Unsolicited Surname Information Requests #general


Although I can sympathize somewhat with Ms. Greenblatt (my surname is
FRIEDMAN-how much more common can you get than that!), I thought the entire
purpose of genealogical research (especially on the internet) was to make

I think it's wonderful that she knows *exactly* where her ancestors were at
any given time in the past. I wish I knew half as much about my ancestors.
(They're >from "Russia" according to my parents).

For those of you who have been researching longer and who have more
information, please be patient with those of us who do not have your
experience or information. We want to learn >from you.

I have checked the listings on JewishGen Family Finder, etc. for my
surnames. Many of the postings are several years old and the e-mail
addresses bounce. Yes, I have also posted my own listings and I have not
received any responses >from them yet.

Since I know that I have relatives out there that my immediate family has
lost track of (some may be alive, some may have passed on), I make it a
point to try to contact anyone who has a similar surname in the hopes of
making a connection. I try to do this as politely as possible. I cannot
force people to respond. If you don't want to answer, don't answer, but I
don't see why I don't have the right to ask.

I should think that if I were truly annoyed by unsolicited requests about
my surname that I certainly would not join genealogical mailing lists!

I apologize if this sounds like an attack against Ms. Greenblatt. It is not
intended as such. It is actually an attack against intolerance. (If you
want to know what the results of an attitude of intolerance are, read the
history books.) Intolerance helps no one. Consider the other person's
circumstances. Do good to others. This is now, and always has been, the
Jewish way.

Vicki Ina Friedman
Acworth, GA, USA

From: Ada Greenblatt <ada.Greenblatt@postoffice.worldnet.att.net>
Inevitably whenever I post a message to this forum, often the only
response that greets it has nothing to do with the matter at hand, but
rather a question asking if I am related to or connected with this or that
GREENBLATT. The latest example was that my message about the upcoming
March 4, 2001 JGSNY "Beyond the Basics" Seminar was met with:

"Do you by any chance have ..."

Since I am getting at least a dozen of these type messages per year, it is
time to set the record straight about the surname GREENBLATT, which is
something I've wanted to do for some time now.

The point I'm making is that one cannot assume that all GREENBLATT's are
related to each other. There are simply too many of them and they were too
widespread in area. In other words, a single-surname research group for
GREENBLATT would not be recommended, as appealing as the idea is.

In the future, before one posts a message to a total stranger asking about
the surname GREENBLATT or any other common surname, it is important to
first check the surname in the JGFF and see if the intended recipient of
your message is listed. In a case like GREENBLATT, it is not enough for
just the surname to match -- both the country and the town of research
have to match as well. It's not a matter of either the country or the
town, but rather both. Otherwise it is an exercise in futility and
unproductivity, both on your part as well as on the part of the person who
has to take the time to negatively respond to your message. >>

Adelle Gloger

Dear JewishGen Community,

Vicki Friedman posted a response to Ada Greenblatt's message about
receiving inquiries based on surnames. Ms. Greenblatt, it appears, only
wants inquiries where the surname is an exact spelling, and only >from

I must agree with Ms. Friedman, that some of the reasons of the
JewishGen mail list is to learn and connect.

Our ancestors moved around, and spellings of names changed as well. An
exact spelling and location are only a starting point. As the immigrants
came to the USA and other countries, and spellings of names changed and
names themselves changed, we must look beyond. We cannot say that our
family name is this or that; and that we only lived here or there.
We must remain open to the possibility that some relative, someplace, has a
name with a variant spelling. The relative of an ancestor may have left
the ancestral shtetl on his way to the 'new world', and ended up settling
somewhere else in Europe, the UK, South America or where ever.

Let's all keep an open mind to the possibility that we have family we
never heard about in a place that is not familiar. There is no telling
where an unsolicited inquiry with take us.

Adelle Weintraub Gloger
Shaker Hts., Ohio

Sally Bruckheimer <sallybru@...>

May I apologize to you for the genealogical community. Most of us
welcome a possible new relative (if we didn't we wouldn't be here).
There is no way that anyone can say that a certain surname is related to
you only if the person comes >from one certain town. Most of our
ancestors moved around a great deal-voluntarily and otherwise. That is
one reason that JRI-PP and its equivalents are so useful; I found a
marriage record for my 2nd gr gf's brother in a small town near the town
I know-that is the only record I have found of the family as the exact
town's records are gone.

I have some common surnames (Hirsch and Loewenstein for 2 examples) and
have gotten many emails >from descendants of both these names >from
different countries. All I can do is say sorry, it doesn't appear we
are related. In fact, I don't know exactly where my Loewensteins came
from so I have looked at the records of a couple of these non-relatives
ancestors to try and find mine. They are thrilled and want me to do
more, but they aren't mine-they only get what I did.

One thing that I find with email is that often it gets overwhelming. I
have sometimes gotten 100 or more emails in a day-usually when someone
tries to start a new mailing group and everyone copies everyone with
"Great, I'm interested." Well, getting 100 of those messages is enough
to lose interest.

I am sure that you must have caught your Greenblatt person on such a
day. We all try to be helpful and friendly, but sometimes...

Your remarks are very pertinent. We all try to be tolerant, but
sometimes we have bad days, hopefully only a few of them.

Sally Bruckheimer
Buffalo, NY

Daniel Kazez <dkazez@...>

In further discussion of "Unsolicited Surname Information Requests":

It would impossible for readers to guess the intentions, goals,
and missions of others. Allow me to explain, for the sake of
illustration and for the sake of my own tree.

My interest in the surnames that I list in my signature is as

KAZEZ-KAZES: I am interested in all of the Jewish Kazez families
in the world, with any spelling and with any country of origin.

TALMAN: I seek information on all Jewish Talmans >from Poland.
It appears all Jews >from Poland named Talman might be related.

ENGLANDER: Englander is an exceedingly common name among Jews
throughout eastern Europe. I am only interested in Englanders
who are very likely to be related to me.

JURKIEWICZ: For Jurkiewicz, I am still learning; I know little;
I am trying to learn.

STRAUSBERG: Strausberg is the married name >from one branch of my
tree. My interest is very limited indeed!

KIFER: For Kifer, I am in the learning stage.

CZAPNIK: Czapnik is the name--through marriage--for one branch
of my family tree.

OBERMAN-HOBERMAN-GUBERMAN: I have tons of information on Oberman
and (its variants) in Ukraine. I want to learn more.

LISS: I have much research behind me on the Liss families in
Ukraine. I need to learn more.

SOBLE-SOBEL: Soble is the name--through marriage--of one very
large branch of my family tree.

STEIN: Stein, a very common name, is not central to my research.

AXMAN: Axman is a rare name, about which I know almost nothing.

FRESKO-FRESCO and ALHADEFF-ELHADEF: I am trying to learn whatever
I can about Fresko and Alhadeff families >from Turkey, Rhodes,
Aleppo, and other nearby areas.

As you can see >from the list above, when someone contacts me
regarding one of my names, I might be thrilled or not. I would
think, however that those of us who list common names might need
to be ready for frequent queries. Personally, I'd love to have
too much mail, rather then too little.

Potential cousins: my mail box is open, waiting for you to appear!!


Daniel Kazez <dkazez@mail.wittenberg.edu>
Springfield, Ohio USA