Category Archives: Genealogy

RootsTech 2017 Wrap-Up

I have attended every RootsTech conference. For the past couple years, I’ve mostly spent my time in the Expo Hall at the IAJGS booth. This year’s RootsTech experience was quite different for me than all other years.

This year, I was a semifinalist in the Innovator Showdown for CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing.

I spent much of Tuesday in Provo at BYU for the Family History Technology Workshop. It was my first time attending that one-day workshop and I spoke about CSI. That evening was the RootsTech Media Dinner. I’d never been invited before. The semifinalists were set up around the room to demonstrate our entries, but I didn’t feel like a lot of people were interested in that. We had some showdown rehearsal time afterwards.

The next morning, we started at 7am. I was joking about being up at the crack of dawn, but it was actually before dawn. And just for fun, I ended up on the red train and got my morning exercise, running around in the dark to get to the convention center. We received a schedule that morning which filled the entire day.

The semifinalist showdown was at noon. While it seemed like they were hyping it up to make us more nervous, I was only worried about going over my two minute time limit. I put my entire script right into the Powerpoint and just read it. If I started improvising, I always went well over the time. When I finished, I finally looked down at the clock and it was at 0:00. I have no idea how long I may have gone over, but judging by my practice runs, it was probably only seconds at most.

The finalists were to be officially announced at the party that night, but we had a secret meeting at 2:30. Where I previously had the entire afternoon full, I was suddenly free, as I was not chosen as a finalist. It was good that I had another booth to help with to get me out of the convention center; I only had to deal with a couple people who asked me what was next for the showdown, when I knew it was already over for me.

I spent the next three days at my table in the Innovator’s Alley talking about CSI. I had a lot of comments from people saying I should have been in the finals. I agreed with them. :-) Many asked about the program and if it could do certain things. I already had a lot in mind to add to the program and they gave me so many more ideas.

I went to the showdown finals but just long enough to vote for the People’s Choice. I heard who won a little later. I think it says something when the People’s Choice did not win any other prize. The people and the judges were not judging by the same rules. The questions from most of the judges were about business structures and money, and some really basic things about the genealogy industry that they didn’t understand, but the contest is called Innovator’s Showdown. I think FamilySearch needs more genealogists among the judges and fewer random entrepreneurs who know nothing about what is innovative in genealogy.

I enjoyed the evening events, the Wednesday night party, the Thursday night music event at the Conference Center, the MyHeritage party Friday night, and the blogger dinner hosted by DearMyrtle to finish off the week on Saturday.

All in all, even though I didn’t win, it was a good experience. I got some good exposure for CSI and a lot of people are interested in using it. That said, I have a lot of programming to do.

Introducing CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing

CSIL Crowd Sourced IndexingI’d like to introduce my readers to, well, part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much for the past couple of months. I’ve been programming instead. In fact, this was also my NaNoWriMo project, where I rebelled.

CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing is written for genealogy societies, special interest groups, and other smaller research groups to manage their indexing projects.

It’s great for indexers because anyone can sign up to index and log in any time they feel like indexing. It puts the record image and the fields for indexing in the same window and it’s a pleasure to not have to juggle the image and Excel to get that done. There’s no sending or downloading of images from the project administrator or waiting for the next batch when you’ve completed the last one. Everything is on the web site waiting for the indexers. When they finish an image, they can do the next one. Tired of the project? Try another project instead.

CSI: Crowd Sourced IndexingBut CSI is especially built for project management. The project administrator can set up a project by providing basic information, uploading the files to be indexed, choosing the fields to be indexed, and then they can invite members of their society or group to index. CSI takes care of most of the administrative work of running the project from that point on. Just as the indexers don’t have to wait for new batches, the admin doesn’t have to send them out, track who has which images, keep track of which are yet to be indexed and which are completed, or determine when to give up on an indexer and send the same images to another indexer. Just keeping up with the indexers is most of the work.

CSI is written in UTF-8 so it’s compatible with every language. Right now, there are several projects going on in Hebrew, thanks to my collaborator bringing projects from IGRA. And the entire site is translatable (the code is in place, translations are coming soon).

And to top it off, I submitted CSI to the 2017 RootsTech Innovator Showdown and I have been named a semifinalist! There were 41 entries and only 10 are semifinalists, so I’m honored to be among them.

RootsTech Innovator Showdown 2017

Would you like to try it out? Visit http://csi.idogenealogy.com/ to sign up and index a little. The easiest project is the NYC Staten Island Marriage Index, downloaded from the Internet Archive, provided by Reclaim the Records. The images are easy to read and generally don’t have too many records per page. Similarly the Queens Marriage Index is available, but that one is a little harder to read the handwriting and the pages are generally longer, some with 100 names. For these particular indexes, when they’re complete, they’ll be made available just like the images.

You can read more about CSI on Devpost where the official entry took place, along with watching my commercial. (Check out those older screenshots. It has already changed a little.)

So give it a try because indexing with CSI is fun and easy.

I’m programming more for CSI every day, so there are more features still to come. Let me know what you think of CSI. And don’t forget to vote for me for the People’s Choice award during the Innovator’s Showdown.

The URL of this post is: http://idogenealogy.com/2016/12/16/introducing-csi-crowd-sourced-indexing/.

Dealing with DNA Results

I don’t think I’ve written anything here about DNA testing, so I think it’s time to start. A history first, then my brand new odd find.

I got started with DNA testing on Facebook. FamilyTreeDNA had a contest for a free mtDNA test, which I won! It was the cheapest mtDNA test, I matched every Jewish genealogist that had tested, and it didn’t give a complete haplogroup result. All it told me was: K. So apparently, I’m kosher. ;-)

But it was my start.

I eventually ran the Autosomal test. I was both intrigued and frustrated by the results. I had so many pages of matches, none very close, and I had no way to connect to them genealogically. I couldn’t even know which side of my family to try to search to find a connection. They were from all over Europe.

One rule of DNA testing is to test the oldest people in the family. I convinced my mom to do the test. A test was sent to her and I got results. After a long while, I finally uploaded both of our results into GEDmatch.com. I found a second cousin listed, who had mentioned testing at 23andMe.

A few months before that, I had found a lost branch of our family through research. I soon came across an email from another cousin asking about her matches on 23andMe, where she matched that second cousin and another person. She sent me what that person wrote, but I originally didn’t know who it was.  Reviewing that email a year after it was sent, I knew exactly who she was! And there she was on GEDmatch, along with her father, right at the top of my results.

And that was my first DNA match that brought me to a cousin. Just after that connection, that cousin matched another cousin, closer to her but in that same previous lost branch of the family, who had also tested on 23andMe.

The moral here is, put your DNA results on GEDmatch. Everyone. Now. Your cousins tested on another site.

At the time that I convinced my mom to test, my dad didn’t want to. However, forward a few years and I bought a test for him when it was on sale, and when my parents visited me during a layover, I handed him the test kit and he sent it in.

I’ve been getting a lot of distant cousin matches on FamilyTreeDNA, as expected. Just tonight, I finally uploaded his data to GEDmatch. Their new fast upload worked so fast. In the past, mine took days and my mother’s took weeks (because they had some kind of problem at that time). I can’t run a one-to-many match on him yet, but I can look at my matches on his DNA.

GEDmatch has a feature to separate my DNA by parents, since I had tested one, so I have a code to match just my dad’s side. That’s only half of his DNA, but it’s something. I’m using that until his results are ready. I’ve looked up a few matches, but no one is anywhere very close yet.

And that’s where I am now. With a strange result.Dad and his match

This is the chromosome browser result for this particular match. I use GEDmatch’s 7 centimorgan default lower limit and I found this person, who was given an MRCA (most recent common ancestor) score of 4.0. (So a fourth cousin? Or a fifth cousin? I forget now.) This one chromosome is the only match they share that is more than 7 centimorgans, but that bigger chunk is 41.8 centimorgans. That’s a significant match.

How does someone match one large significant stretch of DNA but nowhere else? What does this even mean?

The URL of this post is: http://idogenealogy.com/2016/11/23/dealing-with-dna/

IAJGS 2016 Wrap-Up

This year’s IAJGS Conference was held in Seattle. I started blogging a couple times during the week, but those didn’t get posted. Instead, here is one long blog post for the whole week.

This year, I was the webmaster for the conference, but that didn’t involve any work during the week. I was rooming with the app person, so I helped a little with that, and I did have some webmaster duties for the IAJGS site during the week. But mostly the week was my own to do what I wanted. I still didn’t go to a lot of sessions. I knew I’d be taking home the recordings for LIVE! sessions (because I’m webmaster), so I could watch all those later.

I gave three presentations this year. The first was a computer lab on Sunday morning called Publish or Perish about using Publisher for family newsletters. Four people were signed up but only two made it. They both wanted to use Publisher for books instead of newsletters, so I went more in that direction.

That afternoon, I presented Seattle’s Colorful Jewish History (A Course in Basic Methodology). I felt bad later calling it basic, but I was stuck with it. I started out with a few people and ended with two, one of them telling me when I was out of time. I had a great time doing the research and rushing to get it into a PowerPoint in time, when I kept researching instead of prepping. It was an unfortunate class size, because I was looking forward to doing another one each year based on our meeting location, but if people don’t show up, then it’s not going to happen.

Wednesday morning was my third lecture, Search as an Art. I had a full house, standing room only, which felt really good. It was a repeat from Israel, but I had to make it longer, and it ended with many compliments. One person was crazy about it because I made it humorous, but I had a subject that worked for that; I was showing examples of bad indexing and some were kind of nutty.

I went to all three lunches I was invited to, Media, Tech, and NextGen. Marlis started these for the SLC conference and brought them back for Seattle. It’s just a small-ish gathering of folks, sometimes some of them not even fitting the demographic, discussing the topics and how they relate to future conferences and the IAJGS in general. I fit all the categories, plus, free lunch. And we have some interesting conversations sometimes too.

I usually go to a few SIG and BOF meetings as well. Webmasters’ Roundtable was extra fun because we sat around a round table. We discussed some things about society web sites and it looks like IAJGS will soon be hosting the site for another society like we do now for Illiana.

I stopped in for the end of the Newsletter Editors BOF, something I helped to get started, but UJGS doesn’t have a newsletter anymore. I’m glad I did because some of that discussion came up later in the tech lunch.

I was warned to expect drama at the Sub-Carpathia SIG meeting, but there wasn’t all that much. Brooke spoke about some of what our previous leader was doing, which got him booted from the SIG, but some folks had no idea. Mostly, someone new was taking over and we were going to actually make progress like we should have all along.

I went to only a few of the regular sessions, including Reclaim the Records from Brooke Ganz. I already knew what she was doing, but she was a great presenter and her PowerPoint was really creative. I caught the end of Kathy Kirkpatrick’s session about Proving the Jewish Heritage of a Catholic Sicilian Family. I really mostly just heard the question and answer session, but it was interesting too. It was her first IAJGS conference, but I met her in SLC years ago.

I enjoyed Judy Russell presenting Don’t Forget the Ladies at the banquet. I watched social media very little during the week, but I managed to see her blog post about the serendipity in the session, even though I already knew about it. Emily Garber saw her great-grandmother’s death certificate in the presentation; Emily was sitting next to me. And I ended with Ron Arons’s Critical and Creative Thinking for Genealogists.

I also enjoyed the evening play from the Seattle Jewish Theater Company, From Door to Door.

The Annual Meeting was a little more interesting than usual with issues regarding the election. We have an election every year, but this year had some new issues. I had already kept Marlis awake for two hours the night before with my concerns about it, along with other things we discuss like the web site, so I didn’t add to the length of the meeting.

Also at the banquet, I was happy to collect the Volunteer of the Year award on behalf of Marelynn Zipser, a Utah JGS founding member. We’ve been trying to get her an award for a few years. The award mentions the stats we had from 2011, so they’re a little old, but we got her recognized.

MyHeritage had a drawing each day and I wasn’t usually around for it. On the last day, not only did I draw one of the early winners, but I won the big prize. I now possess an iPad. I’m still trying to figure out how to use it. I’ve been an Android for years.

I also went out to see Seattle while I was in town. It was my first visit. I didn’t get to see my cousins, who actually live in Tacoma rather than Seattle. It’s difficult to arrange those visits. On my first day, I saw the Space Needle (and never saw it again beyond the tall buildings) and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. So now I know the name of the artist for the piece in Abravanel Hall. After the conference, I visited the waterfront a couple times, Pike Place Market, and went on the Underground Tour.

All in all, it was a good week. I really enjoy this conference and all the people I get to see. And even some of the genealogy stuff I learn, chatting with other people about our research, and presenting (to the big crowds are the best).

Additional: I almost forgot to mention the blogger breakfast, scheduled one morning at 6:30am. Can you believe I made it to that? It was good to meet Judy Russell in person and have breakfast with several other bloggers at the conference. Our picture was already posted to the official conference blog.

I guess it’s time for some pictures now.

 

I’ve Been Doing Genealogy

What’s been happening at IDoGenealogy.com? I’ve been doing genealogy. I haven’t blogged in a while, so I figured I should say something.

1. I’ve been trying to finish up my Bernie Sanders research. I’m very sad he lost the primary. I think I’ll survive. I was trying to get one last piece of information before finishing up that post, when I realized that there was more for me to do in Polish records. I still have to do that.

2. I wanted to write about WDYTYA. Rather than a blog post for each episode, I had things I felt like I needed to say about the last three episodes of the last season. I still need to write that.

3. I’ve been busy with some client work. I’ve gotten a few clients lately that needed research (as opposed to digitizing or just look-ups) so I’m happy about that, but I don’t blog about their families. I still have one waiting for a report and another waiting until next month for me to get started.

4. I’ve been trying to get a new family newsletter issue put together. I have so much stuff for it, but I haven’t gotten it all neatened up yet. I don’t know if that will happen this week, and then it will have to wait a few more weeks until I can get back to it.

5. I’ve been doing unpaid work for the past few weeks in preparation for the IAJGS Conference. I am quite behind in my prep for the lectures I need to give. One of them needed a whole lot of genealogy research conducted, and I’m still working on it.

6. And next week is IAJGS. Of course I go to that conference every year. I’ve been researching for it (see #5) and I need to get things finished up and my presentations put together in the next three days. I think I can do it.

And that’s where I am now. I expect I’ll be blogging from the conference as I usually do, so my blog will finally be active again. Hopefully that will get me going with the other blog posts I need to get written. But at least now, anyone following my blog knows I’m still here and where I’ve been lately.

The Genealogy of Bernie Sanders, Part 1.5

As I’m writing this blog post, I am still working on the Glassberg side of Bernie’s genealogy. I had begun writing that blog post as I was working, but I’ve decided to break out a bit of it in a separate entry, because there is so much to write about for the Glassberg side.

Sometimes, even when everything in genealogy research is done well and organized, there are things that are not noticed the first time around. In this case, I originally saw that Henry Sanders was a witness to Elias Sanders’s marriage, and I definitely took note of that. It was only later, when looking at that marriage certificate after I had “completed” that part of the research, that I noticed something else significant. The other witness was Carl Kornreich.

How is that significant? Henry Sanders married Hilda Kornreich. Carl was not her father but I surmised he might be a brother. I left it at that.

Until…

As I researched Dora Glassberg’s family, one of the first batch of records I retrieved from the FHL contained the marriages for her siblings. Her oldest brother, Solomon, married Pearl Kornreich, Hilda’s sister. Also, Carl was a witness to that marriage too.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of time researching a family that was only related by marriage, albeit two marriages, but I did verify that Carl was their brother. (If I were to look into this Kornreich family more, I’d also follow up on the witness to Henry’s marriage, George Wurtzel, as Wurtzel is the Kornreichs’ mother’s maiden name.)

So Dora’s brother-in-law married her sister-in-law’s sister.

And I did find one record that kind of says it all.

Hilda Sanders Obituary, The New York Times, 8 August 1972, ProQuest Historical Newspapers

 


The URL of this blog post is http://idogenealogy.com/2016/03/03/bernie-sanders-1-5/.

This blog post is part of a series.

The Genealogy of Bernie Sanders, Part 1

Especially with shows like Who Do You Think You Are?, celebrity genealogy is all the rage right now. There’s also a saying that if you want your genealogy researched, run for public office.

Since my specialty is Jewish research, I thought I’d participate with Bernie Sanders, our next US President. (Don’t argue with me. I believe that.)

With my access to the Family History Library and various subscription sites that I can use there for free, I plan to expend no money. How far can I go for free?

Bernard “Bernie” Sanders was born 8 September 1941 in Brooklyn to Eli Sanders and Dorothy Glassberg. This information came from Wikipedia, and I continued on my own from there.

I tried the 1940 US Census first where I found Eli and Dorothy Sanders with their son Lawrence living in Brooklyn. The census said that Eli was naturalized, so I looked for that on Ancestry. I found a naturalization for Elias Sanders from the 1920s before he was married, so I could not yet be sure it was the right person, but I held on to it.

1940 US Federal Census; Brooklyn, Kings County, New York; ED 24-305, Sheet 11A, Lines 24-26; Ancestry.com
1940 US Federal Census; Brooklyn, Kings County, New York; ED 24-305, Sheet 11A, Lines 24-26; Ancestry.com

From ItalianGen, I found the marriage of Elias Sanders and Dora Glassberg in 1934, so I retrieved it from the FHL. Elias’s parents were Leon and Ethel Horn. One of the witnesses was Henry Sanders. I continued up this part of the family.

NYC Marriage Certificate, Bronx County, 28 July 1934, Cert #5607, FHL Film #1927886
NYC Marriage Certificate, Bronx County, 28 July 1934, Cert #5607, FHL Film #1927886

Leon and Ethel were clearly Americanized versions of their names, unless they came to America and changed their names themselves. (No evidence was found of this.) And I would be on the lookout for Henry.

There was still a question of whether I had the same person on all these records. I returned to the naturalization and looked up the passenger ship list listed on the Certificate of Arrival. Elias Sanders arrived as Eliasz Gitman in 1921. He left his mother, Jetti Gutman, in Stopnica, his last residence. And he was joining his uncle Abraham Louis Horn in Brooklyn. Bingo. That matched his mother’s maiden name. Also, Jetti is Yetta is Etta is Ethel. (In Jewish names, yes, it really is.)

Ship Passenger List, Eliasz Gitman, SS Lapland, Antwerp to New York, 11 June 1921, Ancestry.com
Ship Passenger List, Eliasz Gitman, SS Lapland, Antwerp to New York, 11 June 1921, Ancestry.com

I followed up on Abraham for a bit at that point. I found him in the 1915 New York State Census at the same address as on the ship list, so I knew I had the right person. He lived with his wife Katie and children, Henry, Ada, Silas, Eli, Manuel, and Rose. I went on to find the 1925 NY State Census, the 1930 US Census, the 1940 US Census (where Abraham was a widower), and eventually the 1920 Census, which took a bit more effort.

1920 US Federal Census; Abraham Horn Family; Brooklyn, Kings County, New York; ED 1064, Sheet 10A, Lines 32-39; Ancestry.com
1920 US Federal Census; Abraham Horn Family; Brooklyn, Kings County, New York; ED 1064, Sheet 10A, Lines 32-39; Ancestry.com

I also found two passport applications for Abraham, in 1920 (with a photo) and 1908, and a draft registration for World War I. His dates of arrival and naturalization were varied on the censuses, with his arrival 1885 or 1892, and his naturalization may have been 1894, though that census stated “unknown” for his wife’s arrival, making the date less likely to be correct. Either way, it looked like his ship list and naturalization probably would not yield new information if they could be found and verified to be his, since they were so early, so I headed back to Elias Sanders.

US Passport Applications, Abraham L Horn, #172750, Ancestry.com
US Passport Applications, Abraham L Horn, #172750, Ancestry.com

A general search on Ancestry yielded a ship list for Elias in 1931. He was a US citizen, claiming 1672 Broadway, Brooklyn, as his address. A few lines above him, Henry Sanders, five years older, was claiming the same address. Recall that Henry Sanders was also a witness to Elias’s marriage. It was time to follow up with Henry.

I found a naturalization for Henry where he was also living at 1672 Broadway. His declaration listed the name Hyman, so he had changed that along the way. And his certificate of arrival listed his name as Elias Gutman. He arrived under his brother’s ticket? I checked the ship list, which listed the same relatives, and had Elias’s age instead of Henry’s. It also listed his mother as Etel Gutmann, instead of Jetti — but those are the same name. We hear stories of people arriving using other people’s tickets. Here is one. (This is the second I’ve ever found proof of.) Henry used his brother’s ticket, and Elias arrived the next year under his own name.

I checked the 1925 NY State Census for 1672 Broadway. There were two families there, but no Sanders. In 1930, one of the same families was still at the address, and they were from Austria, with a son named Elias (recall that Abraham had an Eli/Elias also). Elias is not the most common of names, but it is common for a bunch of Ashkenazi Jewish cousins born around the same time to be named after a relative who had just died. In this case, the three Eliases were born about 1904, 1904, and 1910. So I decided to look into this family who lived at the address that the Sanders brothers kept using. Perhaps the wife was a sister of Elias and Henry’s?

1925 New York State Census, 1672 Broadway, Kings County, AD 5, ED 32, Page 5, Lines 8-13, Ancestry.com
1925 New York State Census, 1672 Broadway, Kings County, AD 5, ED 32, Page 5, Lines 8-13, Ancestry.com

The 1925 Census said that Oscar and Rose Wiener were born in Austria and their kids were born in the US. The 1930 Census said they were all born in Austria. The 1925 gave the date of his naturalization, but it wasn’t on Ancestry. Rose and the children all had the same year for arrival, so I looked for their ship list, hoping to find them all together. Ancestry brought me to the page where they were detained aliens and I had to search for the other page, but they were from the same town as Elias Sanders, she left behind “family” Chaye Horn, and they were joining Oscar who was already at 1672 Broadway. I was wondering if this could be a sister to Elias, but this made it look more like a relative on the Horn side. Since they were married in Europe, it could be harder to prove.

Searching harder for Oscar’s ship list online, I finally found it indexed on the Hamburg list, but Ancestry was taking me to the wrong page. I reversed the search for the US ship list by searching on the ship name and finally found him mis-indexed. He was also from the same Stopnica and joining brother-in-law A J Horn. At this point, it was clear that Rose was the connection and she was a Horn, not a Gitman.

Eventually I found the family in the 1940 census, the one daughter missing and Oscar widowed. A search in ItalianGen left me a few options to find Rose’s death certificate.

It was time to switch over to FamilySearch to look for more. I wanted to find the naturalization for Oscar. I checked my naturalization reference guide for Kings County (which was stated in one census) and discovered they were indexed by JGS NY. I found two entries for Oscar Weiner and Wiener. Back at FamilySearch, the catalog said the records were online, but the search didn’t find it and didn’t show me images. I noticed they were browseable and was able to find both. One was the correct one, which also pointed back to the ship list I had just found. He was not born in Stopnica, but Alt Wisnics.

The JewishGen Gazetteer couldn’t make heads or tails of that, but the Gesher Galicia more simple list of towns included Wisnicz, which is somewhat north of Stopnica.

While still home and unable to get more records from microfilm, I scoured JRI-Poland for anything about this family but I was unable to find any listings that matched any of the people I already knew about, including an Eliasz in the Horn family who probably died between 1902 and 1904. I was really hoping to get back further into the European records but it can’t always be done with the materials in Utah. Stopnica records were only microfilmed for 10 years and the remaining records have not been digitized yet by the Polish archive.

Another FHL visit brought on many more records. First, the death certificate of Rose Wiener showed her to be the daughter of Elias Horn and Chaia Goodman, giving me both the person that the Eliases were likely named for and placing her in the family. Because next I found that Abraham Horn had the same parents on his death certificate.

NYC Death Certificates, Brooklyn, 1935, #17795, FHL Film #2079653
NYC Death Certificates, Brooklyn, 1935, #17795, FHL Film #2079653

A 1940 US Census I’d found earlier for Henry was verified when I found his marriage certificate to Hilda Kornreich, listing his parents exactly as Elias had on his marriage certificate, Leon and Ethel.

I also sat at an FHL computer and looked through ProQuest Obituaries. I found obits for Elias and Dorothy Sanders, Henry and Hilda Sanders, and Abraham Horn.  No other family members were mentioned beyond those that I already found, other than children and grandchildren for some. I got an unintended head start on the Glassberg family because Dorothy’s obituary listed her siblings. And interestingly, Hilda’s mentioned a sister who married a Glassberg. I wonder if there’s a chance they’re doubly connected through marriages.

Obituary of Elias Sanders, The New York Times, 6 August 1962, Page 25, ProQuest Historical Newspapers
Obituary of Elias Sanders, The New York Times, 6 August 1962, Page 25, ProQuest Historical Newspapers

In the end, I did not find the death of Oscar Wiener, nor was I able to get any Polish records to research the family back. I did find two siblings to Elias’s mother Ethel, though no documentary proof that they are siblings outside of the ship lists stating others were uncle and brother-in-law, and they all have the same surname. I’ve found ship list relationships to sometimes not be correct, but when there are this many that put the family together, I will trust it, unless I find something later that brings it into question.

I eventually revisited JRI-Poland and retrieved all of the Gitman and Horn records from Stopnica in the hopes of finding some connection to the names I already had, but they were all for new people. The Polish archive has 1875-1903 and 1906-1909 Jewish vital records, but they haven’t been digitized yet. If there are earlier records in another town, I haven’t found what town it is yet; it’s apparently not indexed by JRI, or none of this family have any vital events registered. That sometimes happens too.

Since I mentioned at the beginning the line about going into politics if you want your genealogy done, I thought I’d add in a little something, since that’s seemingly meant to find the skeletons in the closet. I’ve heard Bernie state that his father came to this country with no money in his pocket. (Or did he say with only a nickel? Maybe it was without a nickel. Now I’m not sure.) For the record, the ship list says that Elias arrived with $25. I have heard that the immigrants would claim the amount of money they had and the officials wouldn’t always verify it, but the ship list does state that amount.

Outside of being stuck in US records, I found this to be a lot of fun. I look forward to chasing up the Glassberg family next.


Update, 3 February 2016: I have been corrected by Renee Steinig in comments. There are two Polish towns of similar spelling, Stopnica and Słopnice. I originally did much of this research several months before posting the article, but I recall having a bit of a conundrum about which town was the correct one. On various documents, handwritten information said Słopnice, while typed always said Stopnica. I believe I did have a bit of outside influence as well from an Internet article. But the 1908 Abraham Horn passport application was clear that the correct town was Słopnice, not Stopnica as I stated in this article, going so far as to say “Słopnice, County of Limanova” for his place of birth. I obviously did not spend enough time with that document — the 1920 was the one that captured my attention with the photo. However, with the correction of the town, there are now no Polish records available to for me to search.

The URL of this blog post is http://idogenealogy.com/2016/01/31/bernie-sanders/.

The Feldstein One Name Study Begins

For years, I have collected data on any Feldsteins I came across. I have been contacted randomly by other Feldsteins asking if we were related. I even collected all Feldstein censuses at one time, leaving off somewhere in 1930; there were so many.

I’ve wanted to do a one name study for a long time, and I have finally just begun only two days ago. I felt the inspiration to get started, so I used it.

Actually, I’ve been in the middle of another one name study, since everyone named Mularzewicz is related to me. I still have quite a lot to go on that one, but I just added a big chunk of distant family and I’m in the middle of gathering NYC vital records for them.

But Feldstein is different because we’re not all related. I have no illusions that I will find we are related. I’m just hoping to find some families that are, even if they’re not related to me. I know of only one group of Feldsteins that are alleged cousins, but I have yet to prove it.

And so, I began with the US Federal Censuses. The first Feldsteins to show up were in 1860. And then they vanished. I have found no trace of that family in the next two censuses. There is a possible death certificate for the wife in NYC that matches her birth year, but I haven’t gotten it yet to know.

First Feldsteins, 1860 US Federal Census, New York City
First Feldsteins, 1860 US Federal Census, New York City

For a few months now, I’ve been collecting NYC vital records, beginning with marriages. I have a lot, and I think at least a few match up with the families already in my new database. I usually scan them at the end of the day after I’ve finished client work, so it goes slowly.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. So far, I have entered the families from the US Federal Census from 1860, 1870, and 1880. There is a family in 1895 Iowa and a couple women in 1892 New York. There appears to be a couple in 1890 New York City.

I thought most Feldsteins would be in New York, but in 1880, there seemed to be more in Pennsylvania; maybe it was about half of them. I was able to connect just a few people between censuses; most information didn’t match. Most of the Feldsteins who showed up new in Pittsburgh were from Poland, so I wonder if some of them are related.  One family was in Chicago, and one Feldstein was out in West Virginia. He was married, but his wife was not listed with him.

It disturbs me that the people from 1860 were not found later and even some from 1870 were not in 1880.

I could nearly pinpoint the immigration of two families by the children suddenly being born in the place where they were enumerated vs. Russia or Poland.

I already have confounding information. I have found two Theodore Feldsteins — they both appear the same census year, so I know they’re different. But in searching for 1890, I came across a record of 1890 Veterans Schedules for Theodore — I don’t know which one it was.

I’ve decided to go systematically rather than research each family individually, for now. Obviously I’ve begun with US Censuses, but I’ve been gathering NYC Marriages as well. I haven’t decided if I should start to integrate those records or wait a little longer.

By 1900 there are significantly more Feldsteins in the US Census, and in several more states than I’ve seen so far. Maybe it would be good to deal with the vital records that I have prior to that date before I get to those records.

I’m using my usual database for this project, the one I programmed myself, so I’ll be able to transfer it to a web site easily enough when I’m ready. My only trouble will be merging people — my program doesn’t do that yet. I may have to add that functionality just for this project. I’ve added more features to the program over the years as I’ve needed them. With a new kind of project, there may be some more programming in my future.

Current database count: 72 people.

On a personal note, I realize that I haven’t blogged anything for a while, so I figured it was beyond time to come back. I was pretty busy in November with NaNoWriMo. I ended up organizing genealogy for over 40 hours during the month (plus I wrote over 20k words of an actual story), and then I got more done in December. I’ve had a blog post waiting to be finished for about three months that I need to get back to and finish. I’m still keeping busy doing genealogy for myself and clients. I just realized I’d been neglecting my blog and thought, hey, I started a new project, that should be on my blog. Did you miss me? :-)

Israel 2015 – Days 15-21

It was easy to fall out of the practice of blogging, so now it’s time to finish up. I did keep up a little better than this seems, but I didn’t publish it.

Except for one night at Daniel’s after the conference, I stayed with my cousins in Haifa the rest of the trip, taking it easy. Some people would baulk at how I wasted time, but I enjoyed myself. I don’t feel the need to spend all my waking moments on tours and seeing historic sites. I have seen quite a bit and I think it will still be here when I come back in the future.

Here’s a quick family tree, as I will mention their names. Lea is my second cousin, once removed. Her husband is Odi. Her kids: Dikla, Tomer, and Lior. Dikla is married to Ido and Carmel is their daughter. Tomer is married to Michal and Noga is their daughter. Lior lives with her parents presently and Daniel is her boyfriend.

So what have I done all these days? Let’s see if I can remember.

We visited the cemetery in Nesher where Lea’s parents and grandmother are buried. Then there was a party. Lea invited about 40 people on her mother’s side of the family. (I’m on her father’s side.) It was a welcome home to Lior, the youngest daughter, who just got back from eight months in South America after serving her time in the IDF. I also met Lea’s brother Israel and his family at the party.

On other days, Lea, Carmel, and I went to the local zoo. Then we met Lior and Daniel for lunch. Lea, Odi, and I went to see HaMinyonim. Lea had mentioned needing some time to stop by her work (she was on vacation my whole visit) and I told her to drop me at the movie, but they said we should all go. They even found it playing in English, though I would’ve been happy with it in Hebrew for fun. It was adorable. The only drawback was that much of the cutest parts were in the trailers. However, the one phrase Minions speak that is Hebrew was worth it to see in Israel.

A long drive brought Lea, Odi, and I to the Switzerland forest above Lake Kinneret. We visited Yardenit and watched people being baptized where they thought Jesus was baptized but not quite in the same place; that was a weird one. We drove through Tiberias without really stopping. Visited the Magdala church and the synagogue ruins in front of it that were 2000 years old. And finally we stopped at Kibbutz Amir. This was where Lea’s parents lived until just after she was born. She still has an aunt there. It’s also where the family picture was taken that helped me find them.

A shorter trip brought Lea and I to the Israel Valley where we met Lior and Michal for lunch, with Carmel and Noga. Then the two of us drove around to see Nahalal, the first moshav, another moshav, Beit Shearim, and Bet Lekhem HaGalili, or what Google Map calls Bethlehem of Galilee. The Hebrew name is more interesting to me. They sell all kinds of spices and some foods. You can walk through their farm, but it was hot so we just took the quick walk in the front.

Genealogy day began in the evening, typical of the Jewish calendar. Lea went through boxes of photos, then I scanned them on their computer. Many were unlabelled and a good collection were mystery people. Under other circumstances, I might have done her mother’s family and even her husband’s, but there was so much.

Next, Lea and I went through the family methodically like we did at the beginning and this time she typed it in Hebrew. We still did not finish. But I was able to finish up the family for my database, which I now need to add.

I ended my visit with the cousins by visiting Caesarea in the evening. I’m pretty sure a lot of that wasn’t there 30 years ago.

The next day, Lea dropped me off at the train station where I headed back south to Tel Aviv. I visited Beit Hatfutsot and waited for Daniel to arrive. He showed me to the secret room in the basement, after mentioning the urban legend that says they have some of the LDS Polish microfilms, but they never let anyone see them. We mostly spent the day at the Mediterranean Sea. I mentioned to him that I had seen all three major bodies of water, but hadn’t been in any of them. So we walked along the boardwalk for a bit and ended up at the beach. We just hung out there until after the sun went down and I walked into the water a bunch of times. We didn’t change into bathing suits, so I could only walk a little ways in.

And that’s about it. Daniel dropped me off at the airport. Security was pretty easy. The baggage check took so much longer; I don’t know why they couldn’t check the bags of the people in front of me in line for so long. The flights home were brutal. I need to learn how to sleep sitting up I guess. I couldn’t stay awake but I definitely didn’t sleep.

My mom informed me today that we did swim in the Dead Sea 30 years ago. We don’t have pictures because our tour guide was off eating lunch and we didn’t bring the cameras onto the lake. We had the huge hotel breakfast, but he didn’t. I have no recollection of this, but I remember so little of that trip. I scanned in all of my photos and I had a total of 52 for that three week trip. I joked that I wanted to take at least 2000 on this trip. I made that number easily.

So now that I’m home, I guess I have a little more blogging to do about the trip, mostly sharing some of the photos, I think. Watch for those in the near future, but give me a little time. I have to catch up on everything after a three week vacation.

But since it’s easier to upload pictures from home… here’s my last sunset in Israel over the Mediterranean Sea.

Last Sunset in Israel

Israel 2015 – Day 13-14

Lea took me to a Druze village for a little shopping, then up to a church for a view. I forget the name of the church, but I have pictures to tell me later. There was a statue of Elijah, believed to be where he had to take down the false prophets. They had a compass on the ground of the lookout pointing off towards major cities and some minor ones more nearby. Unfortuantely, the sky wasn’t as clear as the day before, so we couldn’t see too terribly far.

Next up, we went north. Rosh Hanikrah was beautiful. We walked right up to the border fence with Lebanon. Some army VIPs showed up and even they went through some inspection to cross through. Then we took the cable car down to see the grottoes and the old tunnels where the British built their railroad.

We stopped in Akko on the way back where we walked through the old city and the shuk. Many shops were closed and we realized eventually that it was still Ramadan. We had lunch at Said, supposedly the best humus in Israel, certainly in Akko. (I even looked it up online.) Another unfortunate stop was at the Tunisian synagogue, which was also closed at the time, so we couldn’t go in.

I finally emailed all of my other known Israeli cousins, so we’ll see if I have a chance to meet with any of them before I leave. If not, it’s just another reason to come back again. I have a few other reasons that are piling up of things I didn’t get to do yet. I should come back more often than every 30 years.