Like to write? You Can Help!

In many cases, I suspect, I know at least as much about our ancestors as anyone else living today. This is especially true in the case of those who have passed out of living memory; those people none of us had the chance to meet.

In other cases, I have no doubt that some of you have stories and recollections about which I know nothing. Sure, I have raw facts: when and where relatives were born, their profession, when they died. Perhaps occasionally I uncover a family scandal, long suppressed and forgotten. But that, in isolation, does not an interesting entry make.

On the other hand, some of those who have passed away more recently may be quite well-known to you, far more so than I ever will know them through my research. And so, I wish to invite everyone to write a short biography of these good people.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Nothing about living people without their express consent. If you want to write about yourself, or your mom doesn’t mind her story being placed out there, I’m great with that. Otherwise, off limits.
  • The person needs to be a common relative. Unless you’re my sibling or parent, you have some ancestors and cousins who aren’t related to me. I have no doubt that they were fascinating people, and more than worthy of reverence, but those stories will have to be published in another venue.
  • No worries if you don’t think you write well enough. If I can do it, you can too. If you CAN write well *cough*Hannah*cough*, you get double encouragement. 🙂
  • Shoot for at least 500 words, 1000 are better. But use whatever space you need. Electrons are cheap.

You’ll get full credit (/blame), of course. 🙂 Let’s see who can add to this growing blog!

Advertisements

FINGERBRENs in the 1784 Lithuanian Records

Some data from the 1784 Poll Tax of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania recently was released on-line. This was (effectively) a census of the entire population of the Duchy.  While very interesting, there are three major drawbacks for Jewish Genealogy:

  1. The date is prior to the forced adoption of Jewish surnames in the Napoleonic reforms of the early 19th century. Thus, we have only the given name and, in most cases, their father’s given name.
  2. While the census includes all the members of the household and their relation, it does not provide ages nor professions, which might help more clearly identify them.
  3. In many cases, the next set of available records is 30-50 years later. So we’re talking a difference of at least a full generation, and sometimes two, when trying to match individuals.

Nonetheless, I may have found my own direct paternal family in the records for Stakliskis, Lithuania.

Continue reading

On the joy of being wrong….

Nearly a year ago, I wrote of finding some BERKOWITZs in the US, the wife, Dwojra, being my great-great-grandmother’s sister.   Turns out, I was wrong.

Continue reading

Finding Zaboklicki

A little while back, I wrote of finding the name of my great-great-great-grandmother, given as Bessie ZABAKLITZKY, in the Social Security application form of my great-great-grandmother’s brother, Abram KUNA (a.k.a. Abraham COHEN). Several months after that, I was able to find in the Polish State Archives the actual name, Basia Laja ZABOKLICKI. (Technically, the Polish language gender variant, ZABOKLICKA, but I try to stay with the normative form.)  “ZABAKLITZKY” is still a correct and valid translation, so, happily, Abram wasn’t totally off about his own mother.  Continue reading

The End… of one line’s record

In the last few months, the Polish State Archives has digitized a number of their 19th century records, leading to a tremendous breakthrough on my Warsaw-area ancestors and related cousins. [As opposed to UNrelated cousins? Anyway….] I hope to be writing about them soon.

Continue reading

Picture Postcard of Piaski

Just found this on-line… a postcard from Sandberg, Prussia (Piaski, Poland), likely dating from around 1900.  Earlier in the 19th century, it was the home of the JACOBOWSKYs, PAWELs, SALOMONSKYs, WOLFFs, and others. The last Jews left for larger towns or other countries within a couple more decades.

PiaskiPostcard

In the picture of the town square in the upper right, the building on the left still exists:

Piaski Today

It’s a little hard to see from the angle in Google maps, but the two larger buildings down the road are there as well.

Kunas in America II

Short post with an update.  A new piece of paper arrived, and set off a whole slew of revelations.

Continue reading

Kunas in America

The KUNAs were the family of my great-great-grandmother along my direct maternal line. Until very recently, I knew very little about them, and today I only know slightly more, but enough that it’s worth talking about.  This post is not only about obtaining the addition bits of knowledge I have now, but also about the slow process of getting there.

Continue reading

Peyser Abraham (1876-1950)

Pesach ABRAHAM, my great-grandfather’s brother, was born in Manhattan on 20 October 1876. He was the third child of Morris and Sarah ABRAHAMS, and the first born in the United States. Aside from his birth record and the Hebrew on his grave marker, he doesn’t seem to have used the name Pesach, but instead usually went by Peyser, sometimes Peter, or Pete, or even “Captain Pete”.  No one seems to remember how he picked up the latter moniker.

Continue reading

Block / Abelson… a possible breakthrough

I have written previously about my great-grandfather, Elias SCHNITZ (a.k.a. Alex BLOCK) as well as the man listed as his cousin in the U.S., Samuel ABELSON.  I may have made a breakthrough regarding how these families are related.

Continue reading

Block / Schnitz… What’s in a name?

This is a (very) slight extension of research I sent to close family a little while back, but I think it’s an interesting example of genealogical investigation, and it’s good to capture for “posterity”. This research involves my great-grandfather, who was known in the U.S. as Alex BLOCK, but whose birth name appears to have been Elias SCHNITZ.

Continue reading