Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ShtetLinks Update

We are pleased to welcome the following webpages to JewishGen ShtetLinks. We thank the owners and webmasters of these shtetlpages for creating fitting memorials to the Jewish Communities that once lived in those shtetlach and for providing a valuable resource for future generations of their descendants.
Some of our shtetlpages were created by people who are no longer able to maintain them. We thank them for their past efforts and wish them luck on their future endeavors. The following webpages are "orphaned" and are available for adoption.

ShtetLinks webpages recently updated:


If you wish to follow their example and create a ShtetLinks webpage for your ancestral shtetl or adopt an exiting "orphaned" shtetlpage please email shtetl-help@jewishgen.org.

GOOD NEWS!! As a result for our appeal for HTML volunteers we now have a team of dedicated people who will help you create a webpage for your ancestral home. Please contact us if you would like help in creating a ShtetLinks webpage.

Susana Leistner Bloch, VP, ShtetLinks, JewishGen, Inc.

Barbara Ellman, ShtetLinks Technical Coordinator

The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto Today

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto

The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum (Valstybinis Vilniaus Gaono zydu muziejus) has curated a virtual exhibit entitled “The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto today” .

The Building of the Former Library of Vilnius Ghetto, Pemaitijos str. 4

The exhibit contains twenty-two color photographs of key streets in what was once the Vilna Ghetto. The photographs depict buildings which have survived the liquidation of the ghetto in 1944.

In addition to this exhibit, there is another online site which has many photographs of Vilna before and after World War II which is entitled “Chronicles of the Vilna Ghetto: Photo Gallery” . This site which calls itself the Kluvik Archives contains sub-albums which have a variety of images.

“Vilna Ghetto” – This sub-album has sections entitled Vilna Ghetto Prisoners; Lithuanian Hiwis; Ghetto Heroes and Criminals; o.-o.v.Tanklager Labor Camp; Klooga and Kivioli Camps in Estonia; HKP 562 Oshmana Molodetschno; Documents and Artifacts; Ponary-Paneriai-Ponar; Vilna After WWII; and Vilna Before WWII. One of the wonderful images is of a Jewish peddler during the pre-World War II period.
Jewish Peddler in Vilna (Pre-War)
(courtesy Kluvik Archives)

“Vilna Postcards” – This section has sub-albums for images of Bridges and Railroads and Stations. The image that follows was taken from a turn of the century post card.

Railroad Station Vilna Turn of the century
(courtesy of Kluvik Archives)

“Vilna Ghetto Streets . . . before and after” - The streets covered include Stikliu, Gaono, Antokolskio, Zydu, Zemaitijos, Siauliu, Asmenos Ligonines, Mesiniu, Dysnos and Rudninku.

(courtesy of Kluvik Archives)

This image is of a turn of the century post card which states in German “Der Krieg im Osten Wilna in der Judengasse”. The people thronging the street and the activity one can see belies what one would have seen after the War when the streets were emptied of a Jewish presence.

This site contains many other photographs of Lithuanian shtetls and places apart from Vilna including Alytus, Joniskis, Kaunas, Kedainiai, Kelme, Kybartai, Lazdijai, Marijampole, Raseiniai, Rietavas, Sakiai, Siauliai, Taurage, Vilkaviskis, Vosiliskis and Litauen Grenze.

The eighteen photographic images of Taurage are particularly memorable as much of what existed pre-War was eradicated during the first few days of the German occupation in 1941. Taurage today is mostly of post-War construction. The images provided are of Taurage burning.


Taurage, June 25, 1941
(courtesy of the Kuvik Archives)

Apart from the Lithuanian photographs, this site also has images from Latvia, Poland and other countries. In addition, there are many other online sites where researchers can find images of Vilna, both before the War and after, as well as other ancestral shtetls. One just has to keep looking online as so many things are made available every day.

What Google Earth Can Find

From the Jerusalem Post

Iranian government officials were angered by the revelation that a Star of David can be seen on the roof of the headquarters of Iran Air, the Islamic Republic's national airline, Al Arabiyya reported on Monday. The Star of David was discovered in a satellite image of Teheran airport taken by Google Earth.

The Iran Air building upon which the Star of David was found, was constructed by Israeli engineers prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution which ended diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Click here to read the entire article.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Online Resources for WWI Ukrainian Pogroms

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

Ukrainian Orphans, 1919, Warsaw, Poland

Resources that focus on the condition of the Ukrainian Jewish population during and after World War I are sometimes hard to find. The reason for this is that they may be obscure references, be out-of-print or in another language other than English.

However, due to advances in technology and increasing efforts to digitize primary source material and put it online, there are a number of such resources available today.
This era of time was subject to many pogroms which had been preceded by prior eras such as in approximately 1881 and 1905.

One of the primary resources relating to the pogroms which followed World War I is to be found as part of the Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, Aspiration, Acculturation, and Impact, Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
. The resource is entitled “Correspondence, 1915-1924, People’s Relief Committee for Jewish War Sufferers (U.S.)”, by Elias Heifitz (born 1885) and Israel Zangwill (1864-1926). The text is in Yiddish. It is found in online images and can be accessed by clicking here.

As described in the blurb about the resource on the site:
“The People’s Relief Committee for the Jewish War Sufferers (U.S.) was organized to aid Jewish victims of the Russian Civil War. Its work was co-ordinated with that of the American Jewish Relief Committee and the Central Relief Committee. Among its initiatives were fund raising for victim relief and the resettlement and adoption of orphaned Jewish children by Jewish families in the United States”.
Further, Elias Heifetz published a book in 1921 which further detailed the situation in the Ukraine which was entitled “The slaughter of the Jews in the Ukraine in 1919”. It can be found in Google Books by clicking here or on the Internet Archive site here. Heifetz was the Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Relief Committee for the Victims of Pogroms which was under the auspices of the Red Cross. The book contains information in the appendix of pogroms in Ovruch, Proskurov and Felshtin as well as many small villages. There are references for the shtetls such as Felshtin.

One such is a bibliography of references about the shtetl including information on the pogrom era - it can be accessed by clicking here.
A well-known report on the pogroms was written by Israel Cohen, Special Commissioner of the Zionist Organization entitled “The Pogroms in Poland” which was published in 1919. In this report, there is mentioned the Jewish self-defense groups which were formed at the behest of the following:
  • Jewish Military Committee – Moritz Freudlich, Captain, Engineer; Tobias Wechsler, Captain; Joseph Schonberg, Captain.
  • Jewish National Council – Dr. Osias Thon, Dr. Henryk Schreiber, Dr. Josef Margulies.
  • Polish Liquidation Committee – Count Lasocki, Chairman of Administrative Committee; Wladimir Tetmayer, Chairman of the Military Committee.
The Jewish Military Committee raised about 1,000 men, but these Jewish groups were disbanded and disarmed by General Boleslaw Roja, who was later said to be responsible for the worst pogrom in Lemberg (Lviv). One hundred and thirty towns were hit by pogroms during November-December, 1918, and January, 1919, and this report lists them, the pogrom date and what transpired.

An example is for the town of Brzesko, November 12-14, 1919:
Assaults, looting and murder by armed peasants from village of Jadowniki, who brought with them carts to remove plunder. The District commandant tried to intervene, but was rendered powerless by mob. Detachment of 30 Jewish Militiamen from Cracow disarmed by Polish legionaries, who took active part in pogrom. Several houses set on fire; fugitives were shot at. 8 Jews killed (including two soldiers and one man thrown under passing train) and 8 seriously injured. 376 Jews robbed; estimated damage 20 million crowns (about £800,000 pre-war rate).
Another example is for the town of Lemberg (Lviv), November 22-23, 1919, and December 29-30, 1919:
The most savage and destructive pogrom. A punitive expedition by Polish troops, aided by rabble, against the Jews because of their neutrality in Polish-Ukrainian war. Assaults, robbery, outrage, murder, arson. 73 Jews killed, a few hundred seriously injured; 49 houses and synagogues completely burned to ground. Estimated damage 100 million kronen (over £4,000,000).
The pogrom was also covered in the November 30, 1918 edition of the New York Times (available by clicking here) whose headline stated “1,100 Jews Murdered in Lemberg Pogroms, Hundreds Burned to Death in a Synagogue or Shot in Flight – 600 Houses Burned”. This was according to dispatches in the Berlin newspapers transmitted by the Copenhagen correspondent of the Central News. In addition, The Jewish Chronicle in London on December 6, 1918, repeated similar and more detailed occurrences in Lemberg (Lviv) based on further reliable reportage by correspondants such as Max Reiner who was on the scene.

Other newspaper references to the pogroms are to be found on many digital sites including one in Australia, Trove, which is associated with the National Library of Australia (available by clicking here).

The Jewish Chronicle online archive has numerous articles and appeals regarding the pogroms. One has only to put in the word pogrom and the year and find what one wants. An interesting aspect of the pogroms was seen in the January 23, 1920 issue.

There is a short piece which states that the female victims of the pogroms were subject to conversion tactics of missionaries. To avoid this activity, Jewish officials tried to setup homes for these women who were presently housed in Catholic institutions. Also mentioned in several other articles was the fact that women were abducted by the Cossacks. As to whether they survived their abduction and stayed to live in the Cossack community is another story.

Another resource was published in Yiddish by YIVO in 1965 which was written by Elias Tcherikower. He was a co-founder of YIVO and went to Kiev, Ukraine, to gather evidence of the pogroms in the Ukraine.

Pogrom Victims in Alexandrov Hospital, Kiev, 1919
Credit: Elias Tcherikower


His book is entitled: “Di ukrainer pogromen in yor 1919 (The Pogroms in the Ukraine in 1919)”. Extracts of this book were translated into English and can be found by clicking here.
In addition, YIVO has a special Elias Tcherikower Collection, accessible by clicking here, which has many primary documentary resources for the Ukrainian pogroms. It is well-worth visiting YIVO to review these resources.

One other well-known Jewish archivist of the pogroms was Nahum Gergel who wrote "The Pogroms in the Ukraine in 1918-1921, which was published in English by YIVO in 1951 in their YIVO Annual of Jewish Social Science.


Nahum Gergel

A resource for pogroms in general and with specific chapter for the Ukrainian pogroms is the book edited by John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza entitled “Pogroms, Anti-Jewish violence in modern Russian history” and is accessbile by clicking here.

There is also a comprehensive online bibliography of resources on the pogroms by Jonathan D. Smele which is entitled “The Russian Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921: an annotated bibliography” (available here). It enables the researcher to locate the references mentioned on Google Books or other online portals.

There are even resources for films which were made at the time of the pogroms and an interesting portal for this is Filmography Home of Israeli Film site, which has a section entitled “Documentary films recording the Pogroms in the Ukraine”. The site describes two of the short films available. Another reference to a film is found in The Jewish Chronicle archives, July 30, 1920 edition, which has an advert for “The Land of Mystery”. Evidently, the film, a melodrama, was made in Russia and had real scenes of pogroms according to the advert. It also covered Lithuania and, in particular, Kaunas. It was produced by an American, Harold Shaw, and the script was written by Basil Thomson, the head of the British Directorate of Intelligence. At the time it was thought to have been the most expensive British film made. More about the film can be gleaned by clicking here.

In addition, Tony Shaw has written about the film in “Early warnings of the Red Peril: A pre-history of Cold War British cinema, 1917-1939
in “Film History”, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 War and Militarism (2002), pp. 354-368, Indiana University Press. First-hand accounts are also now online such as the one to be found on by clicking here. It tells the story of the remarkable escape from the Ukraine to Canada by the Dezick (Dayson) and Nemetz families and their relatives.

Much, much more is available online, an inexhaustible supply of references, which are growing daily as things are being digitized for public consumption. All it takes is looking into the Internet with either a general topic or specific shtetl in mind.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Announcement: JGS of Palm Beach County

SUBJECT
Membership Meeting

DATE
December 8, 2010

PLACE
South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL

TIME
  • 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Brick Wall 12:30 pm-12:55 pm
  • 1:00 pm-- brief business meeting followed by guest speaker
  • Special Interest Group meets 11:30 am-12:15 pm (mentors will be available after the program)
FEE
Non-members--$5 (guest fee may be applied toward membership dues)

PROGRAM
Online Research Techniques

GUEST SPEAKER
Phyllis Kramer

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Phyllis Kramer, Vice President of Education for JewishGen, will discuss “Online Research Techniques” at the December 8 meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County. The meeting is held at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL.

Ms Kramer, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, will review the best genealogy sites for research, show how to use them and save the information.

Using a PowerPoint program and Screen Casting tools, she will demonstrate how to focus on keywords, use Soundex and shortcuts to find census information via Ancestry & Heritage Quest, shtetls via JewishGen, manifests via stevemorse.org, and vital records via JRI-Poland & Italiangen.org.

A practicing genealogist, with primary interest in Eastern European Jewish research, she serves on the JGSPBCI board of directors and is a member of the Advisory Board of JewishGen. At JewishGen, she has created an online education program for over 1,000 students. Genealogy is her passion, and she finds it to be challenging, stimulating, fascinating and absorbing,

Ms Kramer has taught genealogy at Norwalk College, Savannah JCC, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach Jewish County (JGSPBCI) and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Until her retirement, she served as a business consultant for IBM.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) meet from 11:30 am-12:15 pm in Classrooms 1 and 2--Romania/Moldova with Natalie Hamburg, and Galicia with Marilyn Newman

Genealogy mentors will be available after the presentation. Guests are welcome. There is a guest fee of $5 for those who wish to attend either the Special Interest Group or the general meeting. The guest fee may be applied toward membership dues.

For further information about the Brick Wall program, or to submit questions in advance, e-mail Program Chairperson Helene Seaman helene@jgspalmbeachcounty.org. For Special Interest Groups, contact Mona Morris mona@jgspalmbeachcounty.org.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

From the Jewish Press

Ever hear of Gershom Mendes Seixas? Well, he might just be the forgotten hero of Thanksgiving.

Our first president, George Washington, declared while proclaiming the first official national day of Thanksgiving in 1789:
I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
A look back at the founding era of our nation reminds us that only about 2,500 Jews actually lived in the colonies in 1776. But pointing this out is not to say that Jews were not active and represented during the colonial and founding periods. Quite the contrary - there are some fascinating and often overlooked stories.

Click here to read the entire article.

Volunteer Spotlight: Martina Zornpfenning

Posted by Joanna Leefer

JewishGen will lose a valuable asset this December. Martina Zornpfenning’s visa is expiring at the end of the year, and she is leaving New York to return to her native country of Austria.

Martina has been working with JewishGen since September 2009 helping with a variety of projects, including fundraising and translation of the website into German. Most impressive is that she had done this in addition to her regular job working with the Human Resource Department at the museum.

Martina came to the United States from Austria in 2009 and settled in brownstone Brooklyn. She came to the States to improve her language skills, gain experience living abroad, and to work for a non-profit organization.

When Martina is not working or translating she keeps busy with her hobbies. She is passionate about traveling, photography, and sports. She has gone diving in such exotic places as Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, and Thailand, hiked through the Alps and Southeast Asia, and biked through Austria.

Martina, we are sorry that you are leaving us. Thank you for all the work you have done for JewishGen while you have been here in the United States. You will be missed.

If you would like to nominate a JewishGen volunteer to be spotlighted, please email us by clicking here. If you would like to join JewishGen as a volunteer, please click here.

Holocaust Survivor's Reunion

From the NY Post

It was 65 years in the making, but a Holocaust survivor finally got a chance to personally thank the Polish rabbit farmer who saved her life in World War II, in an emotional, tear-filled reunion at Kennedy Airport yesterday.

"This is a double Thanksgiving. He helped me endure and he helped save my life," said Sara Marmurek, 88.

Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will be meeting on December 6, 2010-Monday, 7:00-9:00 pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA. Please note different meeting day and time from usual--Monday night at 7:00 P M

The Topic: Genetic Genealogy Demystified--Understanding and Interpreting Your DNA Results

Genetic genealogy is a cutting-edge tool that genealogists have been using to supplement traditional genealogy research for the last 10 years. Using DNA for genealogy may seem daunting at first, but you definitely do not have to be a geneticist to make use of this great tool. Join us to learn about the major types of genealogical DNA tests in use today, the genetics behind
them, how to read your results, and how to use those results to identify genealogical connections.

Speaker: Elise Friedman, is a professional genealogist, specializing in Jewish genealogy, genetic genealogy, and technology. Ms. Friedman is very active in the field of genetic genealogy, where she volunteers as JewishGen's (www.jewishgen.org) DNA Projects Coordinator, manages several
DNA studies through Family Tree DNA, and co-authored a genetic genealogy case study that was published in the AVOTAYNU and FORUM genealogy journals. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the International Society of Genetic Genealogy.

Our schmoozing corner begins 15 minutes before the program (6:45PM). This month it will be facilitated by Hal Bookbinder, a founding member of JGSCV. Our book report will be given by founding member and JGSCV board member, Werner Frank on "The Holocaust, The French and the Jews" by Susan Zuccotti.

Our rotating traveling library will have Categories A and B . To see which books are listed under which category, please go to our website, www.JGSCV.org and look under traveling library. The books are available starting 30 minutes before the program to
shortly after the program.

We have started our 2011 membership renewal drive and any one who renews/joins now through our December 6 meeting is eligible to have their name drawn for great genealogical gifts- but they must be present at the December 6 meeting. Light refreshments will be served celebrating Chanukah and our membership drive. Membership dues paid now ($25 single, $30 family) are good through December 2011!

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history. There is no charge to attend the meeting.

The meeting is open to all and there is no charge. The meeting is co-sponsored with and held at Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA For more information including directions to the meeting, see our website for directions and more information: www.jgscv.org

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

Will the 2011 England and Wales Census be the last Census for those countries?

Peter Calver, founder of Lost Cousins http://www.lostcousins.com/, a British based family history website whose mission is to match you with cousins researching the same ancestors, writes in the current newsletter that .." there's a good chance that the 2011 England & Wales census will be the last". This statement derives from a comment made to Mr. Calver in a letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General of the Office of National Statistics where he referred to at "Beyond 2011" project which is looking at alternative ways to meet the needs for key population statistics. You can read the newsletter and access the link to the ONS letter at:
http://lostcousins.com/newsletters/latenov10news.htm#Census_jobs

The 2011 United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales) census will be held on Sunday March 27, 2011.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

FamilySearch adds 15 Million Records to Their Beta Site; Blog article on Jews of Czech Republic

FamilySearch has added 15 million more indexed records and 2.5 million images covering 13 countries to their beta site: https://beta.familysearch.org/ Some of the US records are courtesy of Footnote.com. You can search by name or scroll down and browse by location.
Some of the records are an index only- while others have the image scanned in and can be seen.

For a list of which records have been added see Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/2wcbdwn

Original url see:
http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2010/11/a-lot-to-be-thankful-for-familysearch-adds-15-million-new-indexed-genealogical-records.html

Thank you to Dick Eastman for posting this story.

In addition a familysearch blog has a report on Czech Republic Jewish Records written by someone who visited the country and archives earlier this year. To read their report go to: https://blog.beta.familysearch.org/ and scroll down to the story on the Czech Republic and records.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Jewish palate: T'beet - Flavors of Iraqi Jewish Exile

From the Jerusalem Post by Chef Dennis Wasko

The history of Jews in Iraq can be traced back to the Babylonian Exile in 586 B.C.E. After Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon (part of modern-day Iraq), destroyed Judah and the First Temple in Jerusalem, he decided to put an end to the Jewish state once and for all. He captured the most influential citizens and brought them back to Babylon, leaving only the poorest citizens behind. As a result, the Jewish community in Babylonia flourished and even became more magnificent than that of ancient Palestine. In time, Babylon would become the focus of Judaism for more than a thousand years.

Babylonia became the seat of Jewish learning and wisdom. Great academies of Jewish learning were founded by the great Rabbis who would eventually be the first to write down the Mishna (Jewish Oral Law), and its commentary, the Talmud.

The Jewish community thrived in this part of the world and Jews became high-ranking officials in the government, owned businesses, and enjoyed peaceful relations with the native population. However, the rise of Islam opened a new chapter in the lives of Babylonian Jews. As time went on, persecutions became more frequent and it wasn't until the Ottoman Turks gained control of the area in 1638 that life for the Jews became secure. Over time however, centralized Turkish control waned, and the situation for the Jews worsened.

After gaining its independence, with help of Jewish support, in 1932, Iraq started out as a safe place for Jews. The first Iraqi minister of finance, Sir Sassoon Eskel, was even Jewish. At that time, Jews and Arab Iraqis lived and worked together, and saw themselves as one people. However on August 27, 1934 life for the Jews of Iraq changed forever. Fueled by Nazi propaganda, the Iraqi government passed a law that dismissed Jews from the government, set up quotas in colleges and universities, and made it illegal to teach Jewish history and Hebrew in Jewish schools.

It was the beginning of the end. On June 1 and 2, 1941 a pogrom broke out in Baghdad and approximately 200 Jews were openly murdered, and another 2,000 were injured. The founding of the State of Israel in 1948 caused even more problems for the Jews of Iraq, and by 1951 Israel instituted Operation Ezra and Nehemiah to bring Iraqi Jews safely to the Jewish state.

The situation became progressively worse over the years to the point where a population of well over 120,000 Jewish Iraqis has dwindled to a population, at last count, eight Jews were left in what was once the greatest center of Jewish civilization.

Learn about the Iraqi Jewish Community through one of their renowned recipes:

Click here to recipes and the entire article.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

British Soldiers of the Great War, 1914-1918

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

After my prior posting on the JewishGen Blog regarding “Fighting Back,” the new book by Martin Sugarman regarding the British Jews’ participation in World War II, I received a message from a reader. She mentioned that she had a number of relatives who fought and some who had died not in World War II, but in World War I, the “Great War”.

As has been estimated, the Jewish population during this period was approximately 350,000. Of that number, 50-60,000 British Jews served in the War with about 3,000 Jewish soldiers who fell in battle. Due to this high percentage of participants and my interest in a War that was obscured by the horrific War that followed, I decided to follow up on this train of research.


First off, I decided to start my research with the reader’s relative, Barnet Levine, who was born in Whitechapel. He was the eldest of ten children born between 1895 and 1914 of parents, Harris (born Bilsh) and Rachel Levine (born Kishinev). In the 1901 Census, there is a Barnet Levine of the right age and birthplace who is a resident of the District Jewish Hospital and Orphan Asylum at Norwood. He probably is one of the boarders who attended school there and was later trained.


The 1911 census shows him living at 29 Nile Street, Hoxton, London, with his parents and seven of his siblings in a 5-room shop with a flat above. He was noted as working as an assistant to a photographic enlarger before he enlisted. His parents' address when he died is given as 31 Britannia St., City Road, London.

Pte. Barnet Levine

In August, 1914, Barnet Levine enlisted in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 6th Battalion, Regiment 10427, as a private and was killed in action in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme (July 1, 1916 - November 18, 1916). This was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the War where 60,000 men were lost on the first day. An interesting fact regarding the battle is that Hitler was a German soldier during this time and was injured by a shell fragment on October 16, 1916.

Further, in regard to Barnet Levine, information can be found in the following resources:
  • He listed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in France. The Memorial is the largest one of its kind and commemorates 72,000 soldiers who were lost in the Battle of the Somme prior to March 20, 1918 and for whom there is no known grave.
  • He is listed on page 183 of the “British Jewry Book of Honor”, edited by Reverend Michael Adler, DSO, Senior Jewish Chaplin, and published in 1922. It lists those who served and died with information on their unit, date of death, home address, records of honors and awards. Further there is a website which gives access to the photos from the book which is located at: here. You can purchase the photos on this site. When Barnet’s niece, who had never seen a picture of him previously, saw the photo of him, she realized that he looked almost exactly like her brother who had passed away last year. Had it not been for this resource, she would not have realized from whence her brother got his appearance.
  • There is a listing for him in The Jewish Chronicle in London, November 24, 1916. The listing was published in a column entitled “Jews Who Have Fallen”: Pte B. Levine, Duke of Cornwall’s L.I., previously reported wounded and now reported missing was found. It must have been quite painful for the Levine family to wait to finally learn of the death of their son after thinking him first wounded then missing. The material was obtained from the Jewish War Services Committee, Nos. 6 and 17 St. Swithen’s Lane, London. The Vice-Chairman was Major Lionel de Rothschild, M.P., and his family’s firm was also in St. Swithen’s Lane. Additional notices were also provided by families who announced the deaths of their relatives.
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Museum
Bodmin, Cornwall, UK

  • The London Gazette is also a good resource for official data such as military promotions, awarding of medals, and the like.
For others researching their ancestor’s World War I roots, my suggestion, for a start, is to look at the British military records on the http://www.findmypast.com web site. This is a rich source of information and worthwhile the time to pull out the data. One of the databases on the site is "Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919”.

When I searched, as an example, on COHEN, there were 97 entries including 35 who were born in Manchester (my home town). The record for each person included their name, regiment, battalion, birthplace, enlisted place, residence, rank, number, date died, how died, theater of war, and supplementary notes. Many of the individuals were listed as killed in action, died of wounds, died, and some died at home which is an interesting category.

Another database on findmypast.com is the “National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918” which has short biographies of men who served, both who died and those who survived. The entries mainly have initials for first names which can prove to be challenging when looking for someone specific.

Again, looking at Cohen and at Manchester, an example is L. Cohen, Driver, R.F.A., who joined in October 1916, was sent to France in April, 1917, and took part in the severe fighting around Arras and other areas. He was taken ill and died on August 21, 1917 and was buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery. He received the General Service and Victory Medals. He lived at 80, Pendine Street, Higher Broughton.

Many of these short biographies tell of the hardships that the soldiers suffered and the great contributions they made to the war effort.

Another web site in regard to Manchester which also lists the individuals killed who served with the Manchester Regiment is the following: http://www.themanchesters.orgManchester%20casualties%201914%201916.html. Looking again at COHEN, as an example, one finds the following soldier who was buried at the Thiepval Memorial, France:
COHEN, Private, BENJAMIN, 26196, 21st Bn., Manchester Regiment. 1 July 1916. Age 19. Son of Mr. and Mrs. P. Cohen, of 146, Broughton St., Cheetham, Manchester. Pier and Face 13 A and 14 C.
Going further with Benjamin Cohen, one finds him and his family in the 1911 Census. His parents are Philip and Betsy Cohen and siblings David, Sam and Morris Cohen. At the time, they were living at 53, Red Bank, and evidently did not move to 146, Broughton Street, until later.

One of the soldiers in the Manchester Regiment, who was awarded a Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military honor, was Issy Smith (originally Shmulevitch). He was born in Egypt in 1890 and came to England at the age of eleven, enlisted in the Army, fought in World War I and eventually ended up in Melbourne, Australia, where he lived for the rest of his life.


A rendition of his exciting life is found on the following site: http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/mom/lotm/issysmith. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in battle on April 16, 1915.

During the War, there were actually five British Jews who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The first Jew to be awarded the honor was Lt. Frank Alexander de Pass (April 26, 1887 – November 25, 1914), who served in the 34th Prince Albert Victor’s Own Poona Horse, an Indian regiment.


Lt. Frank Alexander de Pass
First Jew to be Awarded the Victoria Cross

More about de Pass’s military career can be found on the following site: http://www.j-grit.com/military-and-spies-frank-alexander-de-pass-victoria-cross.php.

Of interest are that his parents were Sir Eliot Arthur de Pass, who was born March 16, 1851, on the Isle of Wight, and whose ancestors had been in England since the 1660’s. A well-known merchant, planter and exporter, he headed the West India Committee. He married Beatrice de Mercado, who had been born in Jamaica. They had five children.

Upon the death of Sir Eliot Arthur de Pass on July 11, 1937, a piece was written about him and his family in the Jamaica Daily Gleaner newspaper.

There are quite a number of other resources for studying one’s World War I roots in the U.K., amongst them work done by Sir Martin Gilbert, Harold Pollins and Martin Sugarman.

CONCLUSION

This article has provided a taste of what is available in regard to researching British Jewry’s participation in World War I. Resources are to be found in abundance, especially those which are available online. All one needs to do is search by the particular topic which you are interested in. More resources are coming online all the time, many of which require subscriptions or payment for records.

In addition, the resources of the JCR-UK website and the jcr-uk@lyris.jewishgen.org and BRITISH-JEWRY@rootsweb.com digests are of great assistance to those researchers who utilize these online tools.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Announcement: JGS of NY

SUBJECT:
General Meeting

DATE:

November 21, 2010

TIME:

2:00 p.m.

LOCATION
:
Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
Manhattan, NY 10011

TOPIC:
American Passage, The History of Ellis Island

SPEAKER
Vincent J. Cannato

Professor Cannato masterfully illuminates the story of Ellis Island from the days when it hosted pirate hangings witnessed by thousands of New Yorkers in the 19th century, to the turn of the 20th century when massive migrations sparked fierce debate and hopeful new immigrants often encountered corruption, harsh conditions, and political scheming. American Passage captures a time and place unparalleled in American immigration and history, and articulates the dramatic and bittersweet accounts of the immigrants, officials, interpreters, and social reformers who all play an important role in Ellis Island’s chronicle. Providing readers with a glimpse into the lives of these individuals, Cannato masterfully narrates this complex and often heart-wrenching epic.

Though the last immigrant was processed at Ellis Island over fifty years ago in 1954, this comprehensive history traces the importance of this historic location well after the final immigrant set foot there. American Passage illustrates the port of entry’s lasting legacy, from the discussion of the detention of aliens during World War II, to the rebirth of Ellis Island as a national monument. As immigration policy, national security, and the war on terror remain at the forefront of national debate today, this timely history offers Americans an important perspective on how the nation addressed similar challenges a century ago. In this sweeping history, tracing the dramatic stories and evolution of this influential American landmark, Cannato reveals that the history of Ellis Island is ultimately the story of what it means to be American.

Professor Cannato teaches history at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and is the author of The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

A book-signing will follow the presentation.

Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says

From the NY Times by Eric Lichtblau

A secret history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad.

The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.

It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible.

The report catalogs both the successes and failures of the band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis.

Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.

The Justice Department report, describing what it calls “the government’s collaboration with persecutors,” says that O.S.I investigators learned that some of the Nazis “were indeed knowingly granted entry” to the United States, even though government officials were aware of their pasts. “America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some small measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well,” it said.

The report also documents divisions within the government over the effort and the legal pitfalls in relying on testimony from Holocaust survivors that was decades old. The report also concluded that the number of Nazis who made it into the United States was almost certainly much smaller than 10,000, the figure widely cited by government officials.

The Justice Department has resisted making the report public since 2006. Under the threat of a lawsuit, it turned over a heavily redacted version last month to a private research group, the National Security Archive, but even then many of the most legally and diplomatically sensitive portions were omitted. A complete version was obtained by The New York Times.

The Justice Department said the report, the product of six years of work, was never formally completed and did not represent its official findings. It cited “numerous factual errors and omissions,” but declined to say what they were.

Click here for the entire article.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For every Jewish mass grave – a sign, a name

From the Jerusalem Post by Oleksandr Feldman

If one goes beyond the outskirts of Kiev and continues deep into the forests of the neighboring village of Radomyshl, one soon enters an unmarked clearing. To the untrained eye, the gap in the trees appears random, and most passersby would likely admire the lush vegetation before continuing along the way.

The horrific reality rooted here, as in hundreds of other sites strewn around the Ukrainian landscape, tells a tragic, often ignored chapter in the incomprehensible history of the Holocaust.

Beneath the grass and lilies that now sprout unchecked lie the bodies of hundreds if not thousands of Jewish victims, summarily murdered during a brief span of days in early 1942. The massacre was carried out by Nazi killing squads acting alongside their local paramilitary collaborators. All too often, nearby villagers joined in, welcoming the chance to translate age-old hatred of the Jews into cold-blooded murder.

Beneath these grounds are the stories of remarkable families, families that exemplified centuries of Jewish traditions in the rich cultures of Eastern European Jewry.

With the crack of each killer’s bullet, lives were terminated without any chance to say good-bye.

The Nazis diabolically assumed that their Jewish victims would be quickly forgotten, and recognized that unmarked killing fields would quickly fade into the lush landscape. Incredibly, they were right, multiplying the crime.

Decades later, there is a growing fear that in this regard the Nazis may have succeeded. For even while historians try to document how many souls were lost to the Final Solution, if these clearings go forever unnoticed, the sacred lives lost in each spot will also vanish.

A life lost in the backwoods of Ukraine or Belorussia is no less valuable than one extinguished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Every one of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis deserves to be remembered. There are many reasons why this effort is critical. But undeniably our most important motivation in preserving the memories of the victims of Nazism is to ensure that humanity never ignores, forgets nor diminishes the fact that these horrors occurred.

Click here to read the entire article.

Announcement: JGS of Conejo Valley and Ventura County

SUBJECT:
General Meeting

DATE:

Monday, December 6, 2010

TIME:

7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Temple Adat Elohim (a co-sponsor of the event)
2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA

TOPIC:

"Genetic Genealogy Demystified -- Understanding and Interpreting Your DNA Results"

Genetic genealogy is a cutting-edge tool that genealogists have been using to supplement traditional genealogy research for the last 10 years. Using DNA for genealogy may seem daunting at first, but you definitely do not have to be a geneticist to make use of this great tool. Join us to learn about the major types of genealogical DNA tests in use today, the genetics behind them, how to read your results, and how to use those results to identify genealogical connections.

SPEAKER
Elise Friedman

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Elise Friedman, is a professional genealogist, specializing in Jewish genealogy, genetic genealogy, and technology. Ms. Friedman is very active in the field of genetic genealogy, where she volunteers as JewishGen's (www.jewishgen.org) DNA Projects Coordinator, manages several DNA studies through Family Tree DNA, and co-authored a genetic genealogy case study that was published in the AVOTAYNU and FORUM genealogy journals. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the International Society of Genetic Genealogy.

Everyone is eligible for the drawing of fantastic genealogical prizes for those who renew their JGSCV membership or join for 2011. You must be present to win! Light refreshments will be served celebrating Chanukah and our membership drive.

There is no charge to attend the meeting. Anyone may join JGSCV. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family.

For more information contact: information@jgscv.org

Success!

Posted by Beverly Bienstock Margolies

Thanks to JewishGen Family Finder and my parents’ old family photos, three separate connections have been confirmed within six weeks! This is BIG, a Triple Header—after 10+ years of researching on JewishGen!

May 3, 2010: I discovered that JewishGen researchers Marc from Virginia, Lorraine from the UK, and I share a common ancestor, Henri Abramowitz. He was in my dad's 1928 family photo from Paris, France. When I received the Abramowitz family photo from Marc I knew it was the same man in my dad's photo (just 10 years younger). I thought that his family had perished in the Shoah, but they all survived.

May 30, 2010: Yael, a researcher from Israel, contacted me about my Bienstock-Bedzin connection. When she sent me a photo I was floored. It was a photo of my brother's Bar Mitzvah (he's now 65!). I had the identical photo in my album. We discovered that we were cousins. The next day was Memorial Day and my family was coming to celebrate my son's college graduation. I set up a Skype call and introduced Yael to my parents, children, siblings, and niece. It was an incredible experience! I had been seeking my Bienstock cousins for more than 10 years and found nothing. I thought that my dad's extended family perished. But Yael is proof that some survived. It was only Yael's second week on JewishGen.

June 10, 2010: I have been helping my mom search for her surviving Gelkop cousins. She did not have any first names or dates—all she had were places and photos. Through another JewishGenner, I connected with Marc, who was also researching the Gelkopf name (slightly different spelling). He seemed skeptical when I contacted him, but as soon as he said his grandfather came from Wuppertal to Belgium, I knew it was a match! I sent him the photos, including one with my grandparents side-by-side with his grandparents on the beach in Belgium in 1947!!! Now Marc is a believer. I can't wait to meet him in person; though he lives in Israel and I'm in New Jersey—maybe someday.

Thanks again, JewishGen!

Beverly Bienstock
New Jersey, USA

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spanish Birth Registration Law Proposed Changes

A newly proposed law in Spain will end the father's automatic right to hand his surname down to his children before their mother's-an instead list them alphabetically-unless parents otherwise instruct differently. Spaniards always have two surnames- one from each parent. Under current law either name may come first, but traditionally it is the father's and in disputes the father's had always come first. The proposed law also would permit replacing the name of a parent who was found to have abused them as a child.
To read more:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/04/spanish-naming-customs-changed

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

New York City Mayor Appoints New Commissioner of Dept. Citywide Administrative Services-Over Municipal Archives

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Edna Wells Handy as the Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Ms. Handy will also head the Department of Records and Information Services which will be consolidated into the Department of Citywide Administrative Services--The Department of Records and Information Services operates the
Municipal Archives ( where we obtain copies of the archived vital records) and Municipal Reference and Research Center. Commissioner Handy replaces Records Commissioner Brian G. Andersson. The agency consolidation requires passage of a local law. To read more see the Mayor's press release at: http://tinyurl.com/257s7em

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Iraqi Jewish Documents Remain In Limbo

An article in the Los Angeles Times on October 31, 2010 addresses the a collection of antique torahs and rare Jewish books in Iraq that were brought to the US in 2003 for preservation and now Iraq is demanding their return to be placed in their National Library. They were found floating in water and the National Archives (USA) personnel took steps to stop the mold and
preserve them. See: http://tinyurl.com/27wefc3

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

GAO Reports on National Archives [USA]

Recently released papers by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) [USA] findings may be of interest to you. Below are the links to the two papers and US Archivist Ferriero's comments:

National Archives and Records Administration Needs to Implement Key Program Elements and Controls

The GAO found NARA has not effectively implemented information security controls to sufficiently protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information and systems that support its mission. NARA did not fully implement access controls, which are designed to prevent, limit, and detect unauthorized access to computing resources, programs,
information, and facilities.

To read the report go to: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1120.pdf

[Shortly after this appeared, the Washington Post reported, Federal agents raided the home of a former National Archives employee and took 10-20 cases--it was not stated what materials were in the boxes and the former NARA employee was not arrested. To read the article See:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/10/agents_raid_home_of_ex-nationa.html]

The effectiveness of NARA's oversight has been improved by recent increases in its oversight activities: NARA has conducted its first government wide records management self-assessment survey, resumed agency inspections after a long gap, and expanded its reporting (including giving more complete information about specific agencies).

Oversight and Management Improvements Initiated, but More Action Needed

These efforts have provided a fuller picture of government wide records management: in particular, NARA found that almost 80 percent of agencies were at moderate to high risk of unlawful destruction of records.
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1115.pdf

Archivist Ferriero's comments in a press release may be found at:
http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2011/nr11-13.html

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

1000 Posts!

The previous entry by Ann Rabinowitz (JewishGen's Senior Blog Coordinator) represented the 1000th post to the JewishGen blog!

The JewishGen blog has become an invaluable resource for Jewish family researchers throughout the world, and even helped facilitate a family connection (see here).

In short, thank you to all who contribute in making the JewishGen blog a success. We have more great things planned for the rest of the year and into 2011, and we are glad you are able to be a part of it.

Travelers at the Outbreak of World War I

Posted By Ann Rabinowitz

The start of World War I on July 28, 1914, caused some upset for families whose relatives were in Europe when war was declared. For those who were traveling abroad on business or for pleasure, it was a singularly difficult time determining how to return home safely.

In regard to Americans abroad, inquiries were made and Ambassadors, Consuls and Ministers in the State Department attempted to locate those individuals for whom they had received inquiries from their relatives. A report was prepared and announced in the NYT issue of August 9, 1914.

Those families who had been found were the following, some of whom were Jewish:
Jacob Maybaum of NY at Berlin
The Forsch famiy, at St. Gall
Miss Ottilie Prochaska, at Edinburgh
Eleanor M. Hough, at Hamburg
Mrs. Thomas Legett, at London
? Martins, at Hamberg
Louis Reichardt, at Hamburg
Emily W. Davis, at Edinburgh
Margaret R. Davis, at Edinburgh
Mother of Florence Sackett of West Cornwall, at Hamburg
Dorothea C. Hess, M.A. Schnepel, and Miss Volckman, all of Newark, NY, at Florence
Additional families not located yet were several who were noted as visiting spa areas such as Bad Nauheim, Germany, which was forty minutes by rail from Frankfort. It was known to have possibly had Jewish occupation as far back to 1303. The spa was well-known for its mineral waters and hydrotherapy. In more recent times, President Franklin Roosevelt spent time there during his childhood and Elvis Presley had a home there during his military service.

The missing families listed were:
Emanuel and Mrs. Neuman and Regina and Sylvia Neuman at Bad Nauheim
Leopold Frankfurter at Vienna
Julius Van Vliet, wife, and daughter at Berlin
Mrs. Bertha Hirschfield and Hermione Hirschfeld at Rotterdam
Carl E. Conway and party at Lucerne, en route to Interlaken
Mrs. L.C. Williams (Nina Ratisbon Williams) at Bad Nauheim
E. Clarence Jones at Baden Baden
Prof. Richard Gottheil and wife at Paris
Prof. Richter at Cologne
Prof. Pratt at London
James L. Whitney and wife at Vienna
Mrs. Alex Behrend at Carlsbad
Mrs. Sophie Merckens at Bad Salzuflen, Germany
Mrs. Edward H. Clark and Mrs. Thomas A. Clark at Dresden
Mrs. W.J. Moses and James Moses at Sevres, Frances
Charles C. Weeks of Buffalo, supposed to be in Paris
Of interest amongst those who were missing in these lists were the following individuals:

Leopold Frankfurter (died 1916) – He was the father of Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. He was found to have returned home safely to New York on September 23, 1914, according to his ship’s manifest.

Prof. Richard James Horatio Gottheil (1862-1936) - He was one of the first Zionists in America. He was born in Manchester, England, the son of well-known Reform Rabbi Gustav Gottheil. He was traveling with his Turkish-born wife, a widow, Emma R. Leon. The couple did manage to return to America and enjoyed much more traveling thereafter.

Bertha and Hermione Hirschfeld – This mother and daughter had been visiting Bertha’s brother-in-law A. Hirschfeld in Berlin at the time and they managed to return home to New York on August 17, 1914, according to their ship’s manifest on Ancestry.com.

In addition to these few individuals, researchers may find that their relatives became civilian internees during World War I or were Prisoners of War (POWs). This can be researched for a fee by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The form for requesting the research can be found online at the site.

The information held by the ICRC was a result of the formation of an International Prisoners-of-War Agency on August 21, 1914. This agency was tasked with restoring contact between people separated by war according to their mandate specified in their brochure. The brochure provides a detailed look at the work of the agency and the data it collected.

Another aspect of the topic of civilian internees was the Ruhleben Camp which was one of the 150 POW camps located in Germany during World War I. The camp was formerly a racecourse located seven miles from Berlin, and a mile from Spandau, Germany. Approximately 5,500 British subjects of military age, who had been caught in Germany after the declaration of war, were incarcerated there.

Amongst those interned in the camp were 300-400 Jews. One can read about them by going to Google Books where you will find the book by Israel Cohen entitled “The Ruhleben prison camp: a record of nineteen months’ internment.” The author, Israel Cohen was a journalist and author of “Jewish Life in Modern Times”.

The description of the Jewish aspects of the camp, starting on Page 40, is a fascinating look into the daily life of these civilians and how they managed to survive the war. It tells of the segregation of the Jews and how they spoke in English, German, Russian and Yiddish. There was even a synagogue. One of the Jews there was Yiddish actor Max Gusofsky amongst others who were businessmen, students, craftsmen, doctors, scholars, journalists, and the like.

For those interested in learning if their relative was interned in the Ruhleben Camp, there is an online site which can be utilized by clicking here. The database does not contain all of the internees’ names, but a good proportion of them are indexed therein. They are alphabetically arranged and information on each person is provided where known. For instance, one of the internees was Gustav Ginsberg, a dentist and father of South African jazz pianist Felix De Cola. His great great nephew is JewishGenner Adam Yamey who provided information on him for this database.

Much more can be researched on this topic, especially online. One has only to plug in, for instance, “civilian internees, World War One”, in a search engine to find a myriad of resources.

In Praise of our JewishGen Education Department

Sent to us by a current student:

You folks need to know that Nancy Holden and Phyllis Kramer are terrific!

I am taking my second course with them and they are superb resources. Sometimes they can be hard taskmasters, but for a 1st/2nd generation American whose roots were lost in the Holocaust, they and JewishGen are helping me to reclaim my ancestry.

I will continue to support JewishGen - no one else does what you do.

To learn more about our online classes, please click here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Blog by Ann Rabinowitz

JewishGen's Blog Coordinator, Ann Rabinowitz, who was born in England, has now expanded her genealogical sphere to the U.K. where she has started a Blog on The Jewish Chronicle site, http://thejc.com/blogs/ann-rabinowitz.

While this will provide another resource for genealogists, it will also enable non-genealogists to become aware of the resources available to them to learn about their Jewish heritage.


Mainly, the Blog postings will be done on the weekends on a semi-regular basis and will often be cross-posted on the JewishGen Blog. The postings will focus more on personal stories, history and genealogical tidbits. In the weeks to come, Ann will be writing about "On Cheetwood Street", stories from 1900's Manchester, England.

In order to comment or ask questions on the JC Blog, the reader will have to register first at http://thejc.com/logins Go to the bottom of the page where it says "Social networking" and "Register."

Online British Naturalizations

Posted By Ann Rabinowitz

I was writing about an entirely different topic on The Jewish Chronicle Blog when someone asked me about British naturalizations. In responding to their question, I found some interesting data on the UK National Archives site which I thought might be helpful to JewishGenners.

Plugging in the name of GOLDBERG, I came up with 381 entries for the name regarding naturalizations. Well, this was a landfall, especially when I realized that many of the individuals were listed by their original name from “der heim” and their present name or how they were known as. This incongruity points out the tremendous difficulty in connecting with other researchers who are looking for a particular name.

The name GOLDBERG was either the original name or one that was taken by the emigrant. Alternative names given in the records were:


Fichtenzweig
Gachberg
Galbraech
Gold
Goldberger
Golden
Goldenberg/Goldenburg
Goldhacker
Goldie
Herman
Hochberg
Kadjuchovsky
Lazarus
Melachovitch/Melachovitz
Osherovitz
Peisachowitz
Sacharowitz
Samuels
Stiller

Besides the name change which a researcher would have to contend with, there was the fact that the GOLDBERG entries came from a wide variety of places such as from Latvia, Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, Poland, Prussia, Romania, and Russia.

Further, if one looked at the naturalization data, there was information on where the person was resident at the time of naturalization. The majority of GOLDBERG entries were from London as well as Leeds, but were also from other locales throughout the UK such as Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Plymouth, and smaller places such as Aston Manor, Hornsey, Leyton, Middlesbrough, Muswell Hill, and Westcliff-on-Sea.

A unique aspect was that there were a small number of Irish GOLDBERG entries as follows:

GOLDBERG, Aron, Cork, March 9, 1907
GOLDBERG, Bernard, Limerick, August 28, 1902
GOLDBERG, Jacob, Belfast, June 23, 1932
GOLDBERG, Lewis, Dublin, January 12, 1897
GOLDBERG, Louis, Limerick, August 20, 1902
GOLDBERG, Simon, Dublin, June 8 1891
GOLDBERG, William, Cork, September 16, 1904

If one looks in the 1901/1911 Irish Census, one can confirm that these names (with the exception of Jacob Goldberg) can be found living in the selfsame places as noted on their naturalization certificates. One of the names stands out though, Louis Goldberg, as it belongs to the father of the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Cork, Gerald Yoel Goldberg (1912 – 2003).

Coming to Ireland from Akmene, Lithuania, Louis settled in Limerick, Ireland, and is found there in the 1901 Census with his wife Rachel, three children, Fanny, Molly and Henry, who were born in Limerick, his mother Elie, and brother-in-law Joseph Sandler. In 1902, Louis obtained his naturalization in Limerick and in 1904 he was injured in the Limerick Pogrom. Fleeing to England, he had two more children, Nellie and Arthur, before returning to Ireland. At that point, he settled in Cork where he is found in the 1911 Census, now with three more children, Isidore, Hyacinth and Jocelyn, a nine month old son.

Lord Mayor Gerald Yoel Goldberg of Cork, Ireland

As this was a curious name for a Jewish child, I thought that it might be an error. To confirm who this was, I asked
Irish Jewish genealogist Stuart Rosenblatt for his take on the name. Looking into his voluminous records, Stuart was able to confirm that Jocelyn was David Jacob Goldberg and that he was born June 26, 1910. His younger brother was Gerald Yoel Goldberg, the Lord Mayor, who was born April 12, 1912 and therefore was not listed in the 1911 Census.

Further information on any of the Irish Jews listed under naturalizations or other areas can be obtained from Stuart Rosenblatt. He is always happy to provide information and to receive what you may have to add to his database.

A last comment is about the first or given names of individuals in the naturalization records. Many Anglicized their names and this makes it difficult to find the exact person one is researching. This is especially if there are several Harry, Louis or other common names that are utilized. With the naturalization, at hand, the original name may be given and this solves the problem.

No telling what I will find as I troll through the Archives for information in the future.