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

Bruce Drake

“The history of Jewish names is a study on its own and leaves a wide valley to wander in” begins “The Study of Names” from the Yizkor book of Bobrka (Boiberke) in the Ukraine. It’s an often amusing account of how Jews acquired decent names, indecent names and nicknames, not to mention names glued to people by the authorities “and at times with malice.” One protection was the Jewish tradition of naming children: “Each Jew, apart from his name he carried his father's and his mother's names and the name that was added to him from his connection to his respected mother in-law… Could you bring it to your mind that a father will name his son using an indecent name?”

For some, it did not work out for the best: one young woman had “reached the age of marriage, but a savior was not found for her, because her father's name was “Hershel Berer” meaning Blen [bath attendant], an occupation that was not considered to be proper for match-making.” Or they had to go through life with nicknames like Leyzale the Floy [Flea] (due to her miniature size), or Yankel Zindel, meaning, Yankel the Stammer (because “cut of his speech was not very smooth.”)

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

Bob Fitterman

I interacted with NIAB Grodno in 2013 and was able to obtain a single record. I told them what record I wanted. They replied with a draft invoice and the forms I had to complete. The invoice included SWIFT transfer information for their bank and I was able to wire the funds to their account. Each step of the process was slow and it was a few months after the payment and submission of forms that my records were delivered by the postal service.

I was able to do everything via bilingual emails (English/Russian). The Russian was all translated via Google Translate and while it wasn't perfect it was enough to facilitate the transaction. Their responses I received were only in Russian.

Bob Fitterman
New York City