Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Immigration Documents - Please Comment on Proposed Fee Increase!

Do you have ancestors who immigrated in the 20th century?  Well, then you need to pay close attention to a change in fees that's being proposed.  And you need to voice your opposition to this price hike before it happens.

Anyone who naturalized between September 27, 1906 and March 31, 1956 has a C-File, and these can be a goldmine of genealogical information.  And even if your ancestor didn't naturalize, if you had ancestors in the US between 1940-1944, they had to register as aliens.  And if your family came after April 1, 1944 (as did my Holocaust survivor grandparents), your ancestors likely have A-Files.  And these files are about to get out of reach to genealogists and others.  And we need your help to stop this from happening.
One Page of My Great-Grandmother's A-File--These Things are Awesome!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Definitely Something to Speak Of/Shpikov--An Incredible 20th Century Document

I've found lots of Russian Empire documents on my Zubkis family.  I'd even found (thank you, Alex Krakovsky and his awesome wiki filled with Ukrainian documents) a 1903 family list from Kuna that updated what had happened in the extended family since the 1858 revision--at least as far as the Kuna administrators knew, since my family had left Kuna at least 30 years earlier.  But because they didn't know what had been happening in the family, some information was incorrect or dated.

But this new record, which seems to be a similar sort of early 20th century update to what had happened to the family since 1858, is awesome, since my family was actually living in the town in which the document was created, when it was created.
Shpikov 1902 Family List, Zubkis Family (Page 1)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

RootsTech 2020--Win A 4-Day Pass to RootsTech

I'm excited to announce that I'll be back at RootsTech this winter--both as a speaker and an Ambassador!  I'll be giving two classes--one on dealing with Russian Empire records when you don't speak Russian and another on Jewish genealogy.  Why RootsTech?  The conference gives a great overview of that here.

As an Ambassador, I am able to give away a free 4-day RootsTech pass to a lucky reader, which has a $299 value!  (If you already registered and you win, you can get a refund.)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Someday I've found it, the Bessarabian Connection

I've been trying for years to link together my Supkoff family to two other families in Pittsburgh's Jewish community--the Soupcoffs and the Zoupcoffs.  My grandfather had been told that they were related but didn't know how.  So I've researched the Soupcoffs and Zoupcoffs extensively.  Earlier this year, I discovered via both documentation and DNA that the Soupcoffs are related to my Supkoff family, as I wrote about here.

In researching the Soupcoffs, I found many individuals with colorful pasts.  One of those was Dr. Jacob Soupcoff, who later legally changed his name to Jacob Lorenz.  And in that legal name change petition, he made an interesting assertion.
From Jacob Soupcoff/Lorenz Name Change Petition

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Drawing Incorrect Conclusions

Naming patterns can sometimes be helpful in genealogy.  But sometimes, the way that names are recorded can lead researchers to incorrect conclusions.  Take the marriage record of my fourth cousin twice removed, where her name was recorded as Helen Rifke Jager.
Marriage of Helen Rifke Jager and Jankel Herskovics, Talaborfalva, Hungary (today's Tereblya, Ukraine), November 1941

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Upcoming Talks - MD, DC Area, NY--And Online!

I'll be giving several more talks before the end of 2019, and I'd love if some blog readers attend!  I have upcoming talks in the Baltimore and DC areas, one in Westchester County (NY), and one that is an online webinar that you can watch from the comfort of your own home (and I won't be offended if you're in pajamas; I may be as well).
Me speaking in Toronto a few years ago

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Two Boxes of History

My grandmother's first cousin Helen died a few weeks ago.  Helen and her siblings were the only first cousins side that my grandmother knew growing up, since all of the others grew up in what was then Czechoslovakia or Romania, while my grandmother was born in Pennsylvania.  One of Helen's brothers had given me some (very poor) photostats of some family documents in the early 1990s, but I'd never seen the originals.  Both of Helen's brothers died years ago.

I'd asked Helen a year or so ago if she had any family documents or photos, but she said that she didn't.  She did share some stories of growing up and of some relatives that she remembered.  Well, it turns out Helen had documents and photos.  Lots of them.

Helen's niece (on Helen's husband's side) has been going through her house.  As she found Rutner-related documents and information, she added them to a box.  And then she had to start adding them to a second box.  It turns out that Helen had many documents and photos.  Here's what Helen's niece Elizabeth has given me so far:
Photos and Documents from Helen