Virtual Conversations with an Expert #education #general #announcements

Nancy Holden

Virtual Conversations on JewishGen

Ready to speak with an expert? Want to have a conversation about your research?  How about person to person help to take you to the next step?

No matter what level researcher you are, there are times we can all benefit from talking with others about our 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 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 granduncle, 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 suggestions, 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, to schedule a meeting when you have the time, click this link;

Margie Geiser

JewishGen Education

Re: How do I find out why my great-grandfather emigrated from Lithuania under an assumed name? #lithuania

Phil Karlin

I was surprised to find my my great grandparents on the manifest with a different surname. Then I searched the name on JewishGen for Lithuanian records and found them in multiple birth & death records. It seems they adopted a new name on arrival. 

Phil Karlin
Hartford, CT USA

Re: How do I find out why my great-grandfather emigrated from Lithuania under an assumed name? #lithuania

Judith Singer

"It is no easy thing for a family to get a passport. If for any reason the birth of any child has not been properly entered upon the records of the community, and this happens quite frequently in the case of females, or if by accident an official has omitted a name in the records that he prepares from time to time, or there is a member of the family eligible to military duty, or perchance one of the family who has died would, if alive, be eligible to such duty and his name has not been stricken from the records, there ensue complications that involve expense and loss of time." (Philip Cowen, Philip. “Immigration from Russia”, 1906 report to U.S. Commissioner General of Immigration, NARA Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.



Some young men were able to obtain another man’s military papers in order to get an exit permit; (b) some emigrants used permits that had been forged or altered (usually by a shipping company agent) by adding an unrelated person to a family’s permit, using that family’s last name; (c) occasionally a family was able to use the permit of another family who had changed their mind about leaving after obtaining a permit, and so crossed the border under someone else’s name; and (d) those unable or unwilling to obtain even fraudulent documents avoided the border guards by leaving the train on the Russian side of the border and being smuggled through the forest.

In a family named Charny from Kavarskas, Lithuania, there are ship manifests and NY and US census records showing the apparent emigration of one branch of the family to NYC, including parents and several offspring, yet a Charny family with the same given names of not only the parents but all the children also appears in Lithuanian records, such as Internal Passport Applications, at times they were shown to be living in the US. The only explanation that has occurred to me is that the true Charny family remained had obtained exit permits yet chose to remain behind and was able to sell its permits to another family with children of the appropriate sex and age. A shipping company agent might have been employed in finding a suitable family to sell or buy the exit permits. These agents kept close eyes on which of the families in their sales area might or might not be interested in emigrating. 

Once a Russian exit permit was obtained, remaining documentation including train tickets and ship tickets had to be issued in the same name. and the list that showed the immigrants names to US immigrant officials was prepared by the shipping company officers, so the name on the purchased, forged, or altered visa became the name under which the immigrant entered the US. 


Judith Singer

researching Charney and variations in Lithuania

Re: Isaac Luria genealogy #general

David Shapiro

A number of families in Lithuania claimed descent from R. Isaac Luria, the Ari. Over 40 years ago I discussed this with early genealogist Shmuel Gorr, and he told me that he was able to trace one of these families (that of Rabbi Moshe Meshel Luria of Krakenova) back to the Maharshal, with no direct connection to the Ari. Of course there has been much conjecture of the relationship between the Ari and the Maharshal, but I am not aware of any clear answer on that.

David Shapiro

Re: How do I find out why my great-grandfather emigrated from Lithuania under an assumed name? #lithuania

JoAnne Goldberg

Thanks for bringing this up, Perry. I have wondered the same for years,
and still don't have a good explanation for the name changes.

In my case, multiple family members traveled from Lithuania to the US in
the 1880s after apparently buying papers that allowed them to change
their surnames. So my questions:

* What kind of documents did someone need to leave Lithuania in the late
* Who was able to get these documents? And why was it apparently so hard
for people to procure documents in their own  name?
*What happened to the sellers of these documents? Without papers, were
they stuck in their home towns for the rest of their lives?

JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535


Help requested with Polish document below #translation #poland

Jeffrey Knisbacher


Explanation follows:

Three years ago, someone in this group graciously sent me the attached Polish document, possibly a census record or a military conscription record for a Chaim Ber KNISBACHER of Kolomyja. At the time, I could not connect to it and simply filed it away. But just the other day some of my family "stumbled upon" this Stolperstein for a Chaim KNISBACHER in Bremen, Germany:

Stolperstein HB - Chaim Knisbacher 1896.jpg


I subsequently found a second Stolperstein from Bremen for what was likely his wife, Donja KNISBACHER, b. 1898.



In the above Polish document what I can read is as follows and need help with what I can't read as indicated:


1. Birth date: 15 January, 1896.

2. Parents: Ettie Knisbacher

3. Profession: Merchant

4. Religion: Jewish

5. Parents' residence or location of profession? (Is that correct?): Can't read the handwriting

6. Notes at bottom: can't read

On the right hand side

7. Education: 1907 [when Chaim Ber was 11 years old] but can't read more than that

8. Date: 31 May 1939  [significantly, still before the Nazi invasion on Sept 1, 1939]

9. Height: 163 cm. [64 inches=5 feet 4 inches]

10. Chest girth?  85/78 cm. Not sure what that means

11. Weight: 54 kg = 119 pounds

12. Doctors' evaluation?   Can't read

13. Conscription committee?  Can't read


Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated! This man Chaim Ber, from Kolomyja, is apparently connected to both the "Vienna branch" of my family and to Saul ben Meir, b. 1881 Kolomea KNISBACHER, the husband and cousin of my father's aunt Frieda, both of whom came to the US from Austria-Hungary in 1907. [We still do not know the exact nature of the cousinship.]

Jeffrey Knisbacher,  Bradenton Florida 


Re: How do I find out why my great-grandfather emigrated from Lithuania under an assumed name? #lithuania


I had an uncle who came under a different name. I was told that he bought the
papers of someone who had already gone through the process, and that this was known to happen.                                                 Frayda  Zelman NY

JGS Toronto. Free Virtual Meeting. Sharing Data on Genealogical Websites: Uses and Abuses. Henry Blumberg. Wednesday, 26 May 2021, 7:30 p.m.. ET. #announcements #jgs-iajgs

Jerry Scherer



Sharing Data on Genealogical Websites: Uses and Abuses


Speaker: Henry Blumberg

VIRTUAL MEETING: View from home

Wednesday, 26 May 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET.


In an age of burgeoning technology, genealogists have concerns that relate to genealogy websites, their uses and possible abuses. These include issues of privacy, user agreements, facial recognition, data mining, ownership of data, sharing DNA information with testing companies, surveillance capitalism, and genealogical manipulation and fraud.
Henry Blumberg is a barrister in Toronto. He is on the Board of JGS Toronto, has served three terms as convener of the Latvia SIG, and two terms on the Board of Governors of JewishGen. He has presented at twelve IAJGS conferences and was a speaker in Riga at the “Names and Fates Project” in June 2008, as well as at International Conferences on “Jews in a Changing World” in 2011 and in 2014.

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






Help deciphering a town name on passenger Manifest #records #belarus

David Levine


Can anyone decipher this town name in Russia? 

The traveler and her son are in rows 1 and 2
Esther married in Slutsk, Belarus and was living there when first her husband (who is confirmed to have been born in Slutsk) left
I had thought it was Slutsk but Yuri DOrn of JHRG did not find the family there (they did find her husband)

It is likely that the place here is somewhere in Belarus, in Minsk G.
Possibilities are Minsk itself, G/Hlusk, Babruysk
The full page is attached

Many thanks

Best Regards,
David Levine
San Francisco, CA, USA
Weinstein -> Solotwina, Galicia | Frisch, Hilman, Jungerman, Schindler -> Rozniatow, Galicia | Golanski, Kramerofsky/Kromerovsky -> Kiev | Lefkowitz -> Petrikov, Belarus | Shub, Rosen Hlusk, Belarus | Levine, Weiner, Zamoshkin -> Slutsk, Belarus 

Translation from German (maybe Polish?) #poland #names

Jeffrey Grossman

Asking for a friend (really!). He got this from JRI Poland. He believes the middle entry (name= Eisig) may be his maternal grandfather. Neither of us can translate the column headings and certainly not the cursive writing. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks! 





Jeffrey Grossman
Redmond WA

Re: Plagai, Lithuania - I'm lookin' for it, You got it? #lithuania #poland

Sherri Bobish


Now that you've found the town, you can search for records at:

Good luck in your search,

Sherri Bobish

Re: Charlotte (Lotte) Friedmann from Breslau #germany

Sherri Bobish

Hi Harvey,

There may be more than one Lotte Friedmann from Breslau.  In 1938 Hans Friedmann (age 25) and his wife Hildegarde, arrived in NY, and he left behind his mother in Breslau named Lotte Friedmann.

Hans was going to his Uncle Eugene Friedmann in Chicago.

Hans had also been in The U.S. in 1937.

I assume this is not your Lotte Friedmann, since she was in Scotland by 1937, as you said.  This info may be helpful in sorting out the ladies with this name from Breslau.

Best regards,

Sherri Bobish

How do I find out why my great-grandfather emigrated from Lithuania under an assumed name? #lithuania

Perry Shorris

My great-grandfather, born Mordkhel Eliash Shores, emigrated from Kovno to America in 1898 under the name “Jossel Flink” (the name on the ship’s manifest and referenced in his naturalization records).  There are several theories as to why he might have sailed under this name: (1) he used another person’s passport to leave Lithuania; (2) he used a ticket for the ship that was issued under the name Jossel Flink; (3) he was escaping some kind of danger; etc.  On the ship’s manifest, he indicated that he would be joining his “cousin” Sam Shores in Chicago, but Sam was actually his brother.  In March, I sent in an application to the United States Citzenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) on the offhand chance that his file includes a letter or affidavit explaining the name discrepancy (the Declaration of Intention and Petition do not contain any explanation).  I have not received a response yet, and based on the posts of many people who have gone through this process, do not expect to get a response anytime soon.  Does anyone have any other suggestions as to how I might find some evidence as to why he used an assume name, which he had never used in Lithuania and immediately ditched when he arrived in America?
Perry M. Shorris

Identify photo from Cape Town #southafrica

Yehoshua Sivan

This was taken at the Wolpe studio (name embossed bottom right), probably around 1920.  It was in the collection of Minnie Burns (Bernstein), one of the Swirsky/Swersky sisters.  Minnie lived in London, but her sisters were Jane Rabie, Esther Sheina (Sophie) Singer, Rivka (Becky) Pogrund, daughters of BenZion and Rocha Zippa Swirsky, all of whom lived in South Africa.
Can anyone suggest who Rose might be ?

Yehoshua Sivan

Re: Need Assistance with Genealogy Databases - Not finding names #names #ukraine


Coopersmith could also have been spelled as Kupferschmidt. I have cousins by that last name and also several of its variations.

Adela Weinstein 
Peoria, Arizona

Help Linking a 1915 New York Death Index to the Actual Record #records

David Levine


I have the Death Certificate number from the Index for a 1915 Death Record in Manhattan, NY

Is the place to find it this source only available in a LDS Facility?:
Is it anywhere else online accessible?

Record of deaths, 1912-1916
Format: Manuscript/Manuscript on Film
Language: English
Publication  Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981
Physical: on 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm.


Best Regards,
David Levine
San Francisco, CA, USA
Weinstein -> Solotwina, Galicia | Frisch, Hilman, Jungerman, Schindler -> Rozniatow, Galicia | Golanski, Kramerofsky/Kromerovsky -> Kiev | Lefkowitz -> Petrikov, Belarus | Shub, Rosen Hlusk, Belarus | Levine, Weiner, Zamoshkin -> Slutsk, Belarus 

Ancestry Library Edition Available Remotely Extended to September 30, 2021 #announcements #general

Jan Meisels Allen



Ancestry Library Edition, through its distributor ProQuest, has announced that Ancestry Library edition availability  has been extended remotely with libraries with Ancestry subscriptions through September 30, 2021.  Remote access will continue to be evaluated. This is for both Canada and the United States.  I have no knowledge at this time if other libraries in other countries also have this access.


Individuals need to have a library card and check with their local library to determine if they have an Ancestry subscription.  If your local library does not have an Ancestry subscription seek other libraries near to you.


To continue to keep updated you can look at:



Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Re: Where can I find Lodz Court records for 1949 #lodz

Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz

The files should be in the following archive:  Archiwum Państwowe w Łodzi


Please contact: kancelaria@...

Ruth Leiserowitz
Berlin / Warsaw

Re: Family from Roman Romania #romania


There are SARAGA families in Roman before 1900 (Smil/Rifca, Iosub/Sura, Avram/Maria). That surname may fit the one listed which is likely misspelled.

Luc Radu
Great Neck, NY

Re: Maybe I’m a member already? #ukraine


Hi Marlene, 

Since you know that your grandfather arrived in 1913, I assume that you have already reviewed his passenger manifest and have noticed that, although his birth place and last residence was Cherson, his father ( Isaac) was living in a place which I read as Ponkrawkewce.

Perhaps  he meant Pokrowske

Giannis Daropoulos 


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