Re: Name Variations (was: "His name was changed at Ellis Island") #names

Lee Jaffe

Thanks for moving the discussion to a new thread.  I have a name change case in my family and a more general related question.

My great-grandfather was born Mendel Stzejnsapir. In Bialystok in 1864  We found him in departure documents  traveling 1891 from Liverpool to NYC under the name Mendel Sapier.  We dont on't know when or how he got from Bialystok to England.  Once in the US he adopted the name Stein.  I have no idea about the  how of why of theses changes but I'm interested in knowing the mechanics of identity in crossing borders.  What kind of ID would a Jew in the Pale have and what would they need to cross borders?  I assume a passport was not an option.  If they left the Pale without papers, how could they purchase passage sailing to the US?  I assume that there'd be some leeway if you could show you were in transit to another destination but they'd need to have ID papers  of some sort at later stages of the crossing.  How did that work?

Lee Jaffe

A tribute to "the man who saved Jewish Waldheim Cemetery" #usa

Martin Fischer

The community newspaper article linked below from Forest Park, Illinois, is not new, but I only became aware of it this week. It tells the story of an important leader of the largest Jewish cemetery in the Chicago area. 
Waldheim Jewish cemetery was founded during the second wave of Jewish immigration to Chicago in the late-19th century.  With immigrants insisting on their own Jewish cemeteries, these groups eagerly looked for a cemetery to sell its members plots in their own specially created sections. Beginning in 1870, over 280 cemetery sections representing various Chicago family groups, synagogues, vereins, landsmanshaften, and other organizations purchased sections in Waldheim Cemetery located in the suburban municipality of Forest Park, just 9 miles west of the Chicago Loop. Waldheim was unique in that, although it was one cemetery, it was composed of 288 separate cemeteries with different owners, prices, rules, regulations and individual caretakers.
Today, different parts of Waldheim are managed by two different companies: Waldheim Cemetery Co., 1400 Desplaines Ave., Forest Park, Illinois; and Silverman & Weiss Inc., 1303 Desplaines Ave., Forest Park, Illinois.
A 2012 interview with Lapping is on YouTube at
Martin Fischer
Vice President-Publicity
Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

Martin Fischer
Vice President-Publicity
Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

JGSI website:

Re: Research individuals in France #france

Bernard Flam

Hi from Paris,
Dear detectives,
As I have told often on this forum, privacy is very well protected in France : no hope to enter a name as we do on "Ancestry" for USA and then discover data registered all their / your life long.
Even for our family emigrating to France, what do we use to find Jewish migrant traces when we start with a name only?
1.      From 1881 to 1939 :

1.1.   Naturalization was easy after some years living there, especially after WW1, as 1.5 million of French men had been killed. Naturalization files were not only a form, but a file filled by 10 to 30 documents, including list of parents & siblings living in foreign countries, vital records, places of life from old country to France, attestations of wages, housing... These files were established by administration and are carefully kept in French National Archives. So we always start by getting a copy of each file.

1.1.1.     for each person, acceptance of naturalization was made by a Presidential decree and each decree was / is published in the "Journal Officiel de la République Française, Official publication of laws of French Republique". From 1880 to 1949 (confidentiality of 70 years), you can find all decrees by searching your "names" at;2&lang=EN

1.1.2.     In this same databases, you will also find decrees of "denaturalization" during Shoah in France when new Jewish French citizen were deprived from their citizenship by collaborationist Petain's government.

1.1.3.     During same period, also decrees of "aryanisation" of Jewish business and shops (even very small), transferring Jewish property to non-Jewish collaborators.

1.1.4.     With reference of naturalization decree, you must fill an inquiry to French National Archives to get a copy of your file (or visit archives, a few metro stations from Paris):

1.1.5.     Unfortunately, they are still closed due to Covid pandemic.

1.1.6.     Important notice: for French Revolution, France applies "jus soli", each child born in France is French, even from foreign parents. So these children aren't registered in these archives.


1.2.   If your relatives were living in Paris, you can find census of Paris, school lists, registration of business ( even a small shop)  in Paris Archives :


2.      during WWII & Shoah in France

2.1.   Comparable to USHMM, Memorial de la Shoah in Paris is our main institution, you can search deportees from France at

2.2.   French administration keep deportees' files completed after 1945 for administrative purposes :

2.3.   French Army archives to search soldiers, KIA, POW, including voluntary engagement of foreign Jews in Foreign Legion in 1939/1940

 Even if most of our archives haven't recovered a normal activity, you can start searches & inquiries.


Bernard Flam

Archives & history of Medem Center - Arbeter Ring (Bund) of France

Jewish genealogy workshop of Medem Center


Searching : FLAM, AGID around Olesko, Brody & Lemberg




Re: Where can I find this book? (was: Szabadalmas Munkács város levéltára) #hungary #general

Bob Friedman

Any time you want to locate a book in a library, the best place to search is at

(or )
Bob Friedman
Brooklyn, NY

Why would my Grandfather travel under his older brother's name? #names

loren greenberg

My Grandfather immigrated alone from Lithuania to NYC in 1912. He was approximately 14 years old.
He traveled under his older brother's name. His older brother was already in the US.

1) Why would he use his brother's name?
2) What documents, if any, did he have to show when purchasing his ship ticket and traveling?

Thank you for your help.

Loren Greenberg

Re: Does anyone know where Nishene Russia is? #poland #russia

Deanna Levinsky <DEANNASMAC@...>

My grandmother was from Nezhin which is in Ukraine. Pronounced 
Neh-zchin. It’s in the Chernihivsha Oblast
Deanna Mandel Levinsky 
Long Island New York 
Deanna Mandel Levinsky

Deanna M. Levinsky, Long Island, NY

Re: Brody, Ukraine - seeking a book about Brody #galicia


The book you are looking for is available online at several places. Just Google the title and you will find it.
Jan Enns

Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names

Michele Lock

I have an example of how a first name got changed during the journey from Lithuania to the US, which likely could also happen to a surname.

I was looking into the couple Abram and Rose Schiffman, who came here about 1891 and whose children were all born here in the US, and who came from Lithuania, but where I didn't know. So, I was looking for a young couple, likely in their 20s, no children. And I quickly found an Abram and Therese Schiffman from Schalen (Siauliai) coming from Hamburg to NY, early 1892. What puzzled me was the name Therese, which I haven't seen before for a Jewish woman from Eastern Europe. Maybe this was the couple I was looking for, maybe not. 

Luckily, I have a photo of the couple's gravestone here in the US, which shows Rose's Yiddish name as Etta Reiza. I believe what happened is when either the tickets were purchased or when the couple arrived at the ship in Hamburg, that when her name was pronounced, the clerk only heard 'Ta Reiza', and he missed the 'Et' part. So, her name sounded like 'Therese', and was written down that way. She and her husband must have been confused during their journey and at Ellis Island why her first name was suddenly Therese, which to them would have sounded like 'Ta Reiza'. or possible 'Ta Reiz'. Perhaps this had an effect on her going by 'Rose', here in the US.

But still, I also believe that immigration officials here in the US did not change names. Mistakes/Mis-hearings/Miss-spellings would have happened at other times, either when the tickets were purchases her in the US or Europe, or when they arrived at the German ports and gave their names to the ship clerks.

I have a great aunt Mollie (Yiddish name Malke), who traveled here to Philadelphia under the name 'Mary Lack'. I was puzzled by this until I found her older brother here in the US had purchased her ticket, and must have given the clerk the name 'Mary'. She must have been very confused as to why she kept being called by Mary during her trip. 

Michele Lock
Alexandria, VA

Searching for:
Olitsky - Alytus, Lith.
Leybman/Leapman/Lippman - Dotnuva, Lith.
Lock/Lak/Lack - Zagare/Gruzd, Lith.
Kolon/Kalen/Colon - Joniskis/Zagare, Lith.

Re: Name Variations (was: "His name was changed at Ellis Island") #names

Debby Gincig Painter

Many times people used a last name for years but since it was never legal changed, their birth last name was used on official documents and gravestones.

How to determine Warsaw street address? #warsaw

Elizabeth Jackson

If a Warsaw house number is indicated as "1101" in 1865, is there a way to determine where it was located?

Does anyone know where Nishene Russia is? #poland #russia

Karen Gramigna-Warren

I've found the Nationalization papers for a relative, Philip Levine in Texas, and in them he states he is from Nishene, Russia (papers will filled out in 1943).  I have his Uncle saying he was from Warsaw Poland and many other family members stating Poland, Russia and Russia.  I know borders changed a lot through the beginning of the 20th century.  I've tried to find Nishene on JewishGen, thinking it was in Poland but I get like 11 hits in the "sounds Like" search.  One town, Nadarzyn, is 13 miles SW of Warsaw, so maybe that's a possibility.  Just want to know if anyone else has seen this town name and maybe where it is located?


Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names

Bob Bloomberg

Once again, a perfect, flawless system.  I am surprised we haven't copied it in other places. Just think: Any errors occurred before the immigrant arrived.  All immigrants had name tags that corresponded exactly with the manifest, which was clearly legible.  No one was rushed, harried, or bored. I am truly impressed.

Re: Lincoln Brigade and Spanish Civil War #usa

Erika Gottfried

Not sure why Ken Ryesky had trouble getting access to the ALBA Archives. The vast ALBA collections at the Tamiment Library at New York University are, and always have been, open to everybody, but one needs to register and make an appointment in advance and also request the materials wanted in advance.  These materials can be pinpointed by consulting the online guides to the collections (here is a link to a list, although it may not be absolutely conclusive:✓&f%5Brepository_sim%5D%5B%5D=tamwag&op=AND&all_fields=&unittitle_teim=&unitid_teim=ALBA&collection_teim=&f_inclusive%5Brepository_sim%5D%5B%5D=tamwag&sort=score+desc&search_field=advanced&commit=Search , as well as the overall description of the collections ( ) mentioned by Ken.  
The records are very rich and include the files on individuals from the Comintern Archives in Moscow (on microfilm). In addition to the ALBA collections themselves, the Library holds myriad additional related collections and materials, so it’s a good idea to also get in touch with Shannon O’Neill (smo224@...), the current Curator for the Tamiment Library (and also for the Robert F. Wagner Labort Archives), before visiting so that she can help guide you to these materials. 

ALBA the organization (which, confusingly, is not the same as the actual Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives that reside at Tamiment) has a searchable database ( ) of North American volunteers. 

Erika Gottfried
Teaneck, New Jersey

Re: Origin of the name LAJOUS #france


The Hungarian name Lajos never has a 'u' in it, so given that this is in France, I highly doubt that the surname has anything to do with Ludovicus. Since it's in France, I would parse it as La- "the" and -jous (which according to Bernard Flam's post above may have something to do with "below", either literally or figuratively).

. /\ /\

Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names

Bob Bloomberg

I did not say that anyone wrote a name down.  What I said was that people make mistakes, especially when overwhelmed, over worked  and maybe not paying strict attention.  Name tag or no, manifest or no, questions or no, mistakes were made, and names INADVERTENTLY were changed.  You might want to read Dahn Cukier's response.
What I don't understand is why people blame the discrepancies on points of embarkation, faulty manifests, whatever, but NEVER at Ellis Island.

Hebrew record, is Fani Taub here? #hungary

Emma Cole

I am looking for the birth record of Fani Taub, born in Altofen, Budapest in 1812. Please can someone let me know if she is on the record linked below, I can't read Hebrew unfortunately, and I can only see male names on Family Search. Thank you so much for your help!

Re: Two death Dates On Lithuanian Data Base #lithuania #general

Elise Cundiff

In one branch of my family, two names (Itzik and Yehuda) alternated through several generation - so I have 3 of each identical name just in that direct line, plus others from uncles and nephews.    It could be that one of yours is a father or uncle, the other is a son or nephew or cousin 

Slonim Yiskor Book #yizkorbooks

Alan Tapper

Does anyone know where I might purchase the SLONIM yiskor book in English?

Alan Tapper. Sabaalan@...

MENDELOWITZ family in Slonim #belarus

Alan Tapper

My MENDELOWITZ family has lived in and around Slonim for over 200 years.  Am looking for historical pictures of what life was like.  Can you help me?
Sabaalan@.... Alan Tapper

Re: Looking to hire private researcher in Przemyśl (or nearby) #poland #general


I have used Krzysztof Malczewski (krystek@...) mob +48 601 330393 many times with great satisfaction.

Best Regards,

Frank Swartz