Judaism Jewish Genealogy

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  • Jewish genealogy isn't easy, but it isn't as hard as you might think Many things you "know" about Jewish genealogy aren't true With a systematic approach, you should be able to trace back to your immigrant ancestors or farther In the past, most Jews were not as interested in documenting their pedigrees as gentiles were.

    In recent years, however, genealogy has become a popular hobby for both Jews and gentiles, as evidenced by popular television shows like " Who Do You Think You Are? I'm no expert on genealogy, but I have had a great deal of success over the last several years researching my family tree and helping others research theirs.

    From three Jewish parents, I have identified 22 of 24 possible 2nd-great-grandparents born in the mid s; 24 out of 48 possible 3rd-great-grandparents born in the early s, and a few ancestors back to the early s.

    This page will pass along some of the benefit of my experience. Debunking Jewish Genealogy Myths Many people believe that Jewish genealogy is not possible because no one in the family knows anything, names were changed at Ellis Island, records were destroyed by Hitler, towns don't exist anymore, and so forth. The reality is, these assumptions are not entirely true, and you can probably trace your family tree one or two generations farther than you think you can.

    Let's look at some of these genealogy myths. No one in my family knows anything Have you actually asked them? You might be surprised by what people know. Jews don't talk much about their family history, but that doesn't mean they don't know anything. When I had to do a genealogy project for school in 4th grade, my father told me the names of his grandparents, and I assumed that was all he knew. As an adult, I had done quite a bit of research on my family tree before I found out that my father knew much more: His tree included all eight of his great-grandparents, some of his 2nd-great-grandparents and dozens of aunts and uncles and cousins.

    In addition, my father's brother and cousin had done ongoing research that I did not know about until long after I had started my work.

    The name was changed at Ellis Island This is one of the most widespread myths of genealogy, and many people lovingly cling to their family's quirky name-change stories even when confronted with the facts. Sorry to disappoint you, but nobody's name was changed at Ellis Island. Lists of passengers were compiled at the port of departure based on the name found in the ticket. The names given upon arrival in the United States had to match the name on the passenger list and on the ticket.

    But even if the name were recorded incorrectly at Ellis Island, it wouldn't matter, because you didn't have to use the name that was recorded at Ellis Island.

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    In the days before social security cards, drivers' licenses, credit cards and all the other identification we rely on today, it was perfectly legal to change your name -- both first and last name -- any time you wanted as long as you didn't do it to avoid payment of your debts.

    And that's the bad news: My great-great-grandmother was listed on immigration records in as Babette Reich, but died in as Bertha Rich. Her son Heinrich became Henry in America. My grandmother was identified as Lee Moldow on her American marriage certificate, but she shows up in early census records as Lena Moldofsky and in an Ellis Island record as Bluma Moldansky. Her brother shows up as Irving, Isidore and Isak. Tracking down family information when the names may have changed repeatedly can be quite challenging.

    The records were destroyed by Hitler; the towns don't exist anymore During the Holocaust, the Nazis killed people, burned synagogues and wiped out towns, but they did not destroy records. Quite the contrary, they carefully preserved synagogue records of births, deaths and marriages back to the s See this puzzling stamp, dated November 30,on my great-grandfather's Vienna Jewish birth record: Annahme des Zusatznamens Israel-Sara angezeigt assume of the other names that Jew-Jewess is indicated.

    Judaism Jewish Genealogy

    What is the meaning of this cryptic message? It is a reminder to those inspecting the records that they should assume everyone mentioned on the page is Jewish -- not just the parents and children, but also the rabbimohelmidwife, witnesses, and so forth. Both of these resources are discussed below. Setting Proper Expectations So we see that Jewish genealogy is not as impossible as we might think.

    Judaism Jewish Genealogy

    But it's not easy either. You are not likely to simply log onto Ancestry or even JewishGen and find a comprehensive tree listing your family back years, as some gentiles do. But you should be able to trace your family tree back to the point of immigration usually between andand some American records may give you the names of the parents of those immigrants.

    Finding records from overseas is a bit more challenging, partly because of the language barrier most Jews didn't come from English-speaking countries and partly because of the scattershot availability of those records. Keep in mind as you do your research that not everything you find will be completely accurate.

    We live in a society today where every aspect of our lives is so thoroughly documented that it is often hard for us to understand: They didn't necessarily know their mother's maiden name. Even if they knew these things, the information may not have been recorded accurately. Recommendations for Genealogy Research This is the approach I have taken in researching my own family trees and also helping other people.

    Judaism Jewish Genealogy

    It works for me. If you're not as obsessive-compulsive as I am, you may find it easier to simply throw some names into an index and see what sticks.

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    My approach is intended to work from the present back, although you may find that you need to skip around and revisit some of these steps as you go along. Some of these sources are available free on the Internet; some require only free registration; others require subscriptions or fees. I will identify fee sites where necessary. I would strongly suggest that you track not just your ancestors, but also all of their siblings.

    The names of siblings will help you locate and verify other records: In fact, you may find it very rewarding to track down all of the descendants of your ancestors. You'll get a lot more results, and you'll end up finding cousins you never knew instead of European gravestones!

    I've been tracing one branch of my family tree for about 15 years on and off, and I've tracked it back to a 4th-great-grandfather born in Hungary in I'm rather proud of that, but I'm more proud of having identified more than 1, of his descendants in Hungary, the United States and South America!

    Talk to everyone in your family I'm not going to belabor this rather obvious point any more than necessary, but suffice it to say that, as I said above, your family members may know more than you realize. It's a lot easier to find documents confirming what they know and building on it than it is to start from scratch.

    Talk to them repeatedly in the course of your research: I was looking at marriage indexes in New York for my grandparents and found two possibilities.

    Judaism Jewish Genealogy

    I asked my mother when her parents' anniversary was, and she insisted that she had no idea. Yes, April, of course!

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    Social Security Death Index SSDI This used to be widely available for free, but concerns about identity theft have made this database less widely available and less useful. Most sources no longer include deaths after March The SSDI provides valuable information about most people who died in the United States after and many who died before that.

    If they had a social security number, they should be in there. The SSDI gives their dates of birth and death, their last known residence, and the place where they were living when they got their social security number.

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    Census Records Censuses in the United States have been taken every ten years from to the present. Census records from to except are available online. Starting inthey identify all members of the household earlier years just listed the head of household and a count of househould members in various categoriesand starting inthey specify the relationship of each household member to the head of household wife, child, mother-in-law, or just boarder or servant.

    Censuses are available for free from FamilySearchthe LDS Church's genealogy website, and also on subscription services like Ancestry. Chances are, you have information about someone who was alive in the U. Census records can give you names, family relationships, age, place of birth, occupation, year of immigration, an approximate date of marriage, and other things.

    Of course, the information is only as accurate as the knowledge of the person interviewed and the person's ability to communicate with the census taker, but if you get several years of census records, a consensus will develop.

    Judaism Jewish Genealogy

    Remember that names can change over time. You may need to use some creativity in searching. It helps to keep track of the names and ages of everyone in the household, siblings as well as direct ancestors. There may be several Harry Brodskys in the census, but how many of them have twin children named Samuel and Beatrice? If you have trouble finding someone, try assuming that one of the facts you know is wrong.

    Judaism Jewish Genealogy

    Mole poblano is considered Mexico's plato nacional Bottles of artisanal mezcal Mexican cuisine is known for its blending of Indigenous and European cultures. Popular dishes include tacosenchiladasmole sauceatoletamalesand pozole. Popular beverages include water flavored with a variety of fruit juices, and cinnamon-flavored hot chocolate prepared with milk or water and blended until it becomes frothed using a traditional wooden tool called a molinillo.

    Alcoholic beverages native to Mexico include mescalpulqueand tequila. Mexican beer is also popular in Mexico and are exported. There are international award-winning Mexican wineries that produce and export wine. Many Mexican dishes also contain onions and garlicwhich are also some of Mexico's staple foods. Next to cornrice is the most common grain in Mexican cuisine. According to food writer Karen Hursh Graber, the initial introduction of rice to Spain from North Africa in the 14th century led to the Spanish introduction of rice to Mexico at the port of Veracruz in the s.

    This, Graber says, created one of the earliest instances of the world's greatest Fusion cuisine 's. The cuisine of Southeastern Mexico has quite a bit of Caribbean influence, given its geographical location. In contemporary times, various world cuisines have become popular in Mexico, thus adopting a Mexican fusion. For example, sushi in Mexico is often made by using a variety of sauces based on mango and tamarindand very often served with serrano -chili blended soy sauce, or complemented with vinegar, habanero peppers, and chipotle peppers.

    It remains an important ingredient in Mexican cookery. The foundation of Mexican music comes from its indigenous sounds and heritage.