Sunday, May 31, 2020

Preschool Pal Leads to Genealogical Find

Did you ever think that a preschool classmate's blog post would give you information about your own family?  Well, it's happened to me.

Elli Fischer writes on HaMapah, which "aims to bring modern tools of quantitative and geographic analysis to Rabbinic literature."  It's definitely worth checking out.  His latest post in particular caught my eye because it involved Felsö Neresznicze, Hungary (now Novoselytsya, Ukraine), the town where my Fuchs family lived for generations and discussed the story behind the publication of a book coordinated by someone from that town.  Elli writes about the prenumeraten in this book, subscriptions that people paid for to help fund the book's publication.  And since the coordinator lived in Novoselytysa, it's clear that some people from that town would have subscribed.
Subscribers from Novoselytsya

Monday, May 25, 2020

Some Fine DNA

Back in 2013, I wrote about a potential new branch of the Fine family.  My grandmother had told me how her uncle Mordechai had come to America but had been sent back to Russia, where he was drafted into the Russian Army and killed in WWI.  On his ship manifest, he said he was going to an uncle, "Meyer Fein," in Toledo, Ohio, a totally new name to me (although I did know of Toledo Fine cousins).  I traced this Meyer back to England, where he'd lived and married after emigrating from Russia.  And his father lived with him--could this be my great-great-great grandfather?

As background, I wrote up tracking down this Fein/Fine family in a series of posts:
I found out a lot about this family, including via an 1891 British census, where Meyer (there Myer Fein) is enumerated along with his father.  Hmmmm.....
1901 England Census, Hebel and Myer Fein, London
But I recently got in touch with someone who I thought could help answer that question.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Getting a GRIP on Jewish Genealogy - From Home!

This summer, I'm co-teaching a week-long intensive course on Jewish Genealogy, along with Emily Garber, Janette Silverman, and Marian Smith at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.  And now GRIP will be going virtual, so you don't need to travel to Pittsburgh, and you can have an intense genealogical learning experience from your own home.  There are only a few seats left in our Jewish Genealogy class, but in addition to our class, there are lots of other great offerings.


So what would you learn in this course?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

David Ruttner in the (1857) News!

As more and more foreign newspapers come online, I've been pleasantly surprised to find my ancestors mentioned.  Earlier, I wrote about how my 4th great grandfather's land was listed as about to be taken by eminent domain.  And a new article came online on Arcanum Digitheca giving a bit more information about what he could have done from there to try to keep his land.
Pest Napló, January 1857, Page 94

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Yom Hashoah 2020

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) starts tomorrow evening.  For the past four years, I have listed the names of the family members I've found who were murdered in the Holocaust.  In 2019, I listed 367 relatives.  In 2020, I am listing 454.

Every year, this list grows as I find new branches of my family--and then find that multiple members of those branches were killed somewhere between 1941 & 1945.  This year I found nearly 90 more people--and many other relatives whose fates are as yet unclear.

Publishing this yearly list is my one small way to make sure they are all remembered--all 454 of those currently on this list.

Front Row L-R: Yosef Wollich, Mendel Chechman, Devorah Chechman; Back Row L-R: Sara Fine Wollich, Moshe Wollich, Chaike Chechman.  All were murdered in the Holocaust

Sunday, March 29, 2020

My Family in the Cholera Pandemic of 1848

As COVID-19 has spread across the world, instantly changing how we go about our day-to-day lives, our lives have changed.  It's the first time in most of our lifetimes that we've experienced something like this impacting ourselves and our families personally.  But pandemics have happened before, and at least once before, they specifically impacted my family.
Tzipra Brandman Death; Krasnoye, Podolia, Russian Empire; July 26, 1848

Monday, March 16, 2020

Upcoming Free Webinars!

With "social distancing" becoming the norm, lots of people are going stir-crazy.  But this also gives you the time to do more genealogy--and to learn from other genealogists.  I'm pleased to be part of a series of free webinars that will be given nearly daily over the upcoming weeks.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Purim in Senkevychivka, 1934 -- Before the Ghetto

My grandmother Sonia Diamond rescued some photos from the ruins of the Senkevychivka Ghetto after its October 1942 destruction.  One of them is particularly applicable this time of year, with Purim coming up this week.
Senkevychivka Purim Play?

Sunday, February 23, 2020

My Prestigious (Possible) 5th Great Grandfather

My great-great-great-great-great grandfather was Avraham Rutner, who is said to have come from Galicia to Maramaros.  So far, I've been able to link all Rutners who lived in the Maramaros Megye of Hungary (now split between Subarpathian Ukraine and northern Romania) to being his descendants.

Distant cousins have said that he was also a wealthy man, but I've never seen anything to prove (or refute) that fact.  Until now--maybe.

Hazai's Külföldi Tudósítások; January-June 1827

Sunday, February 16, 2020

How Quickly the Holocaust Happened

My mother's parents were born in America, so I didn't hear about the Holocaust like I did from my father's parents, who both had survived the war in Poland (now Ukraine).  But my mother's parents had many relatives who had remained in Europe and who were Jews swept into World War II.  Until the war happened, they were living their everyday lives.  But this is a story of how quickly their lives changed--and ended.
From the Pesti Hírlap, February 1, 1944

Sunday, February 9, 2020

David Rutner's Land, Taken by the Government

My great-great-great-great grandfather was Dovid Rutner.  I knew that he owned some land as of 1865, per a cadastral map.  But it looks like he owned land in 1857 as well, but that land was taken by the government via a Hungarian version of eminent domain.
Budapesti Hírlap, January 28, 1857

Monday, February 3, 2020

Get a GRIP on Jewish Genealogy

This summer, I'm co-teaching a week-long intensive course on Jewish Genealogy, along with Emily Garber, Janette Silverman, and Marian Smith at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.  Where else would you want to spend the week of July 19 but in beautiful Pittsburgh!  Registration opens this Wednesday, with limited seats.

So what would you learn in this course?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

My Patriotic 4th Great Grandfather (and an incredible site for Hungarian historical research)

My 4th great grandfather was David Rutner of Kolodne (then Darva). I've now learned that he was a patriotic Hungarian--via a really cool site.
Donations to the Patriotic Cause (Hungarian War of Independence), including David Rutner

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Movement Between Austro-Hungarian Towns

Last week, I gave examples of how some Russian Empire families moved quite frequently, calling into the question the idea of an “ancestral town” in many cases.  This isn’t only the case in the Russian Empire; I’ve been indexing many records from the Austro-Hungarian Empire (currently Subcarpathian Ukraine), and I see quite a bit of movement there as well.
Birthplaces of parents of Jewish children born in Beregszasz 1897-1898, zoomed in (Beregszasz in red)


Sunday, January 12, 2020

RootsTech2020 for Jewish Genealogists

It's almost that time of year--RootsTech is coming!  And while Utah isn't the first place one would think of for Jewish genealogy, there's so much that RootsTech offers the Jewish genealogist.

(Note:  If you're coming or thinking about coming, keep reading to learn about a dinner for Jewish genealogists.)
Just a small part of the HUGE exhibit hall at RootsTech

Movement Between Russian Empire Towns

Many people assume that Jews in the Russian Empire lived in the same village for generations.  While sometimes that was the case, often it wasn't.  As an example, we can look at my own Zubkis family to see their movement, generation by generation.  And this is only what I've found so far!  (I'll be posting something similar for Hungarian Jews, so stay tuned!)
Places Within Modern-Day Ukraine Zubkis Descendants Lived

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Visualizing the Holocaust's Impact

My great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Avraham Rutner, had a lot of descendants.  I've used the incredibly useful and easy-to-use tool at http://learnforeverlearn.com/ancestors/ to visualize his family, as I've reconstructed it so far.  And what is incredibly visible--and emotionally difficult to see--is how the Holocaust decimated this extended family.
Descendants of Avraham Rutner, per http://learnforeverlearn.com/ancestors/