Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hungarian Vital Records from MACSE, for English Speakers

MACSE is the Hungarian Society for Family Research.  If you have family who lived in Hungary, it's a great (and growing) resource for finding records on your family.  MACSE has been indexing thousands of Hungarian vital (and other) records which are not indexed anywhere else.  While some limited searching can be done for free, you can join MACSE for $30 a year to get access to everything that they have indexed.  If you have Hungarian ancestry, this is one of the best deals around.  But it takes a bit of experimenting for English speakers to figure out how to best leverage what it has.
Marriage of Pepi Ruttner (my grandmother's second cousin) to Gyula Neuman; August 1945

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Holocaust Deaths - Registered Post-War

Many of those killed in the Holocaust did not have their deaths registered at that time.  However, in many cases, their deaths were officially registered post-war by surviving family members or friends.

Death of Nachman & Perl Feintuch

Sunday, February 17, 2019

My Great-Great Uncle's Marriage

My great grandmother had a brother named Mendel Fuchs.  Until I got civil vital records from his hometown of Dulovo (then Dulfalva), I didn't even know he existed.  Since that time, I discovered that he was born in 1900 and that he was murdered in Dachau in November 1944--and was even issued a death certificate.

But I didn't know what happened in between, although I did know from Dachau records that he'd been deported from Khust.  However, since many Jews were taken from their villages to Khust before final deportation, I wasn't sure where he lived as an adult.  But now I have some records from Khust, and guess who I found!
Mendel Fuchs Marriage, 1934

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Hungarian Civil Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch has been adding more and more transcriptions (and books) for towns in what was the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary.  Even if you don't have family in areas directly covered by FamilySearch's holdings, you may still find relatives, including those who moved to Budapest from quite a distance away.  (These records cover people of all religions.)
Death of Chajem Ruttner

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Divorces in the Shtetl - Reasons

Last week I wrote about the number of divorces in the town of Nezhin in the Russian Empire--and how it was so much more than I'd expected.  As a certified (certifiable?) geek, I ran the numbers.

But first, I did note why people were divorcing.  And there were some interesting reasons.
Nezhin Divorce:  He was unable to earn a living

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Divorces in the Shtetl - Frequency

Recently, I've been involved in several conversations about the divorce rate in America's Jewish community.  Many people say that there was essentially no such thing as divorce in Eastern Europe and that this is purely a function of American society; they imagine shtetl life to have been some sort of utopia.

Before you read further, guess what percentage of marriages in Europe ended in divorce.  And see how close your guess is to reality.

Because the vital records for Nezhin's Jewish community are largely intact from the late 1850s through the Russian Revolution, I decided to look at the ratio of divorces to marriages each year in that town.  (You can browse through these record books online yourself; information on what is available with links can be found here.)

What I learned about that is below; I also took note of the reasons for the various divorces, which are interesting enough to merit their own future post (so stay tuned).
Nezhin Divorce:  Because he was blind

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Philadelphia Bank Passage Order Books

A great resource on JewishGen--one that applies to immigrants of all religions, not just those who were Jewish--are the Philadelphia Bank Passage Order Books.  Relatives already in the United States could save up money to bring over relatives or friends still in Europe and arrange for their passage through various immigrant banks.

A combined effort between the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia indexed surviving books, and they can be invaluable for finding your relatives.  Even if your immediate family did not end up in Philadelphia, you may find that other family members did.  In fact, I recently found some of my own relatives that way:
Chaje Zupkiss Bank Passage Order, 1895