18 May 2017

New! Jewish Geneabloggers List

Emily Garber ©️ 2013
Recently, Thomas MacEntee announced that he will no longer update his blog GeneaBloggers and his Genealogy Blog Roll. Thomas' blog roll has more than 3,000 genealogy blog listings and it has been not only a useful source for readers, but also a useful marketing tool for bloggers.

I do not intend to completely duplicate those functions, but I have recently gone through GeneaBloggers' Blog Roll and extracted the blogs that self-identify with Jewish genealogy. I have accessed each, noted which ones are actively blogging (arbitrarily defined as publishing new posts in 2017) and which ones seem to be on hiatus. I have also added a few blogs that I know are relevant, but were not listed on GeneaBloggers.

I intend to keep this list current. How current will depend upon how many Jewish bloggers contact me when they start new blogs or restart old ones.

You may visit this new resource via the tab, above: Jewish Geneabloggers.*

If you are a Jewish genealogy blogger and you are not listed, please let me know via the email address shown on the Jewish Geneabloggers page.
* In case you are wondering, I asked Thomas MacEntee if it would be alright for me to use the term "geneabloggers." He gave me permission.

14 May 2017

Happy Mothers' Day Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup H7e!

A couple of years ago I posted a Mother's Day homage to my mother's mother's mother's line (mitochondrial haplogroup L2a1l2a). This year let's talk about my father's mother's mother's mother's line (mtDNA haplogroup H7e).
Happy Mother's Day to my late grandmother Dora, great grandmother Sarah, great great grandmother Ida (Chaye Sura) and my great great great grandmother Devora!

I do not know Devora Kesselman's maiden name (if she had one). Nor do I know if she and her husband Baruch Yisrael Kesselman had any children beyond my great great grandmother Chaya Sura. 

Morris family: (l-r) Jeannette, Max, Sarah, Murray, Esther and Dora; inset is Saul
Chaye Sura adopted the name Ida after she arrived in the USA with her husband David Malzmann (later Myers) in 1913. She was born about 1844 in the Russian Empire and died in the Bronx on 16 November 1926. David and Ida had six children: Myer, Sarah (my great grandmother), Rebecca, Louis, Joseph and Harry. It would seem to me that some member of the Myers family must have some photos of David and Ida Myers. But, so far, I have not located anyone with a family archive.

My great grandmother Sarah was born about 1876 in Labun, Volhynia Gubernia, Russian Empire and married Itzig Mazewitsky. She died on 9 August 1956 in the Bronx. Itzig adopted the name Isidor Morris upon immigration to New York City in 1906. Sarah followed with their children in 1910. She and Isidor had six children: Dora (my grandmother), Jeannette, Max, Murray, Esther and, their only US-born child, Saul.

Isidor and Sarah's eldest child was my grandmother, Dora. She married her first cousin (Isidor Morris' sister's son) Jack Garber in New York City in 1916. Dora  (originally Dvora) was born in Labun about 1897 and died in Brooklyn in 1954. Jack and Dora had three children: Leah, Bernard and Leonard.

Two of my cousins tested to identify this line's mtDNA haplogroup. One is a grandchild of Sarah Myers Morris and the other is a great grandchild. Interestingly, they are each other's only exact matches for mtDNA. There are 45 matches at a genetic distance (mutation) of 1; 39 at 2 and 6 at 3. This indicates the possibility of a fairly recent mutation separating this line from others in the haplogroup. If we ever find another previously unpredicted exact match, we'll likely have a cousin.

11 May 2017

New York City Marriage Licenses, 1907-1995: Machine Searchable and Online!

Reclaim the Records continues to impact availability of records. Today in my usual daily search for what's new on a variety of genealogy websites, I noted that Ancestry has posted a new database: "New York City, Marriage Indexes, 1907-1995."

About four years ago, I ordered and received my parents' marriage license application from the New York City Clerk's Office. I posted about it here. I had been able to order it because I had gone to the Municipal Archives and, knowing when my parents had married (9 February 1947), browsed through microfilm until I found the indexed record. I did the same for my father's parents' marriage license and affidavit, although I was able to acquire the actual record from the Municipal Archives.

Recently, Brooke Schreier Ganz and Reclaim the Records made the process much easier when they forced the hand of New York City agencies (the Municipal Archives and the Clerk's Office) and acquired and arranged for digitization of pages from index books for these records.

The records, now online at Internet Archive, have been wonderful. They do require a bit of researcher effort, however, to find the marriage records one seeks. The book indexes are organized by borough, year, quarter of the year and then grouped alphabetically (and separately) for grooms and brides. If one can narrow the time frame for when a couple may have married, one may locate the name of either the bride or groom and then confirm the record in the index by checking for the name of his/her spouse.

There is an ongoing volunteer effort to index these records via Crowd Source Indexing (CSI). And I encourage participation in these kinds of volunteer efforts - especially since the indexes created in the CSI platform will, ultimately, be freely available.

In the meantime, however, access to indexed records via Ancestry (using a personal or library subscription) is a great option. It has been Reclaim the Records' notion that these records should be freely available to all. Thus, Ancestry could upload them, as well. Ancestry has added value by creating their own index.

One of the records I'd been trying to locate was for the marriage of my great uncle Max Liebross and his first wife, Anna Bernstein. For some unknown reason, their nuptials are not listed in any of the standard online NYC marriage indexes that go through 1937 (Italian Genealogy Group and German Genealogy Group, Ancestry or FamilySearch). But, a few weeks ago, browsing the Internet Archive database, I was able to locate Max and Anna's application for their license.

Fig. 1. Max Liebross NYC Marriage License index page, detail
Fig. 2. Anne Berkowitz NYC Marriage License index page, detail
To be sure I had the correct record for the correct couple, I had to check both brides' and grooms' indexes separately.

I ordered the record, shown below from the Municipal Archives. 

Fig. 3. Affidavit for License to Marry, Max Liebross and Anne Berkowitz, 8 April 1912
Unfortunately, Rabbi Gottshalk, who married Max and Anne, did not, apparently, return the clergyman's part of the record. There was only one page filed. In contrast, see my grandparents' record). I now know that Max and Anne married sometime after 8 April 1912, when they applied for their license, and I can start searching for their marriage certificate, if there is one. 

Ancestry's index matches up brides and grooms, which simplifies the search process. If I search on Max Liebross in 1912 I will immediately see his intended's name in the search results, assuring that I have the correct couple.

Even better, however, if I search on Max Liebross with no year specified, I can find all three of his marriages (I had thought there were only two!). These indexed records were not available to me because the existing online indexes for certificates, mentioned previously, only go through 1937. I knew about Anne because she was the mother of Max's children. I knew about Fanny because she is buried in Mount Lebanon Cemetery with other Liebross relatives. I had no idea about Gussie.

The record one will view if one clicks on View Record, is the handwritten index page (similar to the detail shown in Figure 1, above).

One peculiar thing about Ancestry's new database is the contrast between what may be searched and what may be browsed. Search results seem to locate records within the time frame indicated in the title of the database: 1907-1995. But the listings in the browse area are not as comprehensive.

The following years may be browsed for the New York City boroughs:
  • Bronx 1914-1951
  • Brooklyn 1908-1951
  • Manhattan 1908-1951
  • Queens 1908-1953
  • Staten Island 1908-1960
Ordinarily, I would expect more records to be available for browsing than than searching via an index. But, in this case, go ahead and search first. 

I searched for my grandfather Jack Garber's second marriage (after my grandmother died in 1954). I found the following in Ancestry's database.

So, it appears that those records not yet included for browsing may have been indexed with no image attached.

Well, don't call or write me this evening. I will be busy.

02 May 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Shelly Stedman, Beth Moses Cemetery, Pinelawn, New York

Sheldon Leonard Stedman was born in New York City on 12 August 1930, the first of two sons born to Sam Stedman and Ida Schwartz.

In 1925, a few months before his birth, Shelly's parents lived in the Bronx at 897 Bryant Street.[1] His father was a glazier, selling mirror and glass.

Sometime, likely after 1935, Shelly and his family moved to 1048 Boynton Avenue in the Bronx.[2] They stayed at that address at least into the mid 1950s, when Shelly's younger brother served in Japan with the U.S. Army.[3]

Before moving to Boynton Beach in retirement, Shelly lived with his wife and children in New City, Rockland County, New York.[4] His first land purchase in Palm Beach County was in 1999.[5]

Shelly's Social Security Death index record indicates that his last residence before his death on 14 April 2005 was in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida.[6]

Sheldon L. Stedman's grave is in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot in Beth Moses Cemetery, 24 Maccabee Road, Pinelawn, New York.

1. 1930 U.S. Census, Bronx County, population schedule, Bronx, enumeration district 3-368, sheet 24A, dwelling 463, family 463, Sam and Ida Stedman; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 April 2017); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1475.
2. 1940 U.S. Census, Bronx Co., pop. sched., Bronx, e.d. 3-371, sheet 11B, household 216, Sam and Ida Stedman family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 April 2017); NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2485.
3. "Uptowners in the Service," New York Post (New York, NY), 21 August 1955, p. 6, col. 2; images, Fulton History (http://www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 30 April 2017). 
4. Sheldon Stedman, deed and mortgage instruments dated 1970-1989, Land Records database, index and images, Rockland County Clerk (New York) (http://rocklandgov.com/departments/clerks-office/land-records/ : accessed 30 April 2017).
5.  Sheldon Stedman, deed and mortgage instruments, Official Records database, index and images, Palm Beach County Clerk (Florida) (http://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/officialrecords/search.aspx : accessed 30 April 2017).
6. "U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014," index, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 April 2017); Sheldon L. Stedman, 14 April 2005.