30 November 2013

Consider Pioneer Day When Planning for the IAJGS Conference Travel

My initial thought for my Salt Lake City International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference travel planning was to arrive several days early and make the most of my research time at the Family History Library. If you were planning something similar, beware that the FHL will be closed Thursday, 24 July 2014 in honor of Pioneer Day - a Utah State holiday. The Library is also always closed on Sundays.

The IAJGS Conference team took Pioneer Day into account in their planning and decided to avoid that date during the Conference. I guess that's a measured decision, but, frankly, Thursdays at the Conference are usually, for me, jam-packed with sessions, meetings and, then, the Thursday evening banquet. So, I would not have had any problem with the FHL being closed that day.

If you were planning an early arrival, Thursday, 24 July, might be a great day to explore the beautiful mountainous outdoors in the Salt Lake City area or take in a parade. Either that, or adjust your travel schedule accordingly.

29 November 2013

Call for papers - IAJGS 2014 Conference, Salt lake City, Utah

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies website now features a Call for Papers for the 27 July - 1 August 2014 Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Proposals are due by midnight 15 January 2014.  Those whose submissions are accepted will be notified by 15 March 2014.

The site also provides information about the conference hotel. One may now reserve a hotel room. Conference registration will open toward the end of December 2013.

Waxing Philosophical: Final Elizabeth Shown Mills NY Times Genealogy Advice

The past Wednesday, the New York Times Booming Section ran the fourth and final installment of genealogy questions answered by genealogy methodology maven Elizabeth Shown Mills.

In part 4, Mills covered questions regarding:
  • Research Stalemates on the American Frontier
  • Identifying an Immigrant’s Place of Origin
  • Why Genealogy?
The answers to the first two include the FAN principle and exhaustive searches - themes Mills explores successfully throughout her research and teaching career.

I was particularly drawn to the second question because this is a topic I have explored for several years - first, in an article published in Avotaynu in 2011, and more recently in my August 2013 International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies presentation in Boston.[1] [2]  

My specific interest is in determining which location from among villages of similar-sounding names is the correct one. My research methodology (as reported in the Avotaynu article) included the FAN principle on steroids - analysis of all immigrant families in two landsmanshaft (community association) burial plots in a New York City cemetery. I have not yet explored this subject in this blog, but should - and will.

Mills struck a philosophical note in response to the last theme: why genealogy? Her words are absolutely correct for me and my research: "Acknowledging our personal pasts, reconstructing the lives of our ancestors and restoring them to human memory can validate the struggles they invested in creating the world we now enjoy." 

For me, the Holocaust, long an abstraction, has become much more personal since I began my research. One of my greatest thrills was sending a large family tree to a Holocaust survivor relative whom I have not yet met. The fact that our family has grown, thrived, and continued to contribute to our society was an excellent and satisfying response to those who pictured a world free of Jewish people. 

1. Garber, Emily H. "Using Landsmanshaft Burial Plots to Discover and Confirm the Location of a Family Shtetl," Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish  Genealogy, Volume XXVII, Number 1, Spring 2011: 3-9.
2. Garber, Emily H. ""Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins," Presentation 6 August 2013, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference, Boston, Massachusetts.

26 November 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Bernice Morris

Bernice Morris gravestone, digital image, Distant Cousin.com (http://www.distantcousin.com : accessed 14 February 2008), Red Bank Hebrew Cemetery (Congregation Bnai Israel),  Tinton Falls, Monmouth County, NJ.

Here lies
Batsheva daughter of Baruch Mordechai
17 Elul 5756
JUNE 27, 1922 - SEPT. 1, 1996 

Bernice, Max and Irene Morris' first child, born 27 June 1922 in New York City. [1] The family moved to Monmouth County, New Jersey (initially Red Bank and, later, Rumson) in about early 1930. Bernice attended Red Bank High School (class of 1940). [2]

Bernice married Mel Stern and had two children: Steve and Ilene (Lana). She and Mel divorced about 1950. Stern died 24 August 1959.

On 25 December 1960, Bernice married Daniel Gallop, with whom she had Judy. Dan adopted Bernice's first two children. [3]

Bernice and Dan later divorced and Bernice returned to her maiden name.

I found this photograph of Bernice's tombstone (as well as those of her siblings and parents) in the Red Bank Hebrew Cemetery on DistantCousin.com. [4] 

1. 1925 New York States Census, New York County, New York, population schedule,  Enumeration District 18, Assembly District 7, sheet 21, Max and Irene Morris; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 January 2013), New York State Archives: Albany, New York.
1930 U.S. Census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedule, Red Bank, Enumeration District 13-104, sheet 1A, family 10, Max Morris, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2008), citing Family History Library microfilm 2,341,107.
2. The Log, Red Bank High School Year Book, Red Bank, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Bernice Shirley Morris, page 22, 1940, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 November 2013).
 3. I have no records in support of this information. The informants are her children. Recently, I read a post on Jersey Roots Genealogy blog that explains the intricacies of requesting genealogical copies of vital records. I may have to consider that route for some members of the Morris family.
4. I'd actually located this photo (and several other Morris family tombstones) early on in my genealogical research, failed to cite my source (mea culpa!), and could not relocate them again. I'm not sure what I had queried on originally, but searching on their names did not work during my recent quest. Once my cousin told me the New Jersey cemetery in which the Morrises were interred, I was able to find them on DistantCousin.com.

23 November 2013

New IAJGS 2014 Conference Blog

The 2014 International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference will be held 27 July - 1 August 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. The organizers have started a new blog for the conference. Check back there periodically for updates, or, better yet, subscribe to their feed via RSS or email.

There is also an conference information page on the IAJGS website and an IAJGS FaceBook page.

The Hilton Salt Lake City Center is about three blocks from the Family History Library. I'm getting my research list ready.

21 November 2013

ObamaCare: Steve Morse Steps Out

Some genealogy sites have cross-over appeal. That is, non-genealogists may find them of interest. Steve Morse's One-Step website, is chock-full of genealogical interesting applications that have simplified searches for many of us. Now, he has added one that should simplify searches for those seeking new plans under ObamaCare: "Viewing ObamaCare-Compliant Health Plans in One Step." Right now it is located tenth from the bottom of the One-Step homepage, under "ObamaCare." It covers all fifty states.

The application prompts one to enter state, county, age,  preferred level of coverage, and whether one uses tobacco products. A spreadsheet of available plans is presented. Here, as an example, are Gold-level plans for Maricopa County, Arizona.

Once one enters the number of people in one's household, the program presents the monetary limit for qualifying for federal subsidy.

Steve Morse has built this tool with the aid of several sources of information, including: the Affordable Care Act website, eHealthInsurance, and ratings from Consumer Reports

Perhaps with all the time people will save selecting healthcare plans via this new Steve Morse One-Step tool, they will spend the rest of their time exploring his site and starting genealogy research!

20 November 2013

More E.S. Mills Genealogy Advice, Part 3, NY Times

The third installment of Elizabeth Shown Mills responding to questions from the public regarding genealogy research is in this morning's New York Times. Part 2, was here; part 1, here. Part 4 will be published next Wednesday.

Today ESM covers the following issues:
  • A Reconstruction-era Ex-Slave Businessman
  • Clues to Origins and Parentage of an Enslaved Man
  • Tracing Jamaican Roots
  • Records for a New York-New Jersey Couple  
  • Naturalization Files for New York
  • Name Change at Ellis Island?
This week's article is rich in methodological advice. One should read the responses to all six questions even if one has little or no interest in slavery records or Jamaica. While not actually mentioning the terms, Mills extolls the virtues of cluster research or the FAN principle (i.e., looking into the records of friends, associates and neighbors) to break through obstacles in one's research paths. 

19 November 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Sophie and Charles Leiner

Used with permission: JewishData.com, digital image 
(http://www.jewishdata.com :  accessed 16 August 2013), 
gravestone for Charles and Sophie Leiner,  U-10-15-4 and U-10-15-6, 
Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Queens, New York.
Here lies
Shoel son of Hanoch
Died 14 Cheshvan 5710
DIED NOV. 6, 1949
Here lies
Sprinze daughter of Hersch Leib
Died 14 Cheshvan 5710
Died Nov. 6, 1949

Sophie Ett Leiner and her husband Charles Leiner died on the same day in 1949. I provided a newspaper article about their deaths in yesterday's post.

Sophie was the fifth child (fourth daughter) of Perl Wenkert and Hersch Leib Ett to live to adulthood. She was likely born in 1893. Charles, born in New York City, was the son of Henry and Lottie Leiner (who are also interred in the same plot at Mount Lebanon Cemetery). I have not yet located his birth certificate.

The Leiners are buried in the Brooklyn First, Inc. plot in Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Queens, New York. Charles is in grave U-10-15-4 and Sophie is in U-10-15-6.

18 November 2013

Deadly Coincidence: Charles and Sophie Ett Leiner

The story of the deaths of Sophie and Charles Leiner take the marriage bond to a whole new level. A relative alerted me to the circumstances of their death and, I thought, "That probably made the newspapers." It did. And the story was picked up by several papers nation-wide.

I located this article in the Google News Archive. It was published in the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, 7 November 1949.
Husband Follows
Wife in Death
  New York - (AP) - Sophie Leiner, 54, died in her husband's arms early yesterday after a heart attack.
  "What am I going to do without her?" grieved Charles Leiner, 60, to his son.
  An ambulance doctor came and pronounced Mrs. Leiner dead of a heart attack.
  The doctor then returned to the hospital, but when he arrived was told to turn back.
  Returning to the Leiner home, the doctor found the husband dead of a heart attack - just 15 minutes after his wife's death. 

Sophie Ett Leiner was my grandmother, Tillie Liebross Wilson's, first cousin. She emigrated to the United States from Torskie, Austria (today Torske, Ukraine) in 1910. [1] [2]

She and Charles, a native New Yorker, were married in Brooklyn on 22 June 1918. [2] They had five children: Jerome, Seymour, Pearl, and twins Jack and Robert. 

1. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2 August 2008), manifest, Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, Hamberg to New York, arriving 23 July 1910, List 49, Passenger 18, Sprince Ett; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
2.  Torske is one of those places that JewishGen does not include in its Communities Database because, it is believed, it had too few Jewish people. It can be found, however, in the JewishGen Gazetteer.
3. Kings County County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 7336 (22 June 1918), Charles Leiner and Sophie Ettinger [sic], New York City Municipal Archives, New York.

16 November 2013

Heading to Los Angeles, CA

At the invitation of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles, I will be speaking in Encino, California this coming Monday, 18 November 2013. I will be presenting an up-to-date version of my application of the Genealogical Proof Standard and my exhaustive search into the location of my father's family's shtetl - known to us as Lubin: "Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins."

Looking forward to seeing my LA friends and relatives and meeting genealogists from JGSLA.

14 November 2013

Jewish Genealogy Resources, Elizabeth Shown Mills and the NY Times

The New York Times Booming section published Elizabeth Shown Mills' "Advice on How to Research Family History, Part 2," on 13 November 2013.

Among the topics ESM addressed are two regarding Holocaust-related research:
  • Geographic ‘Memory Holes’ Created by the Holocaust
  • Migration of Holocaust Survivors to Argentina
I was actually pleasantly surprised to see this because ESM's case study examples are usually from the southern part of the United States. ESM gave all the correct advice, but the  concept of a "geographic 'memory hole' " (whatever that may be) may be somewhat challenged by the good works in progress by several Jewish genealogists and special interest groups. Most of these projects are free access - although many depend upon donations to keep them going.

Riga, Latvia - See the JewishGen Latvia Database which has over 160,000 records. A query on Riga netted 26,000 results.

Kaunas, Lithuania - Litvak SIG reports that the Kaunas District (Uyezd) Research Group has spend upwards of $35,000 thus far acquiring, translating and distributing 160,000 individual records from this area. The area includes Kaunas and many surrounding villages. Much of this is accessible via the All Lithuanian Database (with 1 million + records) or the JewishGen Lithuanian Database (with 1.5 million records) hosted on JewishGen. Some are currently only accessible via paid membership in the Litvak SIG Kaunas District group.

Moscow, Russia - see the Moscow kehilalinks webpage hosted on JewishGen.

Warsaw, Poland - Jewish Records Indexing-Poland has indexed more than 5 million vital records since it began in 1995. These records are included in registers from many former Polish Commonwealth towns in Eastern Europe, including Warsaw. The most exciting news is that the Polish State Archives is in the process digitizing all their records. As Jewish records are digitized, JRI-Poland creates direct links to them from their indices.

There are many Warsaw records located within the Warsaw archives and among the many not-yet-digitized microfilms of the Family History Library. See JRI-Poland's Warsaw page for the status of indexing these records.

Budapest, Hungary - Ongoing data collection/indexing projects are listed on JewishGen's Hungarian SIG pages.

Vienna  - Genteam has been indexing records from archives in Vienna and the vicinity for several years. They now have more than 8 million records indexed. Many of these are Jewish records.

While there's no question that records have been lost, I like to think that Jewish genealogists may be able to learn from the burned courthouse issues with which U.S. Southern states' genealogists (such as ESM) contend. I think the landowner records/cadastral maps that Gesher Galicia (the Galicia SIG) has been collecting may, for many shtetlach, be the partial answer to Jewish genealogists' missing European records issues. As someone recently pointed out, we need to love the records we have. I think that there is more and more to love.

ESM also addressed several additional questions regarding:
  • Identifying Ancestral Photos
  • Genealogical Templates for Citing Sources
  • Numbering Systems for Genealogy
  • Researching a Railroad Employee in 1921
  • Beginning Indian Research from the U.S.
  • Becoming a Professional Genealogist
I like the fact that the questions selected for treatment are not all beginner issues. And I excitedly await the third installment next week of ESM's New York Times' question and answer sessions. 

Treasure Chest Thursday: Morris Plate Glass Advertisement

I come from a long line of glaziers. In fact, many of the glaziers in New York City between about 1905 and 1930 were immigrants from the small shtetl of Lubin (Labun, Russian Empire) - but that's another story for another time. Max Morris, my grandmother Dora Morris Garber's brother, was one of the few in the family to leave New York City to set up shop in the hinterlands - in this case, Red Bank, New Jersey.

Max and his family left the Bronx in the late 1920's - early 1930. The 1930 U.S. Census (taken 1 April 1930) finds them in Red Bank. [1] The earliest online city directory I've been able to locate for Red Bank is from 1938. It shows the Max Morris family at 66 Pinckney and Morris Plate Glass at 67 Monmouth Street. [2]
The advertisement at left comes from the 1945 Red Bank Directory. [3] 

Max continued the business into the 1960s. After he died, his grandson Steve Gallop bought the store and continues to run Morris Plate Glass today. It is still located in Red Bank, but is now at 184 Shrewsbury Avenue.

1. 1930 U.S. Census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedule, Red Bank, Enumeration District 13-104, sheet 1A, family 10, Max Morris, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2008), citing Family History Library microfilm 2,341,107.
2. Red Bank (Monmouth County, New Jersey) Directory, 1938 (New York, New York: R.L. Polk & Co, 1938), page 127, entry for "Morris, Max" and page 210, entry for "Morris Plate Glass Co.," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 October 2010).
3. 1945 Red Bank (Monmouth County, New Jersey) City Directory, 1945-46 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: R.L. Polk & Co., 1946), page 279, entries for "Morris, Max" and "Morris Plate Glass Co."; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 October 2010).

12 November 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Muriel Morris Sofer

Muriel Morris Sofer gravestone, Red Bank Hebrew Cemetery (Congregation Bnai Israel), Tinton Falls, New Jersey, photograph courtesy of Stephen Gallop, 28 October 2013.
Here lies
Mindel daughter of Baruch Mordechai
18 Nisan 5722
1926 - 1962

Muriel Morris was the fourth child and second daughter of Max and Irene Morris to live to adulthood. 

Muriel was born on 13 May 1926 in New York. Her earliest years were spent in the Bronx. Sometime between 2 July 1928 (when her brother Edwin was born in New York City) and 1 April 1930 (when the 1930 U.S. Census recorded the family in Red Bank), the family moved to Red Bank, New Jersey.[1]

Muriel married Joseph Sofer (30 May 1919 - 3 February 2000). They had no children.

Muriel died 21 April 1962 in Red Bank. [2]

1. 1930 U.S. Census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedule, Red Bank, Enumeration District 13-104, sheet 1A, family 10, Max Morris, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2008), citing Family History Library microfilm 2,341,107.
2. Muriel Morris Sofer, Red Bank Register (Red Bank, New Jersey), volume 84, no. 210, Monday, 23 April 1962, Obituary, page 2, Red Bank Register Archives (http://rbr.mtpl.org/rbr/ : accessed 12 November 2013).

07 November 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dora Morris Garber's Death Certficate

Back when I ordered Sarah Morris', death certificate from the New York City Department Health and Mental Hygiene, I also ordered her daughter, Dora's. My grandmother, Dora Morris Garber, the eldest child of Isidore and Sarah Myers Morris, died at the age of 57 on 24 August 1954.

Kings County, New York, Certificate of Death, Number 156-54-315803 (24 August 1954), 
Dora Garber, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, 
New York.
Dora's husband (my grandfather) Jack Garber was the informant for the death certificate. At the time of her death, Dora lived at 367 Avenue S in Brooklyn, New York.

The certificate indicates that she'd lived in New York City for 43 years. In actuality, she arrived with her family from the Russian Empire in June of 1910 - so, she really had 44 years of New York City residence. [1]

While this death certificate indicates Dora was 57 when she passed away, other records indicate that she might have been a year younger.

Establishing dates of birth for eastern European Jewish immigrants is notoriously difficult. Birthdays were probably not as important as we make them now in the United States and the date of birth, if known at all, would likely have been recalled with respect to the Jewish calendar. Add to this the fact that the Russian Empire did not switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar until 1918 and calculating a date of birth for eastern European Jews became higher math. [2]

The only document I have for Dora that indicates an actual birth date (26 December 1897) comes from her naturalization petition. [3] If that was indeed her birth date, then she would have been 56 at death. I have a variety of records that show her a year older than her birth date would suggest, including the manifest which shows her as 13 in June 1910. Since vital records from her home town of Labun have not yet surfaced in Ukraine, we may never know.

Dora's slow decline and death from cancer was difficult for the family. I was born a few months before Dora's death and my mother told me that Dora was sad that she did not have the strength to hold her youngest grandchild. Dora's daughter, Leah, who was emotionally close to her mother, lived in Massachusetts. My uncle Lenny told me that during his mother's decline both he and my father would alternate going to her home after work to take care of her. It was good that she had such sweet and attentive sons.

1. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 11 January 2012), manifest, Vaderland, Antwerp to New York, arriving 7 June 1910, List 1, Passenger 25, Dora Morris; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
2. SteveMorse.org reports that the last Julian date in Russia was 31 January 1918 and the first Gregorian date was 14 February 1918.
3. Dora Garber Petition for Naturalization ((3 May 1943), naturalization file no. 378602, Eastern District of New York; Records of the District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives - Northeast Region, New York City.

06 November 2013

ESM in the NYT!*

For those of us who read widely in genealogy methodology there is no greater name than Elizabeth Shown Mills (fondly known, even to those who've never been formally introduced to her, as ESM). There are two ESM websites of interest here and here. Last week in their "Booming" section, the New York Times announced that ESM would answer questions starting the following Wednesday.

That announcement was greeted in the online responses section by 94 messages from people hopeful of being selected for ESM treatment. In today's ESM response (part 1), she answers 5 questions regarding:
  1. Starting our genealogical journey
  2. Genetic genealogy
  3. Coping with  mass of genetic matches
  4. Online trees
  5. Preserving our information at online subscription sites
Booming is an existing NYT section for Baby Boomers that one may access directly at nytimes.com/booming or subscribe to using RSS feed. So as not to miss a saintly ESM word, click on the RSS feed button at the end of the article. In my case, since I use Feedly to aggregate my blog subscriptions, it gave me the immediate option of subscribing via Feedly.  Done!
* Thank you to Saul Issroff who alerted us to this NYT series via his message in the JewishGen Discussion Group.

05 November 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Dora Morris Garber

Here Lies
Devorah daughter of Yitzchak
Died 25 Av 5714
May her soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life


DIED AUG. 24, 1954
My grandmother, Dora Morris (Mazewitsky) Garber, was born 26 December 1897 in Labun, Russian Empire (today, Yurovshchina, Ukraine). She was the eldest child of Isidore Morris and Sarah Malzmann (Myers) Morris

Dora emigrated with her mother and siblings to the United States from the Port of Antwerp on 28 May 1910 and arrived at Ellis Island on 7 June 1910. [1]

Dora married her first cousin Jack (Yankel/Jacob) Garber on 12 August 1916. [2] Jack had become a glazier like his uncle/father-in-law, Isidore.

Jack and Dora had three children: Leah Garber Eisenberg (12 September 1917 - 20 August 2006), Bernard "Sonny" Garber (18 January 1919 - 9 July 2002) and Leonard Garber (1923- ).

Dora died at 5:20 PM on 24 August 1954 at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. [3] She had suffered from cancer. She is buried in Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York: Block 89, Gare 156N, Line 8L, Grave 2.

1."New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 11 January 2012), manifest, Vaderland, Antwerp to New York, arriving 7 June 1910, List 1, Passenger 25, Dora Morris; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
2. New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 19923 (12 August 1916), Jacob Garber and Dora Morris, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
3. Kings County, New York, Certificate of Death no. 156-54-315803, Dora Garber, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York.