Sunday, November 20, 2022

Ancestry's Concentration Camp Collection - Town Searches

Ancestry has a collection of records from concentration camps.  These records can help you learn the fate of relatives, or at least where they were for a period of time during WWII.  Some also have significant genealogical information--parents' names, spouses names (with maiden names for the mother and spouse, when applicable), and at times there are photos.  Not everyone who was in a concentration camp has records included in this collection (especially those who were murdered upon arrival), but many are.

While searching just for surnames can help you locate relatives, I've found that searching for town names--with some caveats--can often be even more powerful.

Concentration Camp Intake Form; David Ruttner (my 4th cousin twice removed)

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Westernized Ancestral Names

My great-great grandfather was Yechiel Suttleman.  He did come to the United States, although his first two wives did not (as they had died in Europe).  On official papers in America, he used the name Charles or Charlie.  His first wife, Kreina, never left Europe or used any westernized name, same as wife #2, Chana.  But how do these three people appear on their children's records?

Death Record of Roza Zutelman Paciornik; Curitiba, Brazil; 1945

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

80th Yahrtzeit of Senkevichivka Ghetto's Destruction--Details per my grandmother

Tonight into tomorrow (18th of Tishrei) marks the 80th anniversary of the destruction of the Senkevychivka Ghetto.  On that day, thousands of my paternal grandparents' relatives, friends and neighbors were murdered.  Among those were three of my great grandparents, a great-great grandfather, great aunts and uncles, and many other relatives.  My teenaged grandfather was out of the ghetto on that day on a work detail, but my grandmother was there.  I've transcribed her life story before (you can read her nine-part story here covering her life before and during the Holocaust).  But today I'm going to repeat the chapter about the ghetto's destruction, from her perspective. 

My grandmother is on the right, with her arm on her grandmother's shoulder.  Her younger sister Malia is to the right.  And her parents are in the center.  Her grandmother had died before the war.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Check and Check Again / Town Searches

It's important to keep up-to-date on record sets that are newly digitized &/or newly indexed that might give clues about your family.  It's why I consistently re-do searches on JewishGen, Ancestry, FamilySearch, and more.  Just recently, a new batch of records was added to JewishGen which helped me to find out more about some branches of my family, and I found it re-doing a search I'd done many times before.  And while I did then search in that record set for some of my family surnames, searching for ancestral towns found even more branches than I would have discovered otherwise.

1930 Czechoslovakian Census; Fried Family; Kosice, Slovakia

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Eastern European Archives' Webpages / Finding more Diments

Eastern European archives historically did not have much of a web presence, and those that had webpages generally didn't have digitized records.  Well, that has changed over the last decade!  The Polish State Archives and the Latvian State Historical Archives are at the forefront of making records accessible by digitization.  But other countries are catching up--including Ukraine.  Despite the current war (and perhaps as a consequence, with archives realizing that physical records are in danger), Ukrainian archives continue to digitize records.  I keep a close eye on branches that would hold records for my ancestral towns, following their Facebook pages, and looking at their webpages to watch for newly-added digitized records. Most of those records aren't for towns I'm researching (but perhaps they cover areas of interest to you).  But some are.

Chaim-Lejb Diment & Family; 1920 Lutsk Census (page 1)

Monday, August 1, 2022

Ashkenazic Shared DNA Survey - August 2022 Update

Thank you to everyone who has contributed data about shared DNA in people with Ashkenazic ancestry!  I have 6455 data points to analyze, and that should help the entire genetic genealogy community  (I'm still collecting data--you can find out more about the project and how to contribute here).


This iteration looks at how shared DNA will differ depending on how much (documented) Ashkenazi DNA each individual has.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Probable Relatives Becoming Definite Relatives - Keep Track of Those Stray Branches!

I'll often find a family with the surname that I'm researching, in a place nearby where my family lived, but where I don't know for sure how (or even if!) they are actually related to me.  I keep track of these families and often can connect them into my larger trees later; other times I'm able to prove that they're actually not related to the family I've been researching.  I'm always glad later that I've kept track of these stray branches, because the information is often helpful.

Birth of Yerachmiel Diment; Torchin; 1926