Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nechama's List


Posted By Ann Rabinowitz

Grandmother Nechama and Family, Belarus
(©Nancy Goldberg Hilton 2006, ISBN 0-9776403-2-9)

The Mormon’s Family History Library has vast resources for Jewish genealogy and one tool for tapping into those resources is Nechama’s List prepared by Nancy Goldberg Hilton in memory of her grandmother Nechama and family from Belarus. This list is comprised of 638 Jewish record additions to the Family History Library Catalog during the period Ja
nuary 8, 2001 – November 8, 2006. This is an addition to the original inventory of 4,500 holdings at the Mormon Library which Goldberg did previously and which can be found here.

Whilst there are several other ways of looking up the items in this list, most of which are on-line now, this is a comprehensive look at what was added at a pa
rticular time. My first check at what was available was to look at the listing to the left side of the page where I found England and then Manchester, England.

There, I located the following reference for Cemetery Records for Southern Cemetery, Manchester, 1879-2002, which included the Jewish part, 1892-1910. This interested me as I was familiar with the cemetery as one of my favorite British artists (non-Jewish), L.S. Lowry, was buried there. Looking on the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB) site, under the Jewish Communities and Records – United Kingdom (JCR-UK) Manchester records, I did not find any cemetery records listed. In the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) listing of Manchester cemeteries, Southern Cemetery was listed, but not the yea
rs that there were Jewish burials.

Not to be deterred, I continued my search for Southern Cemetery and found an on-line searchable registry sponsored by the Manchester City Council, Using my favorite name “Cohen”, I plugged it in and came up with seven pages of listings from Abraham Cohen to Winifred Cohen. So, the mention in Nechama’s List led me to a resource I w
as not familiar with, but I could just have easily have looked it up directly, if I was interested in that particular cemetery.

Another reference was “South African Personalities and Places”. Identifying this reference would take an extra step as the Mormon catalog had not specified an author or date. I looked it up on-line and found that there was a book by Bernard Sachs published in 1959. Unfortunately, the book was not available under Google Books.


However, as I was looking for this book, as one thing lead
s to another, I found a different book, “New Dictionary of South African Biography” by E.J. Verwey. As it so happened, I was able to look up Solly Sachs (brother of Bernard Sachs) and confirmed that the family came from Kamajai, Lithuania.

Looking further into Nechama’s List, I found a lot of references to Polish Jews:

  • Yizkor Books - Yizkor Book for Zamosc was referenced and JewishGen’s Yiskor Book site had a translation from the Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland. In addition, it had in its Yizkor Book Database, two different books - Zamosc be-genona u-be-shivra and Pinkes Zamosc; yizker-bukh. Since, again, there was no actual name, author or date, it was hard to determine which book was referenced in the Mormon’s catalog.
  • Family Histories – There was a family history for the Raphael/Rafalin family of Punsk, Poland, including Krasnopol, Kalwaria, Sejny, Augustow, Suwalki, Filipow and Klonorejsc. Punsk was approximately 5km from the border with Lithuania and most of the residents were Lithuanian and Jewish. One of the prominent members of the Rafalin family was David Shlomo Rafalin, who left Punsk for New York and ended up in Cuba where he was a rabbi at Adath Israel in Havana in 1929-1932.
Rabbi Rafalin Wedding Invitation

He then left and went to Mexico where he was a rabbi there from 1933- 1979.

  • Jewish History - A history of the Jews of Lubraniec, Poland. This place is in north central Poland and it turns out that the reference is for Żydzi w Lubrańcu: z dziejów Lubrańca, an untranslated Yizkor Book which one can locate referenced on JewishGen’s Yizkor Book Database.
In addition to the above sources, there were many, many other listings. These were items that might be available online or in other libraries or archives, but sometimes not.

CONCLUSION

As it is always good to check all resources when you are researching your family, Nechama’s list could provide you with just that tidbit of information to either help resolve a family brick wall or roadblock or lead you to some new avenue of discovery as it did for me.

NOTE: I’d like to give a hat tip to Dr. Saul W. Issroff for bringing the site to my attention.

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