Monday, May 29, 2023

International Newspapers: Rutners Becoming Landowners

My 4th great grandfather David Rutner was born in what is now Kolodne, Ukraine, but which was Darva, Austria-Hungary during his life.  I've found various clues about his life over the years, but I know to always check where I've checked before, as more is getting digitized and discovered all the time.  I semi-regularly check Arcanum Digitheca, a great resource for Hungarian newspapers, journals, and more, but it had been a while.  And sure enough, when I checked recently, I found a newly-added 1857 article in German that mentioned David Ruthner from Darva!

Pester Lloyd, February 5, 1857

Monday, April 17, 2023

Yom Hashoah 2023

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) starts this evening.  For the past six years, I have listed the names of the family members I've found who were murdered in the Holocaust.  In 2020, I listed 454 relatives.  In 2021, I listed 515.  In 2022, I listed 642.  And this year I list 916.

Every year, this list grows as I find new branches of my family--and then find that multiple members of those branches were killed between 1941 & 1945.  This year I found 274 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 916 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, April 2, 2023

Amazing Subcarpathian Records, Available Online

If you have family from what is now Zakarpattya Oblast, Ukraine, or from the areas immediately bordering (including towns in Romania, Slovakia and Hungary), there is an incredible newly-online resource available.  There are records for both Jews and non-Jews in this collection.  The predominant languages in the records are Hungarian and Slovakian, but there are also documents in Ukrainian, Yiddish, German, Romanian, and possibly more.  I'll talk about where these are from, the types of documents I've found so far, how to best navigate these records to find your family members' documents, as well as how to deal with records in foreign (to you) languages below.

Statement for Mendel Rutner (my 1C3R), as an industrialist, 1939 (page 2).  This second page asks for the paternal and maternal grandparents for both himself and his spouse. It also asks for their children's dates of birth

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Tips to Find Relatives on JewishGen

JewishGen is an incredible collection of resources, especially the databases containing millions of indexed records--which has thousands of new records being added each month.  But both because of how JewishGen's search engine works as well as how records are being indexed from (mostly) Eastern European languages to English, you may not be finding indexed records that are there and you would want to find.  This post will discuss some different techniques that could help you find these records.  And if you have additional techniques, please add them in the comments to help other readers!

JewishGen's Search Interface

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Records, Not Revenue: We Need Your Help

The USCIS Genealogy Program holds many historical records, including US immigrant A-Files and C-Files.  These can be a treasure trove of information for genealogists, sometimes including original birth certificates, photos, and more.  (To get an idea of the types of information you can get, you can see what I received for my grandfather here and here, as well as my grandmother here and here.)

The program has always been slow to respond (it took 16 months to get my grandmother's A-File, and that was with me sending regular pings) and not inexpensive.  Back in 2020, USCIS tried to raise the already high rates by an exorbitant amount, and thankfully that request was denied.  But they are trying again.  And we need your help to stop this 269% (yes, 269%!!) fee hike from happening.

(And besides, many of these records should already be publicly and readily available at the National Archives, without having to deal with the bottleneck and transparency-free entity that is the USCIS Genealogy Program.) 


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Hungarian Holocaust Survivors (And Other Yad Vashem Additions)

Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial, has been digitizing and indexing many Holocaust-related records and making them searchable by the public.  Their Pages of Testimony, where people memorialized relatives who were murdered during the war, have been searchable for a while and are an invaluable resource.  But even if you've looked at Yad Vashem's database of records in the past, it's definitely worth re-looking every so often because of the scope of record sets they've added.

One of their recent additions has been information about Hungarian Holocaust Survivors--including many that were from what is now Subcarpathian Ukraine (where my mother's mother's family originated)--which can help you identify relatives who survived the war.

Survivor Card for my 2nd cousin twice removed Samuel Ruttner/Fuchs