15 August 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Murray and Rickie Krakowsky, Beth Moses Cemetery, Pinelawn, New York

Murray Herman Krakowsky was the son of Abraham Krakowsky and Rose Schwartz Krakowsky. Rickie (aka Roslyn) Ensler Krakowsky was born in New York on 6 August 1915 to Rubin Ensler and Pauline Gross Ensler.

Here lies
Moshe Chaim son of Avraham
Pinchas haLevi
DIED DEC. 15, 2001 - AGE 89 YEARS

Here lies
Reikel daughter of Reuven
DIED AUG. 8, 1976 - AGE 61 YRS. 

It is likely that Murray was born on 30 July 1912 in New York City. That is the information provided in his Social Security information.[1] However, when his father, Abe, naturalized, he indicated that his only son, then called Morris, was born on 30 August 1912.[2]

I have located the indexed entry for Murray and Roslyn's marriage license application in the Bronx on 21 May 1938.[3] They likely married within a week or two of this date.

In 1940, they lived at 1424 Walter Avenue, Bronx, NY.[4] Murray was a fireman and Roslyn was a stock clerk at a ladies underwear business. According to his obituary, Murray served as a New York City fireman for 20 years.[5]

Murray and Rickie Krakowsky had two children: Flora and Robert.

After Rickie's death in 1976, Murray remarried. He and Gertrude P. Foreman applied for a marriage license in the Bronx in 1981.[6]

Public records indexes on Ancestry and FamilySearch show that Murray lived at some point in Lakewood, New Jersey. In the 1990s, he lived in Deerfield Beach, Florida. His last residence, according to the Social Security Death Index, was Highland Park, Lake County, Illinois.

Graves for Murray Krakowsky and Rickie Krakowsky are located in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot, block 24, Maccabee Road, Beth Moses Cemetery, Pinelawn, New York.

1. "Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 April 2017), entry for Murray H. Krakowsky, SSN 124-10-2786, 15 December 2001.
   "U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 August2017), entry for Murray Herman Krakowsky, SSN 124102786, 15 December 2001.
2. Abe Krakowsky nat pet
3. "New York City, Marriage Indexes, 1907-1995," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 August 2017), entry for Murray Krakowsky and Roslyn Ensler, 21 May 1938, Bronx County, New York; citing Municipal Archives, New York City.
4. 1940 U.S. Census, Bronx County, New York, population schedule, Bronx, enumeration district 3-163, sheet 61B, household 199, Murray and Roslyn Krakowsky; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 April 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2464.
5. "Murray H. Krakowsky," obituary, Chicago Tribune (Chicago Illinois), 18 December 2001; online transcription, Legacy (http://www.legacy.com : accessed 18 April 2017).
6. "New York City, Marriage Indexes, 1907-1995," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 August 2017), entry for Murray Krakowsky and Gertrude P  Foreman, 1981, Bronx County, New York; citing Municipal Archives, New York City.

08 August 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Sonia Krakowsky, Beth Moses Cemetery, Pinelawn, NY

Last week I chronicled Abraham and Rose Krakowsky. After Rose died in 1960, and in 1961 Abraham married Sonia Bachman, a twice-married widow. They were married for about 16 years before Sonia passed away.

Here lies
Sarah daughter of Asher
DIED MARCH 12, 1977

Sarah Kuszner (likely pronounced Kushner) was born in Starokostyantyniv (a larger community located 32 km SSE of Labun) in about 1901 and immigrated to the United States on the S.S. Aquitania.[1] She landed in New York on 7 April 1922. While she was met by her brother Abraham who lived in the Bronx, she ultimately wound up in Boston.

In Boston on 7 December 1924, Sarah (now Sonia) married Morris Fertel.[2] Morris, born in Hrytsiv (a small community 8 miles SE of Labun) managed, and eventually owned, a grocery store.[3]  

Morris and Sonia Fertel had three children: Arthur (1925-2016), Alice and Arnold.

Morris Fertel died on 23 April 1938. His grave is in the Staro Konstantinov Cemetery, West Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. After his death, Sonia continued to run their grocery.[4]

Sonia married Harry Bachman in the Bronx on 24 February 1946. This information comes from her naturalization file and is confirmed by an indexed marriage license application dated 21 February 1946.[5] I have not yet acquired that document.

Sonia Bachman stayed in Boston and she and Harry ran the grocery.[6]

I have not determined what happened to Harry Bachman, but sometime in 1961, Sonia and Abe Krakowsky applied for a marriage license in the Bronx.[7]

Sonia's Social Security Death Index record indicates she was born 24 March 1901 and her last residence was in the Bronx.[8]

She is interred in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot, block 24, Maccabee Road, Beth Moses Cemetery, Pinelawn, New York.

1. Manifest, S.S. Aquitania, 7April 1922, stamped p. C2, line 6, Sarah Kuszner, age 20; images, New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 August 2017).
2. Sonia Fertel naturalization file no. 235423 (July 1942), U.S. District Court of Massachusetts at Boston; images, "Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 August 2017); NARA Record Group 21, Records of the District Courts of the United States.
3. Morris Fertel, naturalization file no. 107634 (February 1929), U.S. District Court of Massachusetts at Boston; images, "Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 August 2017); NARA Record Group 21, Records of the District Courts of the United States.
   Manifest, S.S. Samland, 2 July 1921, p. 47, line 4, Mojshe Fertel, age 20; images, Pennsylvania Passenger Lists, 1800-1962," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 August 2017).
   1930 U.S. census, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Boston, enumeration district 13-395, sheet 13B, dwelling 19, family 73, Morris and Sonia Fertel family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 August 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 951.
4. Sonia Fertel naturalization file no. 235423 (July 1942), U.S. District Court of Massachusetts at Boston.
   Morris Fertel, naturalization file no. 107634 (February 1929), U.S. District Court of Massachusetts at Boston.
   1940 U.S. census, Suffolk Co., MA, pop. sched., Boston, enumeration district 15-503, sheet 8A, household 178, Sonia Fertel family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 August 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1673.
5. Bronx County, New York, affidavit and license to marry, Harry Bachman and Sonia Fertel, application date 21 February 1946; "New York City, Marriage Indexes, 1907-1995," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 August 2017); citing Municipal Archives, New York City.
6. "U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995," images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 August 2017); entry for Harry Bachman, Boston City Directory, 1952, p. 294.
7. Bronx County, New York, affidavit and license to marry, Abraham Krakowsky and Sonia Bachmanl, application date 1961; "New York City, Marriage Indexes, 1907-1995," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 July 2017); citing Municipal Archives, New York City.
8. "U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014," index, Ancestry (http://www. ancestry.com : accessed 5 August 2017); entry for Sonia Krakowsky, SSN 061-52-8258, Mar 1977.

01 August 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Abe and Rose Schwartz Krakowsky, Beth Moses Cemetery, Pinelawn, NY

I love when things fall into place!

A few weeks ago I posted about Emil and Rozalia Berla who were related to Abe Krakowsky, a mover and shaker in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association (FLPBA). That explained the Berlas presence in this landsmanshaft plot, despite the fact that they were not from the community Lubin [I mentioned Abe previously in my series on the FLPBA anniversary publications.]

My problem was that it was not clear if Abe and his first wife Rose Krakowsky were from Lubin either. Well now I know and, in the process, I have determined a U.S.A surname change, matched some siblings, and, likely, figured out where and how Abe and Rose met (and it's sorta romantic).

Here lies
Chava Rachel daughter of Moshe
DIED AUG. 5, 1960 - AGE 72 YRS

 Here lies
Avraham Pinkhas son of Benyamin Khaim haLevi
DIED AUG. 16, 1985 - AGE 99 YEARS

On January 23, 1909, Rochel Schames, accompanying her uncle Feivish (later Philip Simon), left Bremen for New York City on the S.S. Grosser Kurfürst.[1] Both she and her uncle were born and resided in Lubin. They landed in New York Harbor on 3 February 1909. Rochel reported her mother as Sosie Schames and her brother at 365 Broome Street, NY as Ele Schames. Rochel later became Rose Schwartz.

Also on that ship: Pinkus Krakowsky, age 20, recently a resident of Pradnik. I have no clue where that town was located.[2] A gubernia seems to be indicated, but it is unclear - possible Chernigov. Pinkus became Abraham Krakowsky.

[ Cut to: "My Heart Will Go On" ]

Abe's manifest indicates he was a saddle-maker born in Krakau. Various records report his birth date as 10 July. Sometimes it was 1887 and other times 1888. His World War I draft registration card says he was born in Shurlof.[3] His naturalization petition shows Shelnoff.[4] Those two variations on a community name have not, thus far, helped me find the town.
I have some inconsistencies in evidence of their marriage and place of residence around 1910-11. I have acquired their marriage certificate and it seems that Abram Krakofsky and Rosie Schwartz married on 15 January 1911 in Manhattan.[5] Rosie reported that her father was Morris Simon and her mother Susie Borisnik. Abraham's parents were Benjamin Krakowsky and Sarah Nissenblatt. 

Abraham and Rose's indexed marriage license, however, indicates that they applied on 11 June 1910.[6] Usually, I see license applications a week or two before the marriage. So, this is a bit early. It is better to work from an original image rather than an index of a record, so I will ordering the license application from NYC.

In addition I have found the couple, living as husband and wife in the 1910 census taken in April 1910. Abe was a harness-maker - consistent with his occupation in his 1909 manifest. The couple had been married only two months before and were residing at 354 Madison Street, Manhattan.[7] Abe's brother-in-law (likely Rose's brother), Alexander Schwartz, a glazier, was living with the couple. 

Study of Alexander Schwartz, whose Hebrew name was Eliyahu (likely shortened to Ele in Rochel's manifest), indicates that this is the Alex Schwartz shown in one of the Montefiore Cemetery First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plots. Alex's parents on his marriage record were shown, similar to Rosie's, as Morris (Schwartz) and Sophie Bresner.[8] 

Perhaps marriage license records will help sort out this chronology. It is possible that I have been thrown off the scent by making a mistake connecting a record to this couple. This will require further study and additional documents.

At the time of their marriage in 1911, Abe lived at 335 Stanton Street and Rose lived at 274 Henry Street - both in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Abe was a clothes presser and remained so for much of his life.

Abraham and Rose's only child, Murray (earlier called Morris), was born on 30 July 1912. He passed away on 15 December 2001 and is also buried in the Beth Moses Cemetery plot.

When Abe declared his intention to become a citizen on 15 May 1916, they lived 115 Cannon Street.

On 5 June 1917, when Abe registered for the World War I draft, the family lived at 125 E. 113th Street, New York, NY. He was a cloak presser.

By the time Abe filled in his petition for naturalization on 14 June 1920, they'd moved to 92 Union Avenue in Brooklyn.

In the 1930 census enumeration, the family lived in the Bronx at 1343Washington Avenue. Abe was pressing dresses.[9] 

By 1940, Abe had changed his career and 0wned a restaurant. He and Rose resided in Manhattan at 100 2nd Avenue.[10] They had also lived in that same apartment in 1935.

Rose died in 1960 and Abe married Sonia Bachman in 1961.[11] She is also interred in the Beth Moses plot.

Abe's and Rose's grave are located in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot in Beth Moses Cemetery, block 24, Maccabee Road.

1. Manifest, S.S. Grosser Kurfürst, 3 February 1909, list 41, line 22, Rochel Schames, age 19; images, "New York, Passenger manifests, 1820-1957, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2013).
2. Manifest, S.S. Grosser Kurfürst, 3 February 1909, list 4, line 215, Pinkus Krakowsky, age 20; images, "New York, Passenger manifests, 1820-1957, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 January 2015).
3. "U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 January 2015), entry for Abraham Krakowsky, serial no. 205, draft board 31, New York County, New York.
4. Abraham Krakowsky, naturalization file no. 22634 (1920), Eastern District of New York; Record Group 21: Records of the District Courts of the United States; National Archives - Northeast Region, New York City.
5. New York County, New York, certificate of  marriage no. 2019 (15 January 1911), Abram Krakowsky and Rosie Schwartz; Municipal Archives, New York City.
6. New York County, New York, marriage license no. 14647 (11 June 1910), Abraham Krakofsky and Rosie Schwartz; Municipal Archives, New York City.
7. 1910 U.S. Census, New York Co., NY, pop. sched., Manhattan, e.d. 96, sheet 6A. dwell. 16, fam. 89, Abraham and Rose Krakofsky family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 July 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1008.
8.  New York County, New York, certificate of marriage no. 7591 (1911), Alexander Schwartz and Mollie Markowitz, 2 April 1911; Municipal Archives, New York City.
9. 1930 U.S. Census, Bronx Co., NY, pop. schedule, Bronx, e.d. 3-126, sheet 4B, dwelling 7, family 91, Abraham and Rose Krokowsky family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry. com : accessed 8 January 2015); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1466.
10. 1940 U.S. Census, New York Co., NY, pop. sched., Manhattan, e.d. 31-683, sheet 63A, household 320, Abraham and Rose Krakowsky; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 January 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2639. 
11. "New York City, Marriage [License] Indexes, 1907-1995," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 July 2017), Abraham Krakowsky and Sonia Bachman, license no. 7583 (1961); citing Municipal Archives, New York City. 

30 July 2017

IAJGS 2017, Days 5 and 6 (Thursday and Friday, 27-28 July)

I had recovered from Wednesday's marathon of presentations and only had one to do on Thursday morning.

Emily Garber - LIVE! "Blogging Family History: Reading, Writing, and Sharing," 8:15-9:30 AM

This was  another new preparation for me and it was carried on LIVE! This was, basically, everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-blogs (that I could fit into an hour presentation). It included the basics of starting a blog on Blogger.

Professional Genealogists Birds of a Feather

I believe this group started in Boston at the IAJGS meeting in 2013 and every year since then I have been scheduled to speak at the same time the group has met. So, imaging my surprise when I discovered I could actually attend the BOF this year!

There were surprisingly quite a few in attendance and the discussion mostly revolved around business issues such as fees, payment problems and report formats.

Susan Kobren - "How to Maximize Your Reunion Software," 11:15 AM-12:30 PM

I am a long-term Reunion (for Mac) software user, so I wasn't expecting a bunch of new knowledge - just an opportunity to pick up a tips or two for efficient use of the program in my research. Success.

JewishGen/Jewish Genealogy Portal Luncheon: "The future of networking and connecting"

I have some mixed feelings about this new partnership, but I think JewishGen said all the right things. They took an opportunity to branch out in partnership with an already successful FaceBook page. I do not see the Jewish Genealogy Portal FaceBook page as replacing the JewishGen Discussion Group [complete disclosure: I am one of the moderators of the JGDG]. I am not sure the administrator of the Portal agrees with me on that.

Resource Room 

Resource Room, Thursday's P.M. Crew: Roy Ogus, Harriet Myer, Phyllis Kramer, Jane Berenbeim, Emily Garber [photo, Eli Rabinowitz]
I spent Thursday afternoon and Friday morning volunteering in the Resource Room. Thursday was the second day with access to the ProQuest databases. The place was packed with every computer in use.

Phyllis Kramer recruited me to handle the Resource Room. I did not say, "no." I was not, initially, looking forward to it, but Friday was actually rather pleasant. I got to help a few people find passenger manifests and a few other documents. That's always fun.


JewishGen Table - standing: Susanna Leistner-Bloch, Barbara Ellman, Avraham Groll, Max Heffler, Warren Blatt, Debra Zlot Kay; sitting: Emily Garber, Janette Silverman, Michael Tobias, Jane Tobias [photo by Chuck Weinstein]
Henry Louis "Skip" Gates spoke to us about the history of his involvement in "Finding Our Roots," his PBS program. That sounds rather boring - but it wasn't. He is an engaging speaker and wove in his family history and his fascination with genetic genealogy. He also showed a promo for the new season.

IAJGS announced their awards.  I think all these people/projects are incredibly well-deserving. The Awards Committee could not have made better choices! I understand that Reclaim the Records will use their award to off-set costs of going after Missouri for their intransigence in their dealings with Reclaim the Record's Freedom of Information request.

I include text from the IAJGS news release, below.


Jan Meisels Allen

In recognition of many years of service to genealogy, both Jewish and beyond, we are proud to grant the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award to Jan Meisels Allen. Jan is the founding president of the JGS of Conejo Valley, presently its programming chair, and she has been the program chair of the JGS of Los Angeles. She has served as board member and vice president of the IAJGS, and chairs its Public Records Access Monitoring Committee. Jan writes almost daily posts for the IAJGS Leadership List that keep the genealogical community well informed of current items of interest. 

As conference Database Chairperson, Jan has been responsible for the resource room at IAJGS conferences for many years.  Beyond Jewish genealogy, she has been a regular speaker at FGS and NGS conferences, at the invitation of the German government and US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has spoken on records access at European conferences. Her dedication to the cause of genealogical research and drive to work on its behalf has a continual far reaching effect. We are honored to name her as the recipient of this year’s award.


Rose Avigael Feldman

This year’s IAJGS Volunteer of the Year Award honors Rose Avigael Feldman’s dedication, encouragement, creativity, and achievements in the world of Jewish genealogy. Rose was an active volunteer in the organization of two IAJGS conferences. By contributing her time and energy to a records scanning project, documents from Israeli archives will be accessible to researchers worldwide. Rose has been and continues to be tireless in her efforts to promote Jewish genealogy: training volunteers for database work, writing and publishing articles, answering search queries, lecturing, attending genealogy lectures, and networking between people and organizations. We are grateful for her tremendous efforts and in appreciation we recognize her contributions through this award.


Reclaim the Records

This year we bestow the IAJGS Outstanding Project Award to Reclaim the Records. As such we recognize the leadership of Brooke Schreier Ganz in organizing a group of concerned individuals and advocating for governmental agencies to release public data into the public domain. Using Freedom of Information laws (FOIL) and Open Data initiatives, in just a short time the organization has secured the release of thousands of vital records indices and voters lists, with continued efforts ongoing for records throughout the U.S. This project has had and will have an important impact in making public records available without charge to the public at large. 

 Next year in Warsaw!!!

IAJGS 2017, Day 4 (Wednesday, 26 July)

Wednesday at the conference was like running a marathon. I joked with someone on Tuesday that I would need to wear sweats and running shoes on Wednesday. 

I introduced Israel Pickholtz's presentation at 8:15 and then presented four talks. The last was over at 6:15. A looong day.

Israel Pickholtz - "Why Did My Father Know That His Grandfather Had an Uncle Selig?" 8:15-9:30 AM

Israel specializes in addressing complex problems with, sometimes, complex  solutions. Such is the case with this study. Using records from Jewish Records Indexing-Poland and DNA results, Israel took us on a wild ride though the Pickholtz clan to identify and explain why his father may have known about one particular otherwise fairly remote relative. 

I had heard this talk before a couple of years ago. Hearing it again was great because I could concentrate on how Israel made the finely-tuned case. Definitely a tour de force.

Emily Garber - LIVE! "Learning Our Craft: Online Opportunities for Improving Our Research Skills," 11:15 AM-12:30 PM

Well, I will not review my own presentations. This talk covered the gamut of online offerings including podcasts, webinars, non-credit courses and virtual conferences. It may be viewed with a subscription of LIVE! One may also listen to this presentation (an all my others) if one purchases the audio recordings of conference presentations.

Emily Garber - "When it Takes a Village: Applying Cluster Research techniques," 2:00-3:15 PM

After a lunch break, I was back to it with a discussion of locating, losing and, then, relocating a woman named Feiga Grinfeld who had accompanied my great grandfather to the United States in November 1922. If not for her extended family members, friends, and acquaintances I would not have located her far-removed from where I would have expected her to be.

In addition to standard genealogical records, I was also able to use DNA results from numerous cousins to bolster my case for the relationahip of Feiga to my Garber family members. 

Emily Garber - "Memory and Mystery: Breaking Down Family Lore," 3:30-4:45 PM

I have presented this talk several times, but never before at IAJGS. I provide two examples of family lore that needs examination.

The first features 18th century characters, Marmaduke Swearingen and Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket. The questions is: are they the same person. The discussion centers on a 1994 National Genealogical Quarterly article proving the case via standard genealogical techniques. I then examine Y-DNA evidence collected and analyzed in 2006 (ancient history in genetic genealogy!).

The second case example deals with my own family mystery featuring four brothers in the Russian Empire whose surnames were purportedly changed to avoid Russian Empire military conscription. 

Emily Garber - "Where's the Beef? Well-Done Research and Evidence Analysis," 5:00-6:15 PM 

I had to do something I know is not good form: apologize at the outset of this presentation. When I started planning this presentation back in the fall, I researched Clara Peller (f Wendy's hamburger fame) and intended to use her case study as one example among three. 

But, recently, as I completed the presentation, it became clear that Peller's case was not the best example. In addition, I realized that the case I wished to present would take the entire lecture period all by itself. So, Clara wa unceremoniously dumped. Serves me right for trying to be clever with my presentation title!

I renamed the talk, "Conflict Management: Evaluating Evidence of Identity." It's not as catchy, but ... oh, well!

JewishGen 2017 Annual Meeting 

After my last talk of the day, I dragged myself to my room, removed my dressy duds and took a short walk outside. True to form, my (naturally curly) hair puffed out into a halo of Florida frizz. 

After a light dinner, I headed to the JewishGen Annual Meeting. Avraham Groll, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias summarized accomplishments during the past year and discussed plans for the future. There are ongoing efforts that will result in some technological improvements during the next few years. Numerous partnerships are under negotiation. We should see many positive changes.
There were more than 1,000 active volunteers this past year.
Janette Silverman, is one of the most productive, hardworking (maniac) genealogists I know. A couple of years ago, she took over JewishGen's Ukraine SIG. Among her efforts for Ukraine SIG, she spends huge amounts of her scant free-time massaging spreadsheets until they meet JewishGen's exacting standards for online sharing. I am in awe and, apparently, so are the powers that be at JewishGen. She was awarded Volunteer of the Year. Huge congratulations to someone who is hugely deserving!

Another notable announcement: JewishGen is starting the JewishGen Ignition and Signature Grants initiative to stimulate creative work that will result in additional records available to genealogists. Jewish societies and synagogues will be eligible to apply (starting August 15, 2017) for grants of up to $5,000 or up to $25,000. This is wonderful news. I already have some ideas!

29 July 2017

IAJGS 2017, Day 3 (Tuesday, 25 July)

Ann Rabinowitz, Marian Wood, Mary-Jane Roth, Janice Sellers, Barbara Zabitz, Lara Diamond and Israel Pickholtz
Ann Rabinowitz, Emily Garber, Mary-Jane Roth, Janice Sellers, Barbara Zabitz, Lara Diamond and Israel Pickholtz
Jewish Geneabloggers' Breakfast - Tuesday started at 7:15 A.M. (my fault for setting the time so early) with the Jewish Geneabloggers' breakfast. This is our fifth annual meeting at IAJGS. The first one was a dinner get-together in Boston in 2013.

We had a nice showing with bloggers Ann Rabinowitz (formerly blogger for JewishGen and now mostly FaceBooking), Marian Wood (Climbing my Family Tree), Mary-Jane Roth (Memory Keeper's Notebook), Janice Sellers (Ancestral Discoveries), Lara Diamond (Lara's Jewnealogy), Israel Pickholtz (All My Foreparents), me (Extra Yad) and blogger-to-be Barbara Zabitz.

We had a discussion about the pros and cons of using Blogger versus WordPress. We also encourage Barbara to just do it! - i.e., don't sweat the stuff one may change easily later. Just start writing now!

Emily H. Garber - "Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins" 

After breakfast, it was back to the cave to do final prep for my 11:15 presentation on what one should consider when nailing down the location of one's family community in Eastern Europe. This is a presentation I have given several times before - and is probably my favorite.

I did think of an innovation this year. In the past I have always had Janette Silverman introduce me and she has always stressed that people should review my presentation in the app. With that encouragement last year, I, apparently, had many more reviews than most speakers. 

This year, I figured I'd do all my introductions myself. In addition, I included a slide at the end with an image of the app page and an animation showing how to access the app. People seemed to really appreciate that. Some, apparently, did not know prior to seeing my slide how to find the presentation review function. 

I hope this will result in significant increase in reviews of my presentations. I do find them valuable for improving my talks.

Also, be aware, even though the conference is over, if one intended to review someone's talk and did not complete it, one may still use the app to do so. Not only the presenters, but also next year's conference planning team will appreciate your effort.

Phyllis Berensen (Ukraine SIG Luncheon)- "The Trip of a Lifetime - And then Another, One Year Later"

Phyllis did a nice talk (with slides) about her two trips, in short succession, to Ukraine with Alex Dunai and her brother. The success of her first trip bred the need to do another. Made me pine to go back to Ukraine!

Alex Denysenko - "Volhynian Quiz"

Alex, a Ukrainian researcher and guide is well known in Jewish genealogical circles. His talk centered on my pet area: Volhynia Gubernia (the Russian Empire province of my father's family). Alex explained a bit of the history of the area and why there are several archives one must now search to locate records from towns in the province.

As an example, Izaslav was the capital of the province until 1795. Novograd-Volynsky was the administrative center until 1804. After 1804, administration was moved to Zhitomyr.

It may seem confusing or, perhaps, illogical. But, this is the kind of information one must understand when planning research in the area. 

Rabbi Avrohom Krauss - "Charting: A Tool for Evaluation and Data Display"

I am always interested in innovative ideas for helping us manage, analyze and evaluate complex data. He visualized his data by placing it in charts and color-coding. The speaker showed the successes and pitfalls of the technique.

I have done something similar in spread-sheets: color coding like information so it stands out from the rest. A very useful strategy.

I was not completely convinced, however, by the example Avrohom presented: trying to determine an exact birth date for an ancestor from a variety of conflicting evidence in several records. 

I think, if we cannot locate a birth record, we must sometimes be satisfied that we may never know the exact date of birth. An estimate can be satisfactory.

I also think that if he'd used patterns indicated by birth order of siblings, that much of this charting would have been unnecessary. Or, at least, his first foray into the evidence would not have been, as he'd noted, so far from the mark.
I spent the afternoon doing some prep before the onslaught of Wednesday, when I will be on my feet for four presentations.

IAJGS 2017, Days 1 and 2: Busy, busy, busy!

I was not as diligent a blogger as I have been in past International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conferences, but this year in Orlando, was, indeed, chock full of good offerings and opportunities to network.

My disadvantage, in terms of blogging, was that I was responsible for six of the presentations, as well as a few other volunteer obligations. So, by the time I returned to my room each evening, blogging was pretty much the last thing on my mind.

Nevertheless, I did meet with several people and attended some sessions here and there. So, here's my take.


I had studied the schedule and identified some that I very much wanted to attend, but I had one presentation that was not completely prepared. I managed to complete my PowerPoint (phew) by Sunday evening and that freed me up for the rest of the week. But my attendance at sessions on Sunday suffered.

I did lunch with Mary-Jane Roth on the Polonne and environs project that is part of Ukraine Special Interest Group: "Acquisition and Translation of Records of Seven Town in Polonnoye, Ukraine." Images of the records have been acquired. The problem has been finding translators who are not only familiar the foreign languages, but also old script and the peculiarities of verbiage in old records. We still have some ideas on where to head with this but, it has not been easy.

I dd attend the keynote session, "Alexander Hamilton, the Jews and the American Revolution." Professor Robert Watson of Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL, is an engaging speaker and spoke on a topic of interest to many. Hamilton had an interesting and difficult early life. While not Jewish himself, he benefited from his association with Sephardic Jewish people in the community of Nevis who, in recognizing his innate brilliance and talent, took him under their wing. 


Hal Bookbinder - "U.S. Immigration and Naturalization" I always enjoy Hal's presentations and, although at this point I know quite a bit about this topic, I always expect to learn something new from him. I was not as well-versed on early US naturalization law and policy, so I did enjoy that.

Throughout most of our history, naturalization could be achieved within five years of residence. Apparently, due, in part, to political conflict between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, there was a short period when the time to naturalization was substantially lengthened. The June 18, 1798 Naturalization Act, the first part of the Alien and Sedition Act, increased residency requirement to 14 years.

Here's a short summary I found on Politico.

Marion Werle – “You found the Records – Now What? Records Analysis and the Jewish Genealogist”

I enjoyed Marion’s presentation. For me, it is interesting to see how different researchers approach instruction on evidence analysis and the Genealogical Proof Standard. I had a similar topic scheduled for Wednesday.

Marian presented several different record types and worked with the audience to evaluate the reliability of each based upon source type, informant and character of information provided. I was impressed.

I also think that people benefit from hearing different takes on similar topics. I do not know if many people attended both Marion's and, then, my later talk, but, if they did, they would likely come away with greater understanding.

Nolan Altman – “Patronymic Naming and the Genealogical Value of Jewish Cemetery Records”

Nolan is in charge of one of the largest and most useful searchable databases on JewishGen: the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). There are now 3.1 million records in the database. 500,000 include tombstone photographs. There are about 7,100 cemeteries (or cemetery plots) representing 125 countries. Unlike Find A Grave or Billion Graves, JOWBR only includes Jewish burials in Jewish and non-sectarian cemeteries.

Information comes to JOWBR from volunteers, cemetery administrators, societies and synagogues. The data comes from stones, cemetery or burial society registers, published historical material and funeral home records.

JewishGen provides formatted spreadsheets, written instructions and instructional videos explaining how one may record and donate information to the JOWBR database.

I have, thus far, recorded and donated photos and partial translations from three landsmanshaftn plots in Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York; one in Beth Moses Cemetery, Pinelawn, NY; one in Baker Street Cemetery outside Boston, MA; and one in South Haven, MI. For my own family, research, this has been the gift that keeps on giving. As I do more and more research, I find more links and more family. I encourage every genealogist to join the effort. Do not just record your own family. Spend a few hours and photograph entire cemetery plots. It’s a mitzvah.

Sack lunch with Sallyann Sack 

Had an interesting lunch with Sallyann Sack-Pikus and several others regarding her concept for a Second Tier records project. I am honored she thought to invite me to participate.

As she stayed in an article in Avotaynu a few months ago, she is interested in pursuing records beyond the usual ones (i.e., vital records and revision lists) most Special Interest Groups collect. There are records such as notary records and land records in Eastern European archives that, while not identified as principally Jewish, are likely to yield many records regarding Jewish people. Identifying, collecting and translating these types of records would be a complex undertaking and will require quite a bit of coordination with a variety of groups currently working in the area.

24 July 2017

IAJGS 2017 Conference Blogger Compendium

We have been in Orlando, Florida for a few days at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conferencing. Here are the bloggers who have posted thus far. Please check back daily. I will be updating the list as new blogs are posted.

Lara Diamond - Lara's Jewnealogy
"IAJGS2017 Coming up!"  
"IAJGS2017, Day 1
"IAJGS Conference, Days 2-3"

Janice Sellers - Ancestral Discoveries
"IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Florida (in July!)"
"IAJGS Conference, Days 3 and 4
"IAJGS Conference, Days 5 and 6 and Going Home"

Marian B. Wood - Climbing My Family Tree
"IAJGS Day 1: From Railways to DNA
"IAJGS Day 2: Research Tricks and Preservation Tips
"IAJGS Day 3: Blogging Breakfast and Much More"
"IAJGS Day 4: Litvak, More Litvak, and Search Tips
"IAJGS Day 5: Resources and Queries"

Emily H. Garber - The Extra Yad
"IAJGS 2017, Days 1 and 2: busy, busy, busy!"
"IAJGS 2017, Day 3 (Tuesday, 25 July)"
"IAJGS 2017, Day 4 (Wednesday, 26 July)
"IAJGS 2017, Days 5 and 6 (Thursday and Friday, 27-28 July)" 

Banai Feldstein - The Ginger Jewish Genealogist
"IAJGS 2017

Louis Kessler - Behold Blog
"DMT Version 1.5.1 and IAJGS and DMT Workshop"
"The IAJGS Conference 2017

Dick Eastman - Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
"IAJGS Conference in Orlando is a Success"