Category Archives: Compendium

Speaking at Rootstech Connect

I am speaking at Rootstech Connect (February 25-27), the online conference sponsored by FamilySearch, that has over 500,000 registered attendees. Rootstech started out as a conference focused on the convergence of genealogy and technology, but over the past ten years has become the largest genealogy conference of any kind worldwide. This year’s conference is only online, and will be by far the biggest genealogy conference ever held.

I will be speaking about how best to utilize this site , in particular the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy (the link is available now: Using the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy). Like most of the lectures, mine will be available as video-on-demand, so you can watch it anytime during the 3-day conference, and should also be available for the next year online.

There is a speaker chat on the Rootstech site where I will be available to answer questions, although I don’t know when exactly I will be on the chat. If you’re signed in to the site, you can get into my session’s chat using this invite link or simply go to my session’s page and click the Join Chat Room button there.

Update: The full list of presenters in English at Rootstech Connect has been published. I’ve put together a list of those lectures in English that are of interest to Jewish researchers. Of course many of the lectures will be of interest to all genealogists, but these are the ones dealing with specifically Jewish topics. As I’ve been able to collect new information I’ve been adding to the below, including lectures in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as a slate of lectures provided by the IAJGS and Jewish at their virtual expo booths. Here are the Rootstech lectures with a Jewish connection, in English (not including the IAJGS or JewishGen ones):

LectureSpeaker
Doing Jewish Research in Poland RecordsStanley Diamond
Finding Jewish Ancestors in the Russian EmpireEllie Vance
Food as a Clue for Crypto-Jewish FamiliesGenie Milgrom
How Crypto-Jewish Genealogy is DifferentGenie Milgrom
How I found My Crypto-Jewish GrandmothersGenie Milgrom
How I Found My Jewish American Family – A Genealogy Research SuccessDaniel Horowitz
Intro to JewishGen.org and Jewish GenealogyAvraham Groll
Jewish Genealogy Alphabet SoupNolan Altman
Jews of the CaribbeanW. Todd Knowles
The Knowles Collection – What Is It and How Do I Use ItW. Todd Knowles
Mexican Genealogy: Jewish Origin of three Families in JaliscoNefi Arenas Salazar
Secrets of Jewish Genealogy Revealed, Part I: OverviewEllen Kowitt
Secrets of Jewish Genealogy Revealed, Part II: NamesEllen Kowitt
Secrets of Jewish Genealogy Revealed, Part III: Jewish GeographyEllen Kowitt
Sephardic Resources: What’s New for 2021, Part 1Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Sephardic Resources: What’s New for 2021, Part 2Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Sephardic Resources: What’s New for 2021, Part 3Schelly Talalay Dardashti
The Schoenwald Family: Victims and Survivors of the HolocaustSimon Fowler
Tracing the Sephardic RootsJordan Gendra Molina
Using FamilySearch for Jewish ResearchW. Todd Knowles
Using the B&F Compendium of Jewish GenealogyPhilip Trauring

There are many other lectures that will be of interest to Jewish researchers. Daniel Horowitz must be giving the most lectures of anyone at the conference, covering a range of MyHeritage features (beyond his more personal lecture above). Janette Silverman is speaking about researching off the beaten path, which will probably be helpful to Jewish researchers. Greg Nelson from FamilySearch will be lecturing about Eastern European and Former Soviet records. Kinga Urbańska will be speaking about Galician and Polish resources. Any number of more general topics will be helpful as well.

There are also non-English lectures during Rootstech Connect. The following are those I’m aware of with a Jewish connection:

LECTURELanguageSpeaker
Comidas Ancestrales: Indicadores de Raices JudiasSpanishGenie Milgrom
Como Encontre a mis abuelas Cripto-JudiasSpanishGenie Milgrom
Cómo Encontré Mi Familia Americana, Un Éxito de Investigación FamiliarSpanishDaniel Horowitz
Dicionário de Sobrenomes SefarditasPortugueseGuilherme Faiguenboim
Examinar las raíces sefardíesSpanishJordan Gendra Molina
Las Diferencias en Genealogias Cripto-JudiasSpanishGenie Milgrom
Los apellidos semíticosSpanishMaría del Carmen Hernández López
Siguiendo los pasos de los sefardiesSpanishJordan Gendra Molina
Sociedade Genealógica Judaica de São PauloPortugueseRoberto Mayer

In addition to the above, the IAJGS has a number of lectures they have provided. You can go to the IAJGS Booth, although the lectures are also searchable along with the other sessions at the conference. The IAJGS lectures are:

Lecturespeaker
Congregation Kol Tikvah’s Remember Us: Holocaust Bnai Mitzvah ProjectKen Cutler
Crossing the Ocean: Finding Your European Jewish HistorySusan Weinberg
Finding the Zimblers with LitvakSIG’s “All Lithuania Database”Jill Anderson
IAJGS 2020: Genealogy Death MatchJarrett Ross, Jordan Auslander,
E. Randol Schoenberg
Genealogy: A Work in ProgressIna Getzoff, Eric Sharenow
IGRA Resources Show and Tell SessionGarri Regev
Explore Jewish Genealogical SocietiesMarlis Humphrey
Discover 5 Ways to Uncover Jewish RecordsMarlis Humphrey
Explore Yad Vashem Digital Collections Photo ArchiveMarlis Humphrey
Discover FamilySearch Language LessonsMarlis Humphrey
Discover Jewish Genealogy on Social MediaMarlis Humphrey
Landsmanshaft: What Are They and How Can They Help My Research?Nolan Altman
8 Ways to Get the Most Out of JewishGen’s Communities DatabaseNolan Altman
Polish Ancestral Tourism: Wolf Hunting in WomjaLeigh Dworkin
Shining a Light on Jewish GenealogyLiba Casson-Nudell
The Soil from Which They Grew: The Alliance ColonyJarrett Ross
Basic Tools of French Genealogical ResearchAllan M. Huss
Hebrew Naming and How To Read Hebrew HeadstonesNolan Altman
8 Reasons You Should Consider Joining a Local Genealogical SocietyNolan Altman

There is also a JewishGen Booth, with the following lectures:

Finding Family on the JewishGen Family FinderPhyllis Kramer
Locating Your Ancestral TownPhyllis Kramer
Using the JewishGen Discussion Group and Jewish Genealogy PortalAvraham Groll
Searching the JewishGen Archival CollectionsAvraham Groll

Which lectures are you planning to watch? If you watched them, which were your favorites? If you watched mine, what did you think?

Zbaszyn Refugees in Falenica

JDC Warsaw Office Locality Files 1939-1941

I’m happy to announce a new set of resources in the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy. I recently came across a set of files from the JDC Archives that is organized by town, and has all of the records scanned and online. These are referred to as the Warsaw Office, 1939-1941 Localities collection.

Zbaszyn Refugees in Falenica
Zbaszyn Refugees in Falenica

The documents in these files are for the most part correspondence between the Warsaw office of the American Joint Distribution Office and representatives of Jewish groups in over 500 different towns in Poland during the years 1939-1941. Frequently the group in the town was the German-organized Judenrat, although not always. Sometimes the organizations are local support organizations, and sometimes the letters are to individuals.

Some of these files consist of a single letter. Others have over 100 documents. While the letters can open up an important view into the lives of Polish Jews during the first years of the Holocaust, before the deportations to concentration camps, the more exciting feature of this collection are the lists.

Bolimow Matzah Recipients
Bolimow Matzah Recipients

Many of the towns have lists of people. These lists can be lists of all the Jews in the town, refugees from other towns, those who received financial assistance, and even those who received flour, matza and even herring. Considering the dearth of information on the lives of Jews during this period, I think these lists are incredibly important.

I did find some minor issues with the list of files which I tried to correct if I could. I’m also sending an e-mail to the JDC to mention them so they can be fixed. A few items on the list had incorrect links. Many of the items list the file language as English, even though essentially none of the files have any English in them. I think this must have been some default setting. Almost every file has documents in Polish, many have in German, and some are in Yiddish. A few files are just in German, but not too many.

These files will show up in over 500 Polish town pages (out of the more than 1400 on this site) in the Holocaust resource category. See the Holocaust category for the town of Żabno:

Continue reading JDC Warsaw Office Locality Files 1939-1941

Watch my FB Live video explaining how to use the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy

Tonight I broadcast an overview of the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy on Facebook, which you can view below (or on Facebook itself). The B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy has over 25,000 Jewish genealogy resources covering over 200 countries. Find out more about it in this video:

Let me know what you think of the video. If you’re interested in me doing other videos, let me know in the comments.

More newspapers, Landsmanshaft cemetery sections, and convenience

This is a short update to describe some recent additions to the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy.

First, following up my earlier addition of hundreds of newspaper archives, I’ve started to add more newspapers from other sites. Dan Oren, as promised, the Lubliner Togblat has been added, so brush up on your Yiddish.

Second, I’ve added links from the Cemetery Project of the Museum of Family History. The Musuem is a web site put together by Steven Lasky that has lots of great information. The Cemetery Project includes lists of surnames from different Landsmanshaft cemetery sections from the NY/NJ area, including information on the entrance gates to sections that have them (that usually have information on the people who ran the Landsmanshaft), as well as many Holocaust memorials put up by those societies.

In order to conserve space, I have put all the Musuem links into a single entry in the Diaspora section of the Polish town pages. If there are pages for the town for all three categories (Surnames, Society Gates, and Holocaust Memorial), then it would look something like this:

Musuem of Family History

You can see the links for all three pages for the town.

I’ve written about Landsmanshaftn cemetery sections before, such as in Learning about Landsmanshaftn and More on Landsmanshaftn, and for those who are not sure where their family came from before the US, figuring out if they were buried in a Landsmanshaft cemetery section can be an important clue.

Keep in mind they may have ended up in a section because their spouse was from that town, or because an ancestor further back was from that town, but in any case, it’s still very useful and the surname lists and lists of sections associated with each town on this site are very useful.

Lastly, you may have noticed the ‘New’ icons in the above screenshots. This is a new feature of the site that will show you if a link was added or updated in the last three months. I actually added this awhile back but there was a bug that didn’t always display it. It is now working, however, so if you go to any page on the site and see that icon, you know the resource was added to this site recently. This is convenient if you want to revisit the town page every few months, and see quickly if something new has been added.

Links to local Jewish newspapers added to the Compendium

I’ve long been an advocate of using newspapers in genealogy research. I’ve had particular success using newspapers in my research, and advocate for others to use them as well, as far back as my Genealogy Basics: Historical Newspapers article in 2011 (not long after starting this blog). Other bloggers such as Kenneth Marks at The Ancestor Hunt have done excellent jobs of collecting some links to Jewish newspaper archives (see his article Historical Jewish American Newspapers Online which is obviously focused on US newspapers). The whole idea of the Compendium, however, is to present users with resources when looking at the page representing the locality they are researching. If you’re researching Międzyrzec Podlaski, you may not know that there is an online digitized newspaper from that town, or if you’re researching family from Morocco, you might not know there are at least five online digitized newspapers available from that country.

To that end, I’ve now added a new category of resources to the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy – Newspapers. This is a work in progress, but to start out I have added links to searchable archives of over 200 newspapers. I have added these to the place of publication of these newspapers, although their reach is sometimes much wider. Links are only to archives of newspapers, not to current newspapers (unless they have an archive of older papers, in which case I point directly to that archive).

In the the case of newspapers published in what is now Poland, I have placed them in the town pages for the town in which they were published. For Warsaw, this is a considerable number, but what I found interesting were the other smaller towns for which there are archives of papers that as a researcher you may not have been aware of, and thus never checked. In Poland this includes newspapers in Białystok, Bielsko Biała, Chełm, Ełk, Kalisz, Kielce, Kraków, Łódź, Międzyrzec Podlaski, Piotrków Trybunalski, Tomaszów Mazowiecki, and Wrocław.

Most of these newspaper archives currently come from the Historical Jewish Press project, which is an amazing effort to digitize and make publicly available historical Jewish newspapers from around the world. One small problem with the site is that it tends to list newspapers by the country they were in when published, and not by their current country. That means many people don’t realize when looking for newspapers from the countries their ancestors lived in, that they’re not listed under Ukraine, but under Austria or Russia, or they’re not listed under Lithuania, but rather under Poland. I have tried my best to link to these newspapers to the countries their place of publication currently resides. This includes newspapers in Austria, Belarus, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

For the United States, I’ve placed the newspaper links on the pages for the state where the newspaper was published, including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. These newspapers are not exlcusively from the Historical Jewish Press project, but include links to sites in many places that have digitized newspapers, including the Chronicling America project from the Library of Congress, and many other local efforts across the United States.

Please note that this is a first stab at adding newspapers, and even though I’ve added over 200 newspaper archives, there are certainly more out there, and I would greatly appreciate it if people could send me information on other newspaper archives available online that can be added. The best way to do this is to go to the page you think it should be added to, and clicking on the Add a Resource link at the bottom of the page. Please be as descriptive as possible, including the years of publication, the language, the frequency of publication (monthly, weekly, daily, etc.), and any official linkage, such as to a political party or other organization.

There are plenty of other newspapers that I’m aware of, but have not yet added, primarily due to language issues. Ohio State offers two great lists of digitized historic Jewish newspapers, in English and Hebrew, that contain many newspapers I have not yet linked to here. That’s because while many newspapers are listed, there are no real descriptions like I have for other papers, and the languages are German, Yiddish and Hebrew in most cases, which means I need to spend more time going through them to collect the necessary information. Two resources specifically in German are Compact Memory which has hundreds of German Jewish newspapers and periodicals, and Jüdische Zeitschriften in NS-Deutschland, which has Jewish newspapers from the WWII period in Germany. As the New York Public Library’s guide to microfilms of Jewish newspapers shows, however, there are even more Jewish newspaper archives out there waiting to be digitized and put online.

So take a look at the countries, states, and towns your family came from, and see if there are newspapers listed. Have you looked at them in your research? Write about your experiences using newspapers in your research in the comments below, and submit newspaper archives not in the Compendium to the site so I can add them.