Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finding Eastern European Records, Part 2 (JewishGen)


I've often been asked how I find so many documents from various parts of Eastern Europe--many of which have appeared in blog posts.  This is the second in what will be a series of posts describing how to find Eastern European records for your own ancestors; the first (covering LDS microfilms) is here.  While these posts will generally concentrate on how to find Jewish records in Eastern Europe, many of the strategies will also be applicable to records for other religions.  (Note that in the Russian Empire, most record sets were recorded separately by religion.)  The entire series can be seen here.

This post will discuss some of what's available on JewishGen; other components will be incorporated into future posts.

Town Locators

A critical component to finding family records in Eastern Europe is having identified a particular town of origin.  JewishGen's Communities Database allows searching using the misspelled or phonetically written versions of a town name which are often passed down orally or found in documentation and discovering the current spelling of that town name.  The results will also show the political situation of that town (noting the country, province and district) during various time periods, reflecting changing governments under which many towns found themselves.
JewishGen's Community Database is easily searchable from its homepage

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jacob Schwerin--Lost Son Found

Earlier, I wrote about Jacob E. Schwerin (born 1855), my sister-in-law's third great grandfather, who was from Sumter, South Carolina but did not appear on any of the many online family trees for the one Schwerin family from Sumter--that of Julius and Caroline Schwerin and their children.  There are many mentions of Jacob Schwerins and J.E. Schwerins in South Carolina in the 1870s and 1880s, but I wanted to find something definitively linking him to Julius and Caroline.

There were several things that I was able to find that alluded to Jacob's being a son of Julius and Caroline Schwerin.
The Watchman & Southren, November 13, 1883

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Getting the Diamonds to America--1946, the Year of HIAS Paperwork

I'd written a bit back in 2013 about finding my grandparents' and great grandmother's HIAS file, but I never went into detail about everything that was there.  Their file was very comprehensive and had letters, documents, and telegrams tracing the process of getting them sponsored to America, their transit to America, and the legal follow-up that needed to be done to ensure that they wouldn't be a burden to the American taxpayer.

Much of 1946 was spent with HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) getting the paperwork together so that my grandparents (Paul and Sonia Diamond) and great grandmother (Sheva Beitch) would be able to legally come to America.

The earliest document in the folder was from June of 1946.
Visa Affidavit, Nathan Zuriff, June 1946

Finding Eastern European Records, Part 1 (LDS Microfilms)

I've often been asked how I find so many documents from various parts of Eastern Europe--many of which have appeared in blog posts.  This is the first in what will be a series of posts describing how to find Eastern European records for your own ancestors.  While these posts will generally concentrate on how to find Jewish records in Eastern Europe, many of the strategies will also be applicable to records for other religions.  (Note that in the Russian Empire, most record sets were recorded separately by religion.)  The entire series can be seen here.

This post will cover how to find records available via the LDS on microfilm.
1888 Tax Census for the Marienhoff Family of Nezhin, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)
The document above is an example of a document found on an LDS-filmed microfilm.

The LDS have microfilmed a huge number of records from around the world, including Jewish records covering many towns and districts.  These microfilms can be ordered inexpensively ($7.50 for a 3-month rental) and delivered to the Family History Center of your choice.  Make sure to search multiple spellings for both your town and the district in which the town was located as often records are listed under the spelling for the time period in which they were initially generated--and spellings and even town names changed over time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Other Buki Zubatys in 1851 (2/2)

Although I haven't figured out how/if they are connected with my family, in the hopes that these will help someone else (please contact me if so--I may have found more info by the time you read this), here are the other Zubaty families in the 1851 Revision List for Buki.  This is the second batch of Zubaty records from this Revision List; the first batch is here.
Family of Moshko Eveliovich Zubaty, 1851 Russian Empire Revision List, Buki--Males

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jacob E Schwerin--What Else is Known?

Earlier, I posted about my sister-in-law's third great grandfather, Jacob Schwerin, who seems to have magically appeared as an adult.  So what else do we know about Jacob?

Looking for Jacob Schwerins in South Carolina, I found reference to a Jacob E Schwerin who suddenly appears beginning in the late 1870s in Wedgefield, a village in Sumter County just west of Sumter proper.
Appointments of U. S. Postmasters; Sumter County, SC; Jacob Schwerin

Monday, August 24, 2015

Other Buki Zubatys in 1851 (1/2)

Although I haven't figured out how/if they are connected with my family, in the hopes that these will help someone else (please contact me if so--I may have found more info by the time you read this), here are the other Zubaty families in the 1851 Revision List for Buki.  This is the first batch of Zubaty records from this Revision List.
Family of Avrum Aizikovich Zubaty, 1851 Russian Empire Revision List, Buki--Males