Polish/Austrian Jewish or NO? #poland #usa


Hi Julie

The first step should be to search and find all documents in the United States about your grandmother and her parents who could contain their places and dates of birth in Poland. This are the passenger manifest, naturalisation papers, passport applications, marriage and death records and military papers like World War I Draft Card or World War II Draft Card. All this sorts of documents are online on familysearch. Naturalisation papers often also mention if the person immigrated with another surname than later used in the United States which is often the case with Eastern European surnames. Once you know their place of birth you can find the church records on the relevant polish archives websites which have such records online or the Jewish records on JewishGen or Gesher Galicia.

Corinne Iten


The 1% Jewish ethnicity for your grandmother indicates that her parents were not Jewish. It was not uncommon for Poles who lived closely or worked with Jews to learn Yiddish. Such things even happened in the USA. Colin Powell just died recently, read about his exposure to Yiddish.
Stephen Schmideg
Melbourne, Australia


Hi Julie
In my own genealogical research experience (for over 15 years!) The most important thing is to find the birth certificates of your grandparents. If you know their dates and place of birth and / or dates of death, you can start building your tree on FamilySearch and / or Geni.com.
Ancestry and My heritage are paid sites for obtaining documents or contacting contributors.
The 1st site is free. It is owned by Mormons, who digitized most church records, both Catholic / Protestant, and Jewish.
By simply entering the complete civil status of the ancestors, their search engine offers you documents that are immediately searchable, if the microfilms have been translated. If they haven't already been, you will need to search the microfilm of the place of birth for each parent. It is often tedious but it allows you to advance in your research.
You can also create the same tree on Geni.com, which is also largely free.
If you do not have access to paid documents, other contributors to the site will be able to grow your tree for free. I found several cousins ​​still alive thanks to these two sites.
If you need more explanation, you can write to me in private.
Good luck

Elisabeth Stamminger 


Hi! I am trying to find out if my Polish great grandfather and grandmother emmigrated to the US to escape persecution for their faith in the first wave of people leaving Easter Europe pre-WWII (they arrived in the US in 1907). Their daughter - my grandmother - was raised Catholic in a Polish neighborhood in Philadelphia, but she once told me that her father read the Yiddish newspaper (delivered to their home). I was very interested by that - where did he learn to read Yiddish? She said that he read it b/c his employees (he was a tailor/garment supervisor) were Jewish. I am not convinced. 

She has since passed but did agree to do an ancestry screening for me when she was still with us. Her results showed 1% Jewish ancestry but have increased since her listing on ancestry.com has circulated. 

Where should I start? Is it possible they changed their faith after fleeing? Are there other stories of this in the US? 

Thank you for any insight and/or direction you can provide! 

Julie Dengler 
Philadelphia PA