Sunday, November 12, 2017

Book Review: "It's All Relative" by AJ Jacobs

I received a copy of AJ Jacob's new genealogy-focused book "It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree," and I ended up reading it straight through.  (I received this book for free; however, everything I write will be my honest opinion, good or bad.)  This book traces Jacobs' quest to create a World Family Reunion under the premise that everyone is a cousin--and in doing so gives a pretty good overview of many genealogical concepts.
AJ Jacobs' New Book

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Israel Tolchinsky's Soviet Military Record

Just three weeks ago, I wrote about the Soviet tribunal of my great-grandfather's half first cousin Israel/Vissarion Tolchinsky--and based on the outcome, I feared for what happened to this branch of the Tolchinsky family.  Thanks to a reader's direction, it turned out that not only did Israel Tolchinsky survive the outcome of this tribunal, but he received a medal for his military service in WWII.  And that post led Dmitry Pruss to point out that since Israel had been an officer in the Soviet military, he would have had an officer file--and he helped me to obtain it.
From Israel Tolchinsky's Soviet Officer File

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cousin Jack, Leaving Clues--To the Diamonds' Previous Hometown?

I've written about my grandfather's first cousin Jack Landor before.  He lived an extremely colorful life and left a ton of documentation along the way.  (You can read about some of his crazy life at the following links, where he was caught as a stowaway on a ship and applied for citizenship of multiple countries, where he survived a shipwreck, and where he was deported from the United States before becoming an illegal immigrant by deserting his ship.)

Well, the latest documents I discovered about Cousin Jack show the importance of researching relatives of your ancestors rather than just your direct ancestors.  (And this isn't just because Cousin Jack lived such a crazy life.)  Jack's paper trail may have directed me to where my Diamond family lived before Biscupice (now Berezhanka)!

I recently received Jack's service file from his time in the United States Navy.
Cousin Jack's US Navy ID Card, 1944

Saturday, October 28, 2017

RootsTech2018 Contest: Win A 4-Day Pass to RootsTech ($279 value)

RootsTech2018 is coming up soon--February 28-March 3, 2018 in Salt Lake City.  I'll be there as both a speaker and an Ambassador.  This is my third RootsTech, and it just doesn't get old--as the largest genealogy conference in the world, there's something for everyone.  As an Ambassador, I am able to give away a free 4-day RootsTech pass to a lucky reader, which has a $279 value!  (If you already registered and you win, you can get a refund.)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Other Tolchinskys--Into WWII

Last week, I wrote about my great-great grandfather's half brother Hirsch Tolchinsky's family who had stayed in the Russian Empire, while my great-great grandfather and his family emigrated to America.  That post discussed a tribunal held for Hirsch's son Vissarion/Israel-Isser (in which Hirsch was referred to as Grigory) in 1922--whose verdict looked like it spelled disaster for the Tolchinsky family.

But Eugene Krasnov commented on my Google Plus account to let me know that it was not the last we would hear of the Tolchinsky family--or of Vissarion/Israel-Isser.
Medal Citation for Israel Tolchinsky

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Genetic Genealogy in San Diego--i4GG!

I live in Maryland.  And it gets cold here in December.  So why not go to....San Diego?  Yes, I'll be speaking at this year's I4GG--the all genetic genealogy conference!
My name is even spelled right! :)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Tribunal of the Other Tolchinskys

My great-great grandfather Hillel had a half brother named Hirsch.  I discuss his family and some of the documentation I have on him here.  While Hillel came to America with his family in the first decade of the twentieth century, Hirsch and his children stayed in what was then the Russian Empire.  They had very different fates--and I now have a set of documents that give a bit of insight into the hardships that Hirsch's family underwent as the Russian Empire became part of the Soviet Union.
Cover Sheet - Food Provisions Session of the Chernigov Guberniya Revolutionary Tribunal, Vissarion Tolchinsky