz

Krzysztof Witaszek

The place is Brześć Kujawski located 8 km west of  Włocławek 

Krzysztof Witaszek

Re: Requesting translations from German #germany #translation

Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz

Most of the texts are in Dutch, only small parts in German.

Ruth Leiserowitz

Berlin / Warsaw

This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks #poland

Bruce Drake

One topic common to many Yizkor books is a description of the town’s market day. Market days were a vital part of the economy on which people depended for the earnings that would carry them through the week and beyond. They were also raucous affairs where people socialized and drank, Jews mixed with gentile traders and customers, and the shouts of goods being hawked and haggling over prices filled the jammed marketplace.
In one sense, you can say if you’ve seen or read about one market day, you’ve seen and read them all. But what is always appealing about these accounts, however similar, is that each has its own unique cast of characters who are vividly described. Each has different ways of recounting the “art of the deal.” Descriptions of the foods are delights. But more than all of that, market day was a microcosm of Jewish life in the shtetls, and chapters like these seem to capture all of it.
“At the Market: A Jewish Town's Struggle for Bread” is from the Yizkor book of Kolbuszowa, Poland, although this particular translation comes from a well-known anthology of Yizkor book chapters titled "From a Ruined Garden."
I think I can give you a little taste of this chapter without spoiling it, just so you know what I mean. Here’s a favorite passage of mine:
“The first rays of God's sun meet with signs of preparation for a busy day. Shutters open. Jews with their tefilin bags under their arms hurry home from early services. The Biale vegetable growers, who had arrived the previous night in order to secure their accustomed spots, creep out from underneath the wagons where they've spent the night, and begin to sort out their produce. The ‘Bialer goyim’ are well-acquainted with the things Jews need for their Sabbath table. Onions for fish, parsley for soup, little cucumbers with dill for pickling, and carrots for tsimes. A growing human stream, together with containers and merchandise, pours forth from all of the back streets, Jews bearing crates, poles, and boards get ready to build their ‘pavilions’ at the Great Weekly Exhibition.”

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

Re: Needing help in deciphering the name of a place #poland #lodz

Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz

I think, this is Brześć Kujawski 
Coordinates: 52°36′18″N 18°53′53″E

Ruth Leiserowitz
Berlin / Warsaw

JewishGen Virtual Conversations #announcements #education #general

Marjorie Geiser

Hi JewishGeners,

Ready for some new tips, strategies or resources to help break through to the next level with your family research?

No matter what level researcher you are, there are times we can all benefit from talking with others about our biggest brick walls. It’s not uncommon to have that ONE question you just can’t resolve.

Do any of these sound like you?

·         * You’ve searched on JewishGen, Ancestry and FamilySearch, etc., over and over and over again, but STILL can’t find your great-grandmother in the old country.

·         * You’ve found yourself, more often than you care to admit, researching naturalization papers for your grand-uncle, only to realize you ALREADY searched those same records last week. AGAIN!

·         * You just got started, but wonder how to navigate the wealth of resources that are out there. It all feels SO overwhelming!

JewishGen Virtual Conversations provide helpful suggestion, strategies, resources and support with your research goal. These private sessions are designed to empower you to find the answers you’re looking for.

Just $36 for a 45-minute Zoom session. To learn more, or to complete the questionnaire to get started, click this link;

Margie Geiser

JewishGen Virtual Conversation


What’s New at JewishGen? JewishGen News! #JewishGenUpdates

Nancy Siegel

What’s new at JewishGen? Don’t miss the April issue of JewishGen News

Stay informed via the program announcements, reports, and project updates. Read about the Orphans of Meisjeshuis, the Vogel family, the Fonds de Moscou, Life on Cheetwood Street, and more.

If you aren’t subscribed to receive a copy of the newsletter by email, you can access it by following this link:


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Director of Communications
(San Francisco, California)

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