04 May 2016

Yom HaShoah: In remembrance, 5 May 2016

Tonight is the start of Yom HaShoah. On this day, we honor the memories of those who died in Europe as a result of the atrocities associated with World War II. I have yet to find all of my family members with connections to the Holocaust. I hope my research continues to uncover their stories.

For some who died, I have little more than names.* For others, there are bits and snatches of recollections from other family members or information I have gleaned from records. For just a few, we have recollections of those who knew and loved them.

Killed in/near Labun, Ukraine (ca. July-September, 1941):
  • Perl Garber Zabarsky (born about 1888, age 53 at death), daughter of Avraham Garber and Chana Mazewitsky. Sister of my grandfather Jack Garber. My great aunt.
  • Khana Zabarsky (b. 1 August 1926, age 15) , daughter of Perl Garber and Isseck Zabarsky. My first cousin, once removed.
  •  Shmulik Mazewitsky (b. ca. 1915, age ca. 26), son of Monia Mazewitsky and Tzipa. Monia was (likely) the brother of my great grandfather Isidore Morris. My first cousin, twice removed.
  • Sonia Weisman Mazewitsky (b. ca. 1916, age 25), wife of Shmulik and daughter of Liba.
  • Aron Mazewitsky (b. ca. 1935, ca. age 6), son of Shmulik and Sonia. My second cousin, once removed.
Died during service in the Russian military:
  • Leib Bebik (Ber) Zabarsky (b. 8 December 1916, d. 17 January 1941). He was killed and his body was never found. My first cousin, once removed.
  • Mottl (or Mark) Zabarsky (b. 19 December 1918, d. 7 June 1943). He was buried near Bobrovka, Shchigrovsky district, Kursk oblast, Russia. Mottl was my first cousin, once removed.
Both men were the sons of Perl and Isseck Zabarsky.

Died near Tluste, Ukraine (July 1943):
  • Jutte Ett Barath (b. 21 January 1894), daughter of Hersch Leib Ett and Perl Wenkert. Perl Wenkert was my great grandmother's sister. Jutte was my first cousin, twice removed.
  • Moshe Efraim Barath, husband of Jutte Ett.
Died near Czortkow, Ukraine (1942):
  • Leon Eliezer Gottfried (b. ca. 1886), son of Yisrael Gottfried and Rakhel Liebross. Rakhel was my great grandfather's sister. Leon was my first cousin, twice removed.
  • Khana Weis Gottfried, wife of Leon Gottfried.
  • Rivka Gottfried (b. ca. 1926), daughter of Leo and Khana Gottfried. Rivka was my second cousin, once removed.
  • Yisrael Gottfried (b. ca. 1934), son of Leon and Khana Gottfried. Yisrael was my second cousin, once removed.  
Died in Obodovka, Vinnitsa, Ukraine (date unknown):  
  • Kalman Schaffer (b. ca. 1884), son of Berl Schaffer and Rivka Liebross. Rikka was my great grandfather's sister. Kalman was my first cousin, twice removed. 
  • Charlotte Schaffer (b. ca. 1886), daughter of Berl Schaffer and Rivka Liebross. Rivka was my great grandfather's sister. Charlotte was my first cousin, twice removed.
Died in Lviv, Ukraine (date unknown): 
  • Markus Schaffer, PhD. (b. ca. 1885), son of Berl Schaffer and Rivka Liebross. Rivka was my great grandfather's sister. Markus was my first cousin, twice removed. 
May their souls be bound in everlasting life.
* Records include:

20 April 2016

Meet me in Seattle!

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies will be holding the 36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy between August 7th and 12th, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. I will be delivering three talks.

Polonnoye, Ukraine, 2013 (EHG)

"When It Takes A Village: Applying Cluster research Techniques"

Monday, August 8th, 3-4:15 P.M.

Sometimes tracking one’s immigrant ancestors tests all one’s research acumen. Identifying a subject ancestor, his/her origins, and parentage; tracking that subject through time; and constructing biographies to place that person in his/her social context is best approached by broadening one’s research to include other family members, associates and neighbors. 

This presentation will outline a program for solving genealogical research problems via cluster and collateral research techniques. Topics will include: appropriate application, research planning, commonly used resources and documents, and case studies successfully tracking individuals from Europe to the United States, overcoming name and residential changes and using DNA evidence.

The main case study regards tracking a previously unknown woman who arrived at Ellis Island with my great grandfather. I sought to identify her kinship relationship to my family (if there was one).
A version of this talk appeared in written form: "When It Takes a Village: Applying Cluster Research Techniques," Avotaynu 31:2:3-9 (2015). 

"Beyond the Manifest: Applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to Confirm One's Ancestral Origins"

Wednesday, August 10th, 9-10:15 A.M. 

Knowing our immigrant ancestor's community of origin is critical to being able to follow his or her path backward to the old country. It benefits our research to be completely clear which of several similarly named communities is our target. Adhering to the guidelines of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) will help critically evaluate the information collected from our family stories and from records.

The GPS requires rigor in our research methodology. With its application and a well-designed research plan, we assure that our findings are robust and our conclusions not easily challenged. 

Using the community known in Yiddish as Lubin (pronounced LooBEEN), this talk will explore applied methodology and suggested genealogical sources and techniques applicable to Eastern European research. Resources include gazetteers, landsmanshaft burial data, online archival material, and Shoah databases.

An earlier version of this talk appeared in written form: "Using Landsmanshaft Burial Plots to Discover and Confirm the Location of a Family Shtetl," Avotaynu 27:1:3-9 (2011).

"Learning Our Craft: Online Opportunities for Improving Our Research Skills"

Thursday, August 11th, 4:30-5:45 P.M.

OK, I admit it. I am a podcast junkie. When I walk the dog most mornings and afternoons, I am listing to one of several genealogy-relevant podcasts on my iPod. In this way I get my fix, I stay up-to-date and educated on my craft and I get away from the darn computer to do something good for my body!

I occasionally take advantage of genealogy webinars and other online videos from a variety of sources.

I have taken online courses over several weeks from the National Genealogical Society, Family Tree Magazine and, especially, JewishGen. 

And most recently, I completed a certificate online course in genealogical research offered by Boston University. 

If one wishes to do quality research, one can never stop learning. Webcasts, webinars, online courses, blogs, podcasts, FaceBook, YouTube, discussion groups, wikis – these are a few of the plethora of opportunities for genealogy enthusiasts to hone their skills online often on their own and at their own pace. 

Since there are many different learning styles, this talk will focus on types of online learning opportunities (their strengths and weaknesses) and where one may find them. We’ll also discuss creating a personalized learning plan for not only selecting the best online learning opportunities to meet our needs and learning styles, but also fitting learning opportunities into our busy lives. 
I have not been blogging much here lately because, among other things, I am responsible for the IAJGS 2016 conference blog. Please check it out at http://www.iajgs2016.org/blog/. Or, one may go to the conference homepage, and click on the News/Blog Tab on the top right. 

You may subscribe to that blog via FeedBurner. Click on the Feedburner link on the blog page, provide the requested information, confirm your subscription when you receive an email, and, after that, you will receive daily email messages with blog post content.
I am looking forward to seeing you in Seattle! 
Wikimedia commons

02 April 2016

California! Here I come....

I am headed to California tomorrow to speak to two Jewish genealogical societies.
Sunday afternoon, April 3, at 1:30, I will be speaking at Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback St, Newport Beach, CA for the Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society. I will be discussing "Beyond the Manifest: Applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to Confirm One's Ancestral Origins."

This talk encourages applying rigorous research methods to one's search for ancestral towns of origin. It is specifically concerned with determining which of several towns with the same or similar names might be the correct one.

I have also been invited to speak to the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County on Monday evening at 7:00 P.M., April 4, at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. There, I will be delivering "When It Takes A Village: Applying Cluster Research Techniques."

This presentation in on using cluster and collateral relative research techniques to locate additional information on people who are challenging to locate and to break though on difficult genealogical problems. The research techniques are discussed within the context of planning one's research.

I am definitely looking forward to meeting Orange County JGS and JGS Conejo Valley and Ventura County members. If you are in the Orange County or Los Angeles areas, please stop by, attend the meetings and say, "hello!"

28 March 2016

My DNA Arboriculture

Recently many genealogists have jumped on a bandwagon started by blogger J. Paul Hawthorn. He created a chart using Excel to show where ancestors on his family tree were born. Then some genealogists, including Lara Diamond, thought to show their Y-DNA (father's father's father, etc.) and mitochondrial DNA (mother's mother's mother, etc.) haplogroups

Using this tool for DNA results is a terrific way to see how well one has applied DNA testing to one's tree. It really shows where the holes are and gives one an idea which relatives to approach next for further testing. 

For my family, I had to remake the chart to take into account the fact that my paternal grandparents (Jacob Garber and Dora Morris) were first cousins. Jacob's mother and Dora's father were siblings.

Holes in the Chart:

Morris (Mazewitsky) Y-DNA: I have not pursued this line yet, but I do have more than one Morris male relative to approach.

Wilson (Wilensky) Y-DNA: Soon to be accomplished. My cousin (a Wilson male) has just sent in his cheek swab test to FamilyTree DNA. Yes!

Liebross Y-DNA: I have asked some of my Liebross male cousins to test and have not yet received a yes (sigh).

Hoda Epstein Mt-DNA: I know of only one person I could approach on this (I missed my chance to ask her late mother to test). Right now I do not think the daughter is interested.

The other blanks cannot be pursued, at this point, unless I determine some additional collateral relatives on my tree.

22 March 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Rebecca Lerner, Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, New York

Last week's Tombstone Tuesday post was about Rabbi Yoer Lerner, former Rabbi of Labun (Lubin). Today, we address his wife, Rebecca or Rivka.

Here lies
The rabbi's wife from the town of Labin
the modest and pleasant
Mrs. Rivka daughter of
Rabbi Chaim of blessed memory
19th day in the month of Sivan
in the year 5689
May her soul be bound in the bonds of the living[1] 

The Hebrew calendar date corresponds to 27 June 1929 - the date shown on her death certificate.[2Her death certificate indicates that her rabbi father's last name was Gershfield. Her mother's name was not known to whomever was the informant for the certificate.

Yoer and Rebecca stayed in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. While I have located Yoer in a 1925 city directory at 3 Rutgers Place, Manhattan, I have not located the family in the 1925 New York State Census.[3] When Rebecca died, they had been living at 300 Madison Street. 

Rebecca's death certificate indicated she died at the age of 61; however, her passenger manifest from March 1924 showed her as 62.[4] So, the best we can say at this point was that she was born sometime between 1861 and 1868.

According to Yoer's petition for naturalization, he and Rebecca has nine children: Esther (born about 1887), Max (1893), Ita (1894), Yokheved (1898), Simkha (1900), Moishe (1902), Bobel (1903), Shia (1909),  and Khaim (1915).[5] At the time of Yoer's naturalization filed in November 1929, Max and Shia were in New York; Simkha, Moishe and Bobel were in Palestine; and Esther Balin (likely, Dolin), Ita Bosin, Yokheved and Khaim were still in the Soviet Union. 

Perhaps it was fortunate that Rebecca and Yoer died before World War II. They did not have to live with knowledge that several of their children were murdered. There are pages of testimony in the Yad Vashem database submitted by Khaim Dolin in 1992 for his mother Esther Dolin, and his aunts Ita Bosin and Yokheved Gelman.[6]

Rebecca was buried in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot in Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, New York: block 89, gate 156N, line 3L, grave 5.

1.  Special thanks to participants on Tracing the Tribe page on FaceBook: Elihu Romberg, Leah Cohen, Robin Meltzer and Esther Chanie Dushinsky. And thanks to Schelly Talalay Dardashti for all she does to maintain this useful resource.
2. New York County, New York, death certificate no. 17329 (27 June 1929), Rebecca Lerner; Municipal Archives, New York City.
3. R.L. Polk, compiler, Trow's New York City Directory, 1924-1915 (R.L. Polk Directory Co., 1924-1925), p. 1396, entry for Yera Lerner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 March 2016)
4. Manifest, S.S. Cedric, 11 March 1924, stamped p. 7, lines 2 and 3, Fre and Rebeka Lerner, ages 61 and 62; images, "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 January 2012).
5. Yoer Lerner petition for naturalization (1929), naturalization file 61152, Southern District of New York; Record Group 21: Records of the District Court of the United States; National Archives - Northeast Region, New York City.
6. "Shoah Names Database," index and digital images, Yad Vashem (http://yvng.yadvashem.org/ : accessed 20 March 2016); search on name Lerner and community Labun.