Friday, August 9, 2019

IAJGS2019 part 2 and Kandel cousins

Kandel Sisters: Bella Kandel Lieberman,
Alte Sara Kandel Apple, Chana Kandel Goldenberg
with Harry Apple
As I mentioned, my time at the Cleveland conference was really busy.  On Thursday I spent some time learning what is new in Ukraine research before giving my talk about this blog and how it has helped my research.  The talk went well, I think, and had good attendance.  I had been a bit concerned that few people would come because I had already given the talk at our local JGS so I didn't expect my friends to show up in support. Thursday night was the banquet which is always interesting.  This year we had a speaker on Jewish jokes so there was a lot of laughter. On Friday morning I met over breakfast with the new head of the Ukraine SIG to discuss my document translation project.  That was the last big item on my to-do list for this conference and I was glad she could fit me in.  My final session was a good one on DNA analysis with endogamous populations where I picked up some good techniques.  As usual, one of the best things about the conference is the opportunity to chat with new people with a real interest in genealogy.  The discussions go on into the evenings, in the lobby while waiting for airport transportation, and even in the departure gate areas at the airport.

This conference was extra special because I connected with cousins on a branch of my tree where I had no personal connections.  I had arranged to meet on Monday with my local cousin who I had corresponded with some years before and who had finally provided me with identification of the wonderful photo above of my great-grandmother Bella Lieberman with her sisters and nephew.  That had been in my "Who am I?" file for many years.  This cousin is descended from both Alte Sarah and Chana as her parents were cousins. We had planned for dinner and a three-hour meeting before my 7:30 session that night.  Once we started talking, we clicked, and my meeting was ignored in her favor.  We walked around downtown while we talked and she showed me some of her favorite places in Cleveland. In addition to providing me with family information, she put me on the phone with another cousin in Boston.  She came back to the conference as planned on Thursday to hear my talk, and brought photos, papers, and other information on her side of the family.  After another few hours, I did have to leave to attend the banquet.  Hearing that I was done with the conference by 11AM on Friday, but my flight wasn't until the evening, she arranged to pick me up on Friday for lunch with another local cousin and his wife.  We all had a great time sharing stories about the family and looking at photos.  They also agreed to take DNA tests and join my family DNA project (I had bought three kits at the conference so I had them handy).  Since then, she has contacted several more cousins on her line, connected me with them on Facebook and e-mail, and gotten agreement for several more DNA test kits that I will mail out to the happy recipients.  A genealogy goldmine, and a new group of friends.

I can't wait for next year's conference in San Diego!  There are cousins there, too!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

IAJGS2019 Cleveland, OH

It is summer again, so I must be at the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies annual conference.  This year it is in Cleveland.  It is my seventh conference, and each one has been fascinating in a different way.  My first conference, in Paris (France), was almost overwhelming.  I didn't know anyone and there were at least a hundred sessions to choose from, all of them interesting.  I learned so much and by the end of the week, I knew a lot more about how to do my research and had met a few people who were interested in the same areas that I was.
This conference is exciting but in different ways.  I don't have as much trouble choosing sessions to attend, as I have heard many of the introductory track topics before.  I now know many attendees from all over and carve out times to meet them at meals, or over a drink somewhere.  There are also events that are not formally part of the schedule but are organized every year for folks with interest in a topic, like the Bloggers lunch, or the Volhynia Researchers dinner.  And, of course, this year is different because I am also a speaker at the conference for the first time. (My topic is this blog as a research tool!).
In addition to hearing about new data that is available, and new projects to improve service from, I heard updates on projects from the Hungarian and Ukraine Special Interest Groups.  Those are the areas that I am most interested in for my research.  There was a useful talk on Hungarian names and deconflicting people with the same name.  Two professors from Case Western U gave talks, one on Jewish influence on American Popular Music (this is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after all), and one on the nature and consequences of Jewish migration.  Both very thought-provoking subjects. One particularly useful talk was about historical maps and how to find and use them in your research. 
As usual, when I travel, I check to see if I have any cousins in the area that I can contact.  I was in luck this trip as there was a cousin on my maternal grandfather's side of the family with whom I had exchanged e-mails a few years ago, but never met.  We got together and spent a lot of time exchanging information and telling family stories.  I'll tell more about that in another post.  For now, since I am beat and I have to present my talk tomorrow, I'm going to bed.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Neuman family - part 1

 Julia Henriette Neuman Fondeur
about 1912
My husband's grandmother was the lovely young lady shown above.  She was born on January 13, 1887, in Santa Barbara de Samana in what is now the Dominican Republic (DR), and baptized there as Julia Margarita Neumann Fondeur1.  (This uses the Spanish convention of putting the father's surname followed by the mother's surname).  In various records, she was known as Julia Henriette, Julia Andriette Marie, and Julieta Henriqueta.

Julia was born into a large, prosperous family of seven girls and one boy.   Her parents were Victor Newman Paris, (born May 30, 1863, in Puerto Plata, DR)2 and Juliana Fondeur Guzman (b. ca. 1869 in Moca, Espaillat, DR).  According to "Hombres y Mujeres Notables y Benefactores de Samana (1493-1910)"  by Gregorio Elias Penzo, her father (Victor) "... emigrated with his brother Alberto to the city of Samana sometime between 1880 and 1890.  On January 9, 1896, he married Juliana Fondeur, from Moca, their children were:  Julieta Enriqueta, Maria Juliana Clementina, Maria Luisa Virginia, Lois Henry Victor, Maria Francisca, Maria Theresa, and Luisa Angela Marguerita (7 girls and 1 boy).  Victor appears in a list of businessmen (comerciantes) in 1896 as the proprietor of a commercial establishment.  He held several municipal posts, including the mayor. On March 1, 1903, professor Vicente Martinez, jointly with Victor Neumann, mayor, founded a school, Escuela Aurora, in Las Terrenas.  Victor was a founding member of the Auxilliary Fire Department of Samana (March 22, 1922).  On March 31, 1902, his wife died; years later he remarried: Theresa Horton Drullard,  and had an additional seven children: Celida Altagracia, Atenaida Maria, Celeste Ondina, Elsa Mercedes, Clara Aurora, Rhina Teresa, and Sergio Hector (6 girls and one boy).

He was named administrator of the soap company, Jabonerias Unidas del Cibao, by the board of directors, and he carried out his responsibilities with efficiency and honesty, which was an integral part of his character.  Although he had a sober expression, he enjoyed simple humor and loved music.  He frequently hired a local band, Orquesta Altagracia to play for his parties.  He was a well-mannered gentleman, and was the governor of a social club, Club Peninsular, for several terms.  He died on October 20, 1932."3

Alexander Crime
 taken in San Juan PR about 1913 
In 1913 Julia married Alexander Crime from St Thomas, Danish West Indies but living in Samana. In a 1906 guide to the DR he is shown as an import/export merchant operating from an office in a pharmacy, and  Vice-Consul for Norway for Samana.  He is listed as living in Samana with his father Matthew and "Crime Senoritas" (probably unmarried sisters) on Avenida la Marina in Samana. Victor Neumann is also listed on Marina at that time, although his family is not shown.  It is likely that that is how the couple became acquainted. Victor's brother Alberto is shown as living on Colon Street.4.

Because of Alejandro's (Alexander) business, the couple moved back and forth between Samana and St Thomas.  They had seven children born as they moved from one to the other. Born in Samana:  Ilma Ethelvina (1914), Mildred Virginia (1915) Daphne Maria (1918), and Alda Alexandrina (1920).  Born in St Thomas: Vera Tanya (1917), Alexander (1922), and Erle Edward (1924).  This movement became an issue after the 1917 transfer of St Thomas from Denmark to the United States and the granting of US citizenship to Danish resident citizens in 1927.  That will be the subject of another blog post.5
Ad for Alexander Crime
in Guia General of 1906

Alexander, (as he was known in St Thomas) acquired some land on Estate Dorothea on St Thomas in 1907 and established a residence there to maintain his Danish citizenship despite his absences in the DR. 6 By 1921 when his first son was born, the family was residing at 11 Crystal Gade in Charlotte Amelie, St Thomas.7  By 1929 they had moved to 83 Kronprindsens Gade where Julia died on November 7 from cancer of the uterus.8  Alexander died on June 11, 1936.  They both were buried in the Western Cemetery in Charlotte Amalie.9

1.  Baptism records, FHL, Julia Margarita Neumann Fondeur born Jan 13, 1887, Baptized June 15, 1887, in Santa Barbara de Samana. Parents Victor Neumann and Juliana Fondeur.
2.  Hombres y Mujeres Notables y Benefactores de Samana (1493-1910)"  by Gregorio Elias Penzo.  pp 209-210.  Citation and rough translation provided via e-mail Feb 23, 2004, from Jacqueline Jacques to Mary-Jane Roth
3.  Ibid.
4. "La Republica Dominicana Directorio y Guia General" Enrique Deschamps, 1906.  Copies of pages 186-188, 315-317  several unmarked pages sent to Erle Crime by Jacqueline Jacques in 2004. Given to Mary-Jane Roth in 2004.
5. Ibid., unmarked page of advertisements.
6. Copy of letter October 30, 1938, from C.L. Root, Collector of Customs St. Thomas, to The Commissioner of Emigration & Naturalization, Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. concerning the citizenship of Miss Mildred Crime.  Copy given to Mary-Jane Roth by Daphne Crime Kushnereit.
7. Ibid.
8. As told to Mary-Jane Roth by Erle Crime and Daphne Crime Kushnereit.
9. Photos of the crypt in Western Cemetery, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas showing birth and death dates for Julia N. Crime and Alexander Crime. Provided by e-mail July 26, 2006, from Maria Smith to Mary-Jane Roth.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Genealogy Fun

Janice Sellers, who writes the blog Ancestral Discoveries, passed on a genealogy challenge this weekend. It was to show an unbroken line of ancestors and descendants for whom you have photographs.
This weekend, I attended the Bat Mitzvah of a cousin who is at the newest end of such a line so I thought I'd post my response that way.

Lena Tepper
 First is Lena Tepper.  I don't know her maiden name.  I have found several of her children's marriage certificates, but each has a different maiden name for her.  She was born in about 1857,  probably in the town of Mirapol in what is now Ukraine.  This photo was taken in Philadelphia in about 1930.

Cherna (Jennie) Tepper Grosser
 Lena's oldest child, Jennie Tepper Grosser was born about 1880, also in Miropol (now called Myropil).  This photo was taken in Philadelphia in about 1944.

Albert J. Grosser
Jennie's son Al was born in 1904, in Philadelphia, PA.  This was taken in 1969 at his parent's 73rd wedding anniversary party.

Al's son was born in Philadelphia in 1937. I'm guessing that this was taken in about 1960 in Philadelphia.

Proud Father of the Bat Mitzvah girl

Latest Bat Mitzvah and sixth generation of the family.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

IAJGS 2018 in Warsaw - Part 2 Warsaw Outside of the Conference

Ghetto wall marker - Warsaw
     Before the IAJGS conference started, we took the opportunity to tour around Warsaw.  We did take one organized tour where we visited the (reconstructed) old town, the residence of the last king of Poland, the Warsaw uprising monument and other places that gave us some context for the Jewish history part of our trip.  Mostly we walked and explored central Warsaw. Everywhere we went I felt like I was walking on graves.
     The Warsaw ghetto was the largest in Europe holding about 400,000 people at its peak and surrounded by 11 miles of walls, most of them 10 feet high.  When the Nazis liquidated the ghetto and wiped out the last remaining resistance members, they leveled everything inside of the walls.  There are a few wall fragments left standing, but the Poles have placed markers on the streets and sidewalks to show where the wall once was.  There are also monuments to those who resisted, and those who were deported and perished from the ghetto. Wherever you walk you find them.  I also visited the Jewish Historical Institute (a co-sponsor of the IAJGS conference) which had a moving exhibit of documents from the Oneg Szabat archive.  This was a secret record collected by Emanuel Ringleblum, a historian, and his collaborators, of day to day life in the ghetto in the beginning, and then a record of the deportations from the ghetto and testimony of those who had escaped other towns and camps of the destruction of Jews and Jewish life in Poland.  Knowing that they were unlikely to survive, the members of the Oneg Szabat program buried the documents in metal boxes and milk cans, hoping that they would be found in the future and that people would know that the writers had existed. Two troves of documents were found under the rubble after the war. 
One of two milk cans containing part of
the Oneg Szabat archive buried in
the Warsaw Ghetto and found after the war.
   Towards the end of the war, when the Poles in the city also rose against the German occupiers, they were wiped out as well and the remainder of the central part of the city was also leveled by the Nazis.  Bodies that had been buried in courtyards or streets during the uprisings, as well as those who died in shattered buildings or in underground bunkers were left in place when the rubble was bulldozed after the war. Warsaw still commemorates the rising every year.  The anniversary was while we were here so all over the city there were fresh flowers and votives placed at large and small memorials.  There is a museum dedicated to the uprising that I visited before I left.  The story of the uprising and the subsequent devastation of the city was chilling. 
     In the middle of what had been the center of the Ghetto is a monument to those who were deported and killed, and those who, in the end, fought and died.  Facing that monument is the new POLIN museum.  This award-winning museum celebrates the 1,000-year history of Jews in Poland.  The museum was also a co-sponsor of the IAJGS conference and provided speakers at the conference, and special events and tours at the museum during the conference.  The main exhibition is beautifully done, filled with interactive displays illustrating the richness of Jewish life in Poland.  The Shoah has its place in the story but does not overwhelm the larger sweep of history.  A temporary exhibit focusing on the events of 1968 and how they affected the remaining Jewish population under the communist government brings the story up-to-date. 
   Warsaw was rebuilt at once after the war but as a dreary communist "paradise".  Now many of those dreary buildings are being torn down and replaced with gleaming modern architecture.  A new building called the Warsaw Spire, which was next to our hotel, was very striking and has won some European awards for its design.  There is construction  of new apartments, condos and offices everywhere. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.   

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

IAJGS 2018 in Warsaw, Part one


The Old Synagogue in Kazimierz - still active
This years' International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies' conference is being held, for the first time, in Central Europe, in Warsaw, Poland.  Poland was the heartland of what was, before the Holocaust, the largest concentration of Jews in the world.  Although I, unlike most Ashkenazi Jews, cannot trace my family to any lands that were ever part of historic Poland, since DNA has proved that all Ashkenazi Jews are related to all other Ashkenazi Jews, what I am learning about Poland at the conference and in my travels, is part of my family's story, too.
     We came to Poland ahead of the conference to have some time to explore.  We spent three days in Krakow, an early capitol of Poland.  Through good luck, the city was not destroyed in WWII so it has a beautiful old center with a huge main square containing beautiful old churches including one dating from the 10th century.  While there were Jews living in that area from about that time, they soon moved to a nearby city of Kazimierz, which, since it was just outside of the walls of old Krakow, soon was absorbed into that city.  Kazimierz was the center of Jewish life in Krakow up until the population was liquidated between 1939-1944.  Today it is the "hip" part of Krakow with cafes and clubs.  Jews have begun to return to Kazimierz, and there is a new Jewish Community Center and at least two congregations using the synagogue buildings that were used as storage or stables by the Nazis and so were not destroyed.  Other synagogue buildings have been repurposed as book shops or cafes but in a way that respects the remnants of decorations that reveal their earlier function.  The new Jewish population is not trying to recreate the past, but rather to establish a modern Jewish community as part of the Polish citizenry.  A short walk across the river from Kazimierz is Podgorze,
Segment of the ghetto wall - Podgorze
the site of the ghetto established by the Nazis.  It was much smaller than the ghetto in Warsaw (more in my next post).  Walking through it you can see remnants of the ghetto wall, built to look like a line of Jewish tombstones, the square from which the residents were loaded onto rail cars for shipment to a death camp, and two bright spots - the pharmacy of Tadeusz Pankiewicz a Polish Catholic who brought medicines and food to his shop inside the ghetto and hid ghetto Jews, and the factory of Oskar Schindler, made famous by the film Schindler's List, who saved 1200 of the about 4000 Krakow Jews who resurfaced after the war.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Emmanuel Zelkovitch Manning, whose name was NOT changed at Ellis Island

Emanuel Zelcovitch Manning from his 1933
Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen
Today I read a Facebook post by one of my cousins that perpetuated one of the most common myths in American genealogy - that because an immigrant could not speak English on arrival, a name was changed at Ellis Island.  I have no doubt that the person who told him that story about her father believed it, but the evidence says otherwise.

Emmanuel Zelcovitch (father-in-law of my 1C1R Herbie Lieberman) did arrive in New York from England on November 4, 1922, aboard the Aquitania from Southampton1, England. He likely did not go through Ellis Island to be processed, as the manifest says that he traveled second class, and only third class and steerage passengers were sent to Ellis Island unless, on brief pre-examination in the harbor, they appeared to have a medical condition.  His manifest does not indicate that that was the case.

Although he was born in Negresti, Roumania in 1889, both the UK outbound passenger list2 and the manifest of the Aquitania indicate that he was a UK citizen.  His later petitions for naturalization in the US (more on these later) also indicate that he was a naturalized British citizen.  His name is neatly printed on the Outbound UK list, along with his address in Manchester England.  The manifest of the Aquitania, which like all others for arriving passengers was prepared before the ship left Southampton by company personnel who spoke the various languages of the passengers, was likewise neatly typed and shows Emanuel Zelkovitch.  The inspectors in New York simply read the names from the manifest and did not make changes to them.  The manifest also states that Emmanuel was a manufacturer and was able to read and write English and had visited the U.S. on two prior occasions.  Emmanuel had been living in England for some years.   He married his wife Minnie Vogel on March 5, 1919, in Manchester and their first child, Enid (the source of the story above) was born in Manchester in 19213.   The 1922 Manchester phone book lists him as a manufacturer of raincoats there4.
Emanuel Zelcovitch on the manifest of SS Aquitania 1922

Minnie Zelcovitch and baby Enid also had departed from Liverpool, England in November of 1922 aboard the Samaria, and arrived in the US on November 12 through St Albans, Vermont via Canada, and thence by train to Boston where she would join her sister.5  Like her husband's manifest, this one was clearly typed.  It also noted that Minnie could both read and write in English.

The Zelkovitch family moved to Savannah GA where he became a grocer, and they had two more children,  He began using the last name Manning for business, but did not use it in all circumstances. The earliest record that I found was the Savannah city directory of 1924 that lists Emmanuel Z. Manning (Minnie) as a grocer operating a store at 320 Gaston6.  In 1927, he filed a Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen in the court in Savannah7.  He used the name Emanuel Zelcovitch on that document and pledged to renounce all allegiance to the King of England.  He did not complete the naturalization process at that time, however.  The 1930 U.S. census taken in April of that year, shows Minnie using the name Manning with the three children living in the Boston area without her husband8.  On September 25, 1930, Emanuel (Manea) Zelkovitch entered the U.S. through St Albans, Vermont9.  Again the certificate of arrival is clearly typed. When he again filed a Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen in Boston MA on August 9, 1933, ( the process required continuous U.S. residence of five years prior to naturalization) he indicated that his residence immediately prior to the U.S. had been in Montreal, Canada10.  In answer to the question of nationality, he states that he is British through naturalization. In March 1936 when he petitioned for naturalization (along with Minnie and Enid) he again applied under the name of Emanuel Zelcovitch, but at that time he requested that his name be changed legally to Emanuel Zelcovitch Manning11.

Something caused Emmanuel Zelcovitch to begin using the name Manning fairly soon after his arrival.  Many immigrants changed their first or last names to something that sounded more American to them.  Perhaps he liked the sound of the American nickname"Manny" with the alliterative last name Manning.  We will probably never know exactly why he changed it, but the evidence shows that he was not given a new name at Ellis Island.  There are other questions about this man.  Why did he and his wife travel separately to the US?  Why did he go to live in Canada without his family between 1927 and 1930?  Maybe some other family member knows the answers to these questions.  I'll keep looking.

1., New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2010),, Year: 1922; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3215; Line: 29; Page Number: 45 Record for Emanuel Zelcovitch

2., UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 (Provo, UT, USA. Operations, Inc., 2012),

3., Georgia, Naturalization Records, 1893-1991 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2012),, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; ARC Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, compiled 1825 - 1980; ARC Number: 2387451; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21. Record for Emanuel Zelcovitch.

4., British Phone Books, 1880-1984 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2007),, BT Archives; London, England; British Phone Books 1880-1984. Record for Emmanuel Zelcovitch.

5., Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2006),, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; R.

6., U.S. City Directories (Beta) (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, Database online. Record for Emanuel Z Manning.

7., Georgia, Naturalization Records, 1893-1991 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2012),, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; ARC Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, compiled 1825 - 1980; ARC Number: 2387451; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21. Record for Emanuel Zelcovitch.

8., 1930 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2002),, Database online. Year: 1930; Census Place: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: ; Page: ; Enumeration District: ; Image:. Record for Minnie Manning.

9., Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 - 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. Record for Emanuel Manea Zelkovitch.

10., Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 - 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21

11., Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 - 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. Record for Emanuel Zelcovitch petition for naturalization