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 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

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Prenumeraten & Rutners

Back in the day, when people wanted to publish Jewish scholarly books, they'd often need to get funding in advance in order to pay for printing costs.  To do this, they got people to "subscribe" to their book--basically those people would pre-pay for a copy of the book, and in exchange, their names would be published in the eventual release of the book.  These "prenumeraten lists" could contain your ancestors!

I was able to use "Sefer HaPrenumerantn," a kind of index to those listed in prenumeraten for about 800 books, to find references to books sponsored by people from Kolodne.  And look who's listed in one of those books.  (More information on how to use this book below.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

1840s Russian Empire Record Book - In Baltimore!

This past Sunday, the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland had its annual Show & Tell program.  This is always a fun programs, where members bring in family heirlooms, documents, and photos, and they can tell the members the stories behind them.  There were some great presentations this year.  But one of them had me nearly jumping out of my chair (and people said my eyes got very wide).  One member, Joanne, brought in an old record book.  She was hoping that people could help to tell her what it is and why her husband would have had it.  And when I say it was old, I mean old.
Joanne's Record Book

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Zuboks of Radomyshl - My Relatives?

Thanks to Alex Krakovsky putting more and more Ukrainian records online (check out what he has here if you haven't yet), I've spent quite a bit of time going down many rabbit holes.  Some have paid off, some haven't, and some are still in progress.

These records have helped me to track my Zubkis family to areas across Podolia Guberniya and eastern Volhynia Guberniya, as they migrated to other towns from their 1795 location in Uman.  And some of the branches' surnames--proven to descend from my Zubkis family--morphed over the years to Zubko and Zubkov.  So I've been looking into any family name of the form Z*b*k* and Z*p*k*, and trying to see if they are connected to my family.  And that is how I ended up reconstructing the Zubok family of Radomyshl.
Avrum son of Yankel Zubok, Radomyshl, 1850 Revision List