David Brill to explain Russian Empire revision lists for JGS of Illinois in May 22, 2022, free live webinar #announcements #jgs-iajgs

Martin Fischer

“Getting the Most from Revision Lists” will be the topic of a genealogy presentation by David R. Brill for the 2 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 22, 2022, meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. (A separate, members-only online genealogy discussion will take place at 1 p.m.) Register/RSVP at

Revision lists (revizskie skazki) are among the most important genealogical resources from the Russian Empire and are often the only available confirmation that an ancestor actually lived in a particular shtetl. With the growing number of revision list translations on JewishGen and elsewhere, it is easier than ever to expand one’s research beyond U.S.-based sources and discover previously unknown genealogical connections. 

This talk will help both the novice and the experienced genealogist learn to navigate the world of revision lists. David Brill will cover: 

  • What are revision lists? When and why were they created? 
  • What are the differences between censuses and revision lists? 
  • What can revision lists tell me about my family and about shtetl life in general? 
  • Where can I find revision lists for my town? Are they online? 


The speaker will explore examples of original revision lists in Russian and show how they can be used to trace Jewish families. The prospect of reading 19th-century handwritten records may seem daunting at first. But as more and more images of the original Russian-language documents become available to genealogists on the internet, the value of being able to read those records for oneself is undeniable. David will explain how even with no initial knowledge of Russian one can, with a bit of practice, become a “maven” at recognizing key words, names and phrases. 

David R. Brill is a longtime member of the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia, and the coordinator of its Russian Interest Group. 

For over 25 years, David has researched his family history in the countries of the former Russian Empire (especially Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russian Poland). Over the years, his interest in this area led him to become a self-taught translator of pre-revolutionary Russian-language genealogical records. Currently, he manages the Rovno District Jewish Records Project for JewishGen’s Ukraine Research Division and is the JewishGen town leader for his ancestral shtetl of Tuchin (Ukraine). 

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. JGSI is a resource for the worldwide Jewish community to research their Chicago-area roots. The JGSI motto is “Members Helping Members Since 1981.” The group has more than 300 members and is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies

JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 65 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations, monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more. Members as well as non-members can look for their ancestors on the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database

 Temple bulletin or calendar listing: “Getting the Most from Revision Lists” will be the topic of a genealogy presentation by family historian David R. Brill for the 2 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 22, 2022, virtual meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. The speaker will explain what revision lists are and where they can be found, explore examples of original revision lists in Russian and show how they can be used to trace Jewish families. Register/RSVP at:

Shorter listing: “Getting the Most from Revision Lists” will be the topic of a genealogy talk by family historian David R. Brill for the 2 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 22, 2022, virtual meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. Register/RSVP at:

Martin Fischer
Vice President-Publicity
Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

JGSI website:

JGS of Greater Orlando. Virtual meeting (free). How to Use the JewishGen Discussion Group Effectively. #announcements #jgs-iajgs


MAY 24, 2022, 7:00 EDT





BY:  Phil Goldfarb


The JewishGen Discussion Group is a lively online forum for JewishGen researchers of all levels, whether beginners or experts, to share information, receive answers to questions, and participate in the JewishGen Community. Also, all postings back to 1998 have been archived and are searchable, creating an excellent resource for research. Phil Goldfarb is a member of the Leadership Team for JewishGen as well as the Lead Moderator for the JewishGen Discussion Group. He will tell us what this platform can do to help us with our family history research and share some success stories.  The Agenda for the meeting will include instructions for use as well as:


·         What the JGDG is all about

·         Ways the JDDG can help you

·         Advantages of the new JGDG platform

·         Hashtags: how/why important to use them

·         Ways to post a message

·         How to reply to a message individually or to the group

·         Success stories from the JGDG

·         Who to contact if confused

Registration is required for this meeting. 

here to register. 

A link to access the Zoom meeting will be sent to registrants a few days before the meeting.

Diane M. Jacobs
Winter Park, Florida

Ukraine-based genealogy, family trees and translation? #ukraine

Writing Racketeer

Hi all,

I’ve been working on and off with a Greater Kharkov-based Ukrainian genealogist named Alex Belous since January, and I just wanted to put in another plug for him here. 

He is smart, diligent, trustworthy and knowledgeable about genealogyHis services include: Assistance with ancestor searches, genogram and family tree creation (including wall posters), and document translation from either Ukrainian or Russian to English. 

Like many Ukrainians, his life has changed since the war began and he is undoubtedly spending more time than he’d like in a bomb shelter. But he has the experience and know-how to help you find your ancestors and, like most of us, he still needs to work for a living.

If you’re interested in exploring his services, he works freelance through Fiverr and can be reached here:

Lydia Zabarsky
New York 

Researching the ancestry of early 20th c. immigrants to Worcester, MA
🇺🇦 ZABARSKY | MAZER Belaya Tserkva, Kiev Gubernia
🇱🇹 GLAZER | PESKIN Somewhere, Lithuania


Re: Did you go to a Jewish summer camp? #usa

Rick Saffran

I went to Berkshire Hills Camp from 1962 through 1966. It was located on the Twin Lakes in the Northwest corner of Connecticut in Salisbury, CT.
It was owned by the Reich family and most of the campers were relatives or friends (or friends of friends). Although the camp closed in the 1970’s or early 80’s we have a FB page. I personally am still in frequent contact with the guys who were my bunkmates for those five years.

Rick Saffran
15881 Meadow King Ct
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Name changes #names


People who have been reading these messages for more than two years may recall that just before the Covid pandemic began, I had made a request to NARA to locate a document, RG 85, 52.271/6.  NARA is now sufficiently open to have responded to my request; the document is still missing and they believe the various searches I suggested would be futile, i.e., they weren't about to undertake them.
That said, in the last two years, I have come to believe this document is a response from the Immigration Bureau's Washington headquarters to what Ellis Island did in the MaryJohnson/Frank Woodhull situation.  The missing document is dated Nov., 1908, mere weeks after Mary/Frank's arrival in early October, and it directs Ellis Island not to repeat what they did in that case: replace Frank's listing with Mary's name.  That much I suspect will be uncontroversial.
However, we should recognize that this directive will result in Inspectors telling any immigrant who reports that the name in the listing isn't his/hers that the error cannot be corrected.  That means the listing will continue to match any documents derived from it, including the landing tag and medical inspection card -- it's possible the reason for the directive was to make unnecessary any work involved in correcting these derivative documents as well.  I find it eminently credible that an immigrant who has been told that the name (s)he has seen on his/her medical inspection card, and on his/her landing tag, and that cannot be changed on the manifest will describe this as "We were told at Ellis Island that our name is ...," thereby giving rise to the belief that their name had been changed against their will.  There is no barrier, even theoretically, to errors being made in the writing of the manifests.
This regulation would have been in effect from 1908 to sometime before 1923 (The end date comes from the manifest for the ship that brought my father to New York, which had 51 listings corrected.  The actual end date may be as early as 1917.), years accounting for a significant fraction of all immigrants.  Educated guesses as to the ages of these arrivals suggest this generation would have died off during the 1960s and 1970s, when NARA reported receiving requests for documentary evidence for the name-change narratives.  In turn, these requests prompted a question to Marian Smith at a training event she conducted for NARA in the 1990s, to which she responded that no such documents existed.  I have queried her through various channels about whether her belief in the meme is based on researching the issue, but she has never replied.  I can't come up with a reason not to if she had actual evidence that the meme is correct.
The "no involuntary name-changes" meme appears to be derived from this answer, but that is the logical error known as an argument from ignorance, whose best-known form is "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence."  In our context, that would read, "Absence of documentary evidence of involuntary name-changes is evidence that such changes did not occur."  None of the other dozen or so "proofs" for the meme holds up any better.  What I call the "Demonicus Snotgrubber" argument, that the mechanism behind the involuntary name-change narratives was that inspectors looked at immigrants and arbitrarily changed names on the spot, giving people they liked nice names, while those they didn't became "Demonicus Snotgrubber," has never been more than a straw man.  That this mechanism is a crock doesn't mean other mechanisms don't exist.
There is no case supporting the meme that involuntary name-changes could not happen, and now we have a second mechanism for how they could.  (The first appeared in a flow-chart in my article in Avotaynu, Vol.~34, \#1, Spring, 2018, p.~34.)   I hope readers appreciate the irony that a missing document on which Edward David Luft relies to substantiate his belief in the meme turned out to be the key to demonstrating that it is wrong.  The emperor is naked after all.
Yale Zussman

Re: Did you go to a Jewish summer camp? #usa

Jay Hamburger

Attended Camp Herzl at Devil's Lake, WI in about '61ish and Young Judea in Wimberly, TX several years in the late '50's - mid-'60s.  Also, Echo Hill in Kerrville TX in'55.  It is a Jewish-owned camp run by Kinky Friedman's siblings.  Many extended family members went to Ramah & others.


translation , GOLD, GILCHENSKI #yiddish #translation

David Buford

If anyone knows Yiddish please help.

Linda Gold Buford

                      Kobryn, Belarus Belarus - KAMENETZKI - KAMIENKA
                      Russia - SALIMAN, SCHREIBER, SEGAL, WALDMANN
                      Israel - PALTER

Summer day camp Miami #usa


My mother, Miriam Weinberger August, started the first Jewish Day Camp (and Jewish kindergarten) in the Miami area in the early 1950's which was through North Dade Jewish Center which later became Congregation Yehuda Moshe. I felt such a sense of community during those years which continues to this day.  We were always singing Hebrew songs which filled the buses whenever we went somewhere off campus.  
Robin August, Ph.D.

Re: What to do on Ancestry when the names change but the places don't? #general

Sherri Bobish


Do you know the names of the town(s) that they came from, or are you trying to find out those town names?

If you know the name of a town than you can put the town name in the birth field in Ancestry.  Although, that can be tricky if the town was often mispelled, or had name variants that differ greatly from the standard name.

When you type in a town name in the birth field in Ancestry it will pop up with one or more towns to choose from, and Ancestry uses the name of the country to which the town belongs today.

For example, my family was from Ariogala in The Russian Empire (1890's geography.)  Ancestry will use Ariogla, Lithuania.

If you can be more specific about your question than I can try to help more.

Have a nice day,

Sherri Bobish

RATOWSKY / CHAIMSON (Ariogala, Lith.)
LEFFENFELD / FINK / KALTER (Daliowa & Jasliska, Pol.)
BOJDA / BLEIWEISS (Tarnow & Tarnobrzeg, Pol.)
WALTZMAN / WALZMAN (Ustrzyki Dolne, Pol.)
LEVY (Tyrawa Woloska, Pol.)
SOLON / SOLAN / SOKOLSKY (Grodek, Bialystok, Pol.)
BOBISH / BLUMENKRANZ / APPEL / WEINER / ROSENBERG (Vysoko-Litovsk, Brest, Biala Podlaska)

Re: What to do on Ancestry when the names change but the places don't? #general


Ancestry uses a fuzzy matching algorithm for many search fields. Unless you click on "Exact" and even then, it would typically search for both Russia and Poland. You can also include both Russia and Poland in your searches. Worst case, you can move the sliders next to the various fields to widen or narrow your search region.

Another example is Hungary where it would find Slovakia, Czechoslovakia and even Ukraine.
Jeff Goldner
Researching Goldner, Singer, Neuman, Braun, Schwartz, Gluck, Reichfeld (Hungary/Slovakia); Adler, Roth, Ader (Galicia); Soltz/Shultz/Zuckerman/Zicherman (Vitebsk, maybe Lithuania), Wald and Grunfeld (Secovce, Slovakia fka Galszecs)

Re: What to do on Ancestry when the names change but the places don't? #general

Shelley Mitchell

When you research on Ancestry, when you put in the name of the city, options will pop up. Before doing that, though, you might want to check JewishGen’s Communities Database to see the present name and country. A large portion of cities became part of Ukraine including Galicia (Ivano-Frankvist).

Shelley Mitchell, NYC

Re: Did you go to a Jewish summer camp? #usa


I went to two Jewish summer camps. The first one I went to was Camp Tel Yehuda, which was a Young Judaea camp in Barryville, NY, at the end of ninth grade which would be the summer of 1959. For the next three summers I went to Camp Ramah, a Hebrew speaking camp, in the Poconos, and in Nyack, NY. At both camps I met a lot of other Jewish teenagers from all around the country.
Judi Langer-Surnamer Caplan

Re: What to do on Ancestry when the names change but the places don't? #general

Brad Rubin

You need to know and search for all possible place name changes and variations.  In general, original records were recorded with the name of the place at the time of the recording and indexed accordingly.  However, our ancestors answered a simple question like "where were you born?" at times with the place name in effect when they were born and at times with the current place name (i.e. Russian Empire vs. Poland) and again indexed accordingly.  Compounding this problem is the wide variation in spellings.  For example, Szczuczyn is sometimes recorded and indexed as Stuchin, etc.

-- Brad Rubin

Re: Any sources/people on the Ruzhiner Rebbe? #rabbinic

Ethan Parmet


Thank you very much for the second two links, but I have not been able to find how the first 4 connect to the Rebbe. Is there a way to determine their line of connection to him?


Ethan Parmet
Philadelphia, PA

Inhabitants Alt Schotland around 1891 #poland


Dear all,
Maybe useful..
Enclosed a list names of poor inhabitants of Alt Schotland (Danzig/Gdansk) that I found listed as potential beneficiaries of the Perlach family foundation when they were in the process of moving their business to Konigsberg (Kaliningrad).

Ron Peeters(NL)

Buenos Aires Cemeteries #general

Abuwasta Abuwasta

Tried to enter their website and got "404 " Does any one have a working website?


Jacob Rosen


Re: Did you go to a Jewish summer camp? #usa

Alan Reische

I should have added that each of the boy camps had a sister camp located in the immediate vicinity: Samoset>>>>Kearsarge, and Winaukee>>>>>>>Robindel. Robindel still operates in Moultonboro; Kear-Sarge closed some years ago, but there are a number of blog postings about the favorable experience there. The sad truth is that many of these camps were located on prime real estate and it requires both enormous dedication to say 'no' to high seven figure offers from developers, and significant capital reserves to keep running over the years.

Alan Reische
Manchester NH

Re: Burial in Jaffa 1860s-1890s #israel


According to their Hebrew web site, the phone number of the old Jewish cemetery in Jaffa is +972-3-7953600.
When calling, there is an option to be directed to an English speaker.
Hope this helps.
Steve Goldberg
Jerusalem, Israel
Sagan/Shagan family from Veliuona (Velon), Lithuania
Goldberg family from Vidukle, Lithuania
Susselovitch/Zuselovitch family from Raseiniai (Rassein), Lithuania

Re: Unusual style of writing dates #ukraine


I would surmise that July 27, 692 = July 27, 5692 = July 27, 1932.(where the year is the accepted abbreviated form of the Jewish year)
Likewise October 30, 712 - October 30, 5712 = October 30, 1951
Steve Goldberg
Jerusalem, Israel
Sagan/Shagan family from Veliuona (Velon), Lithuania
Goldberg family from Vidukle, Lithuania
Susselovitch/Zuselovitch family from Raseiniai (Rassein), Lithuania

Viewmate translation request - Russian #translation

Borisy, Gary

I've posted a marriage record in Russian for my uncle Leib Borysy for which I would greatly appreciate a translation. It is on ViewMate at the following address ...
Please respond via the form provided on the ViewMate image page.
I believe the marriage occurred in Kalisz, Poland. Thank you very much for your help.
Gary Borisy



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