Who Do You Think You Are? Live Review

The 2012 Who Do You Think You Are? Live show at Olympia is now becoming a bit of a distant memory but it is worth reviewing this year’s show and previous years.  We have now been at several of the shows and have seen how it has developed into biggest fixture in the genealogy and family history world.  JGSGB went to the first ever show and we were quite astounded by the level of interest in Jewish Genealogy.  People came to us with details of an ancestor who was or might have been Jewish, anxious to find out if they were.  Others came with detailed family trees wanting to know how to take things backwards into Europe.  The level of interest in Jewish genealogy at the show did not diminish after the first show.  We have found more and more people visiting our stand each year, with the queries mainly being of the same type.

After the first show, we decided to have tables rather than a big stand, making it easier to afford to attend.  We also now have a set location at the show, which on the face of it doesn’t seem that promising – in a corner away from the majority of other societies and the away from the entrance – however, it is right next to the entrance of one of the main toilets and next to the Pizza Express outlet.  This guarantees a lot of passing traffic!

The JGSGB approach to being at WDYTYA? Live has always been proactive.  We don’t wait for the people visiting our stand to initiate contact, we ask open questions like “do you have any Jewish ancestors?”, “is there any specific area you are looking for ancestors in?”, or simply “can we help you?”.  This approach means that we can help people who have very little idea of where to start with researching Jewish ancestry.  It also gives us an opportunity to sell the benefits of joining JGSGB or buying one of our Jewish Ancestors Guides (www.jgsgb.org.uk/catalog/shop).  We also provide a lot of verbal information and do on-line searches there and then.  There are lots of funny enquiries, if we had a pound for every time someone asked, in all innocence, “do you think my ancestor was Jewish?  He/she had a a large nose and dark skin.”, we would make a lot of money.  This is something that we might take offence at but the enquirers are very sincere about finding out if they have Jewish roots.  A lot of time is spent letting people down gently by explaining that their ancestor probably wasn’t Jewish, even with a first name like Benjamin or a last name like Isaacs.  Quite a few people go away disappointed at not having Jewish ancestors.  What we are doing is educating people about what makes someone Jewish and how to establish the fact through vital records.

The stand is staffed by JGSGB members on a rota basis.  The volunteers get the chance to use their knowledge and experience to help visitors to our stand.  We also get the opportunity to explore interesting Jewish genealogies, working with the person to find areas that will take their search forward.  It has been very useful for me personally to learn on the spot where to find specific records and useful websites.  It is also an opportunity to be able to use knowledge gained from attending JGSGB educational events and talks and also the International Conferences to help people.

JGSGB manages to recruit about 20 new members at each show and also sell dozens of guides and also other people’s books about Jewish genealogy and history.

There is a lot of work done in preparing for the show, most of it falling on the shoulders of JGSGB Stand Manager, Jeanette Rosenberg, and then the physical setting up, falling a lot on my shoulders and one or two others.  After a few years doing it we now have it down to a fine art!

It is worth the effort, as we cover our costs and make a little profit on top, and more importantly, we get to help so many people.  JGSGB will be at the show again on 2013.  Hope to see you there.

The URL for this post is http://www.jgsgb.org.uk/blog/?p=442

Mark Nicholls

Chairman JGSGB

Jews of Cairo

There has been some interest in this subject on JGSGB Discuss.

One of our members is looking into the background of some cousins who were Egyptian Jews living in Cairo and were directly descended from the famous chief rabbi of Baghdad, Rabbi Eliyahu Mani (died 1899). 

 

Our member is at present trying to find the ketubah of the marriage of Dr. Baruch Mani (personal physician to the King of Egypt), and his first wife, Fortunee Mani. This marriage took place in Cairo probably in The Great Synagogue in 1919.

 

Would anybody know where the Jewish marriage records, including ketubah records, of Cairo Jewry of that period were kept? And where would one find such records today if indeed they still exist?

The advice so far received is that unfortunately the marriage records in Cairo are now considered the property of the Egyptian state and Jews are not permitted access.  A very sore point…. Yves Fedida <fedida@mac.com> is the expert on this subject. Also Alain Farhi alain@farhi.orgwho has an extensive genealogical records of Jews from Egypt (Les Fleurs d’Orient website)

The URL for this post is http://www.jgsgb.org.uk/blog/?p=430  

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

International Jewish Genealogy Month

I know it’s a long time away, but I thought that I would give it a plug, since our very own Jeanette Rosenberg is involved.

Get ready for International Jewish Genealogy Month (IJGM) during the month of Heshvan which is also known as October 17, 2012 to November 14, 2012!

IJGM is your JGS/Historical Society/SIG/JCC opportunity to have your community focus on Jewish Genealogy and your organization.

This year’s dynamic International Jewish Genealogy Month Committee includes all the members from last year and new additions. Here are the 2012 IJGM Committee members: Carol Shkolnik of Columbus, Ohio; Diane Wainwood or Thousand Oaks, California; Garri Regev of Jerusalem, Israel; Rabbi Garry Gans of Marlton, New Jersey, Howard Morris of Boston, Massachusetts; Janice Sellers of Oakland, California; Jeanette Rosenberg of Edgware Middlesex, United Kingdom and Joanne Clements of Phoenix, Arizona.

If you’re interested in joining the IJGM committee, please contact Nancy Adelson nancyadelson@comcast.net  They are always looking for more great ideas and volunteers who want to help increase community involvement and improve IJGM publicity.

To help promote International Jewish Genealogy Month, IAJGS is continuing the IJGM Poster Contest which has a June 3, 2012 submission due date. More details will be coming in a month. Until then, please visit the IJGM home page at http://www.iajgs.org/jgmonth.html. The website will be completely revised soon. However, it still provides a brief introduction to International Jewish Genealogy Month and shows all the past poster winners including the outstanding 2011 winning poster.  

So start thinking of International Jewish Genealogy Month!!! Your autumn programmes are right around the corner.

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

 

JGSGB in the wider Community

The JGSGB is taking it’s message out to the wider community by taking part in a number of events.

February 24-26
Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) Live takes place at Olympia, London. This is the biggest family history event in the world. Once again the JGSGB will be there. You can find us on stands 141 & 142. For more information go to: www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com

 

March 18

Jewish Living Expo takes place at Wembley Stadium. This will be a very large communal exhibition with “Everything for everyone Jewish”.  The Expo will cover many different aspects of Jewish life, and will include educational workshops.  JGSGB will be giving a brief talk on genealogy at 5.00 p.m. in one of the Wembley Boxes. 

July 28

Buckinghamshire Family History Society will be holding its Annual Open Day at The Grange School,Wendover Way,Aylesbury,HP21 7NH. This is a free event with something for everyone. The Chiltern Regional Group of the JGSGB has again been invited to take part and is seeking support from three or four more JGSGB members for this entirely enjoyable day. It is an opportunity to gain valuable exposure for the Society and for the Chilterns Regional Group in particular. Anyone willing to help should contact Stan Rose via stan@stanrosefamily.com

How to prove a fallen soldier is Jewish – an update

I took up the challenge of trying to prove that 10 Jewish soldiers who fell in WW1 were Jewish. For some reason, though they had not proved they were any other denomination, they put crosses on their graves.  My researches have been intensive for the last 4 weeks and ranged from one country to another from military records, censuses, BMDs researching Jewish Communities, and learning how too use my new computer! . I have written hundreds of letters worldwide. I learnt about records I had not realised existed and had the most wonderful help from JGSGB members and their families  throughout the world.  I have now almost completed the first three.

George Norris, I found was Joseph Nossek. After a great deal of genealogical research, I selected the information that as his brother Rueben married before he died and a Marriage Authorisation from the Beth Din, showed his name as a brother.  So I am working on that and trying to contact his relatives who I traced down to the present.

 

I have sent for the birth certificate for Isaac Coster who was buried in the St. Lazar Cemetery. This should prove he is the son of Benjamin and Sarah Coster who married in Sandys Row Synagogue and whose Marriage Authorisation I got from the London Beth Din.  I also have him in the Census living with his parents and a brother Hyman who was killed a few months before he did. Miraculously there is an Army Enrolment card for his brother on which is handwritten the word “Jewish”. 

With Hubert “Bert” Solomon I have built up a fantastic story ranging fromNew ZealandtoAustraliaand toEnglandwhere he is buried in theRainborooughCemetery.  I am now waiting for the Archivist in the Wellington Synagogue to return from his holiday for a marriage certificate for Hubert’s brother who is named as next of kin on one of his military records and to find out where his parents were married inWellington. I would be delighted if some kind person inWellingtoncould purchase the birth certificate of Hubert and his brother’s marriage certificate. I hope to write an article in greater detail as this has been a wonderful “learning curve”.  The most difficult thing for me, is the accurate keeping of records and sorting out as I get so exited that I scribble things down quickly.  I need a computer literate secretary!

Louise Goldschmidt – Guest Blogger

How to prove a fallen soldier is Jewish

The JGSGB receives many requests for assistance. Some are made directly to the Society and many more are made through JGSGB Discuss which is a members only discussion group.

The JGSGB was recently approached by the Archivist of the AJEX Museum. For those that don’t know, AJEX stands for Association of Jewish Ex Servicemen. He has had a continual struggle on behalf of AJEX trying to persuade the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to change war grave headstones with crosses, to Stars of David.

Recently he had a blow delivered regarding a number of soldiers, who it is known are Jewish from Jewish Chronicle insertions, but have been refused by the CWGC under the heading of “insufficient evidence” - even though many similar cases have been accepted by them in the past.

So if anyone out there I able to look into these cases to find more evidence such as parents’ marriage certificates, their army records at TNA if they survive, or even if they are related to them and can prove Jewish descent, etc., it would be very much appreciated. If you are able to help, please reply through the blog in the first instance.

1. 13052 Pte H. or Zeph Orman / aka Normand – 4th Middx. – kia 14/10/14 son of Simon Orman, Cross Keys Monmouthshire.

2. 7449 Pte Maxwell or I. Solomon 1st Scots Guards kia 14/9/14, from Upper Accomodation Rd, Leeds – JC 9/10/14 p.15 – former police officer in Bradford

3. 8068 Sgt W V Mackowsty, 2nd Staffs – kia 22/7/18 – JC 18/9/14 listed as Mackowsky, William Charles –  won DCM 1/1/17 – London Gazette 12/2/17

4. 352158 Pte S. Swedloff, 7th London – kia 24/2/17 – from Greenfield St Stepney – son of Abraham from Russia and in Norwood Jewish Orphanage as  Samuel Swedloff 1911 aged 13

5. 9389  Sgt W Mack, 2nd Seaforths kia 30/5/17 – JC 29/6/17 p. 14 – aka KURTZMAN – son of Barnett Morris and Esther nee Sender.

6.  2nd Lt Hubert ‘Bert’  P Solomon  RFC, kia 20/10/17 – family in Australia and mentioned in Australian/NZ Jewish Book of Honour p 88.

7. 38421 Pte Jack ‘Isaac’ Coster   2/8 Worc reg – kia 2/10/18 – JC18/10/18 p 2  has his death as son of Esther and the late Benjamin , 22, Eckstein Rd Clapham.

8. 359486 Pte Abraham Bernstein  2/10 Liverpool Reg – kia 10/5/17 son of Barnett Bernstein, 19 Clarence St, Mount Plessant, Liverpool, 8 – JC 25/5/17

9. 491966 Pte  Emmanuel  Isaacs, 2/13 London – kia 25/5/17 – JC 8/6/17 – buried Salonika -  son of E Isaacs, 91 Lordship Park, London N

10 .  20670  Cpl G Nossek aka Norris , 2nd Royal Scots – kia 23/7/16 – son of Israel and Leah – - JC 25/8/16 p. 2

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

 

A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Lithuania

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain has recently revised and reprinted its publication “A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Lithuania” and this is now available for purchase through the JGSGB website.  To order a copy of this up to date guide to researching family in Lithuania simply go to: http://www.jgsgb.org.uk/catalog/shop and add the Guide to your shopping basket.

The author of the Guide is Sam Aaron, a long-standing JGSGB member and a leading light in Lithuanian Jewish Genealogy.  Sam will be speaking about Lithuanian research at the JGSGB London conference on 30 October.

The Lithuanian Guide provides clear information about how records were organised and what levels of government the records were collected at and where they can now be found.  There are details of the way various first and last names worked in Lithuania, which is an invaluable piece of information when trying to reconcile the names that people used in different situations – in Hebrew, in official records, as nicknames and so on.

So if you have Lithuanian ancestors this is a must to have.

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

Benefits of JGSGB Membership – Part 4

In Part 3 of Benefits of Membership, I mentioned that one of these was Members Corner on our website. Under this, there are two items. The second of these isDetails of the various Special Interest Groups (SIG) Details of the Regional Groups (RG)”.  Meetings of these groups are free to members of JGSGB but a charge will be made to non members which will be offset against any future subscription to the Society.

Starting first with the SIG’s, there are four groups:

Anglo-Jewry SIG – If your interests lie in Anglo-Jewry this Special Interest Group is for you.  Our very enthusiastic members meet three or four times a year, under the chairmanship of Doreen Berger, to discuss their individual researches and to both receive and impart adviAnglo-Jewry SIG ce. The meetings are friendly and informal and it is usual for one of our members to give a short presentation on the progress of their own research.  You will be able to socialise with other members over tea and biscuits and the Library is opened at the end of the meeting.  Beginners are particularly welcome.

German SIG – Are you researching German-speaking ancestors? Would you like to start, but don’t know where to begin or have you reached a ‘brick wall’ or just want to share information? Novices, intermediate and experienced researchers are all welcome at the German Special Interest Group. Our coverage includes other German-speaking areas such as Austria, parts of Switzerland, Alsace, Lorraine, Bohemia and Moravia.
The Group meets quarterly, under the chairmanship of Jeanette Rosenberg, it has over 100 members with a core group of about 20 who attend meetings regularly.

Dutch & Sephardi SIG – Under the Chairmanship of Raymond Montanjes it was decided to combine the Dutch SIG with the Society’s dormant Sephardi group. As there is only a small Dutch Sephardi interest within the JGS – the majority of the Dutch researchers being Dutch Ashkenazim – the Sephardim were not being catered for at all. 3-4 meetings per annum are held. The ever welcome and very helpful ” ’round the table ” session, follow the talks. This is where we offer our researched names, dates and stories – plus any new research tools and general genealogical know how that is of use to all. Attendees provide their names, contact addresses, and general “wants”. A list is produced for each member. Cousins  – some sitting in the same room – have found each other.

Eastern European SIG -  Under the Chairmanship of Raymond Montanjes This has developed in a similar way to the Dutch & Sephardi group. The only difference is that it splits into 3 main groups. Polish, Lithuania/Estonian Litvak – where the South Africans are catered for  – and Romanian. There is always someone from the membership in attendance, to help out with other smaller Eastern European region researches, such as the Ukraine and other Baltic regions.

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

Benefits of JGSGB Membership – Part 3

In Part 2 of Benefits of Membership, one of the items was Members Corner. Under this there are two items. The first of these isDatabases & Browsable Lists”.

These pages are for the exclusive use of members of the Society and are updated on a continuous basis

They contain many searchable databases including

  • West London Synagogue Birth Register 1 (1842-1905)
  • Central Foundation Girls School
  • Congregation of Jacob Synagogue
  • Jews’ Hospital
  • Death & Stone Setting Announcements from the Jewish Chronicle 1993-2004
  • Rabbi Rabinowitz Memorial Publication Fund
  • US Seatholders Lists
  • Boer War – 1899-1902
  • Society of Hebrew Literature 

and browsable lists including

  • 1933 United Synagogue Seatholders List
  • Palace Gardens / Kensington Palace Gardens. Jewish inhabitants from the 1881/1891/1901/1911 Census
  • Fitzjohns Avenue (Hampstead). Jewish inhabitants from the 1881/1891/1901/1911 Census
  • Bevis Marks (St Katherine Cree & All Hallow on the Wall) Middlesex/London E. Jewish Inhabitants from the 1851/1871/1881/1891 Census
  • Black Lion Yard (Whitechapel) London E. Jewish Inhabitants from the 1901 and 1911 Census
  • Albert Square (Ratcliff) London E. Jewish Inhabitants from the 1901 and 1911 Census
  • Jewish Branch of the Children’s Country Holidays Fund (1921)
  • Tottenham Synagogue Marriage Registers
  • List of Early Jewish Clock and Watchmakers
  • Report of the Jewish Lads Brigade 1900-1901
  • The Jewish Regiment Committee Subscriptions
  • Jewish Board of Guardians’ Book of Remembrance
  • Jewish officers in the Navy, Army and Territorial Forces, 1912
  • Brothers Who Died in Service in the British and Commonwealth Forces in the Second World War
  • List of additions to Roll of Honour in the British Jewry Book of Honour
  • 1888 Liverpool Subscription list
  • Jewish Board of Guardians’ Book of Remembrance

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

Benefits of JGSGB Membership – Part 2

Continuing our look at the benefits of membership

  • Members Corner’ on our website (for Members only)
    • Databases & Browsable Lists  (a variety of Members only databases and searchable lists)
    • Details of the various Special Interest Groups (SIG) Details of the Regional Groups (RG)
  • Shemot Our award winning journal published 3/4 times a year. Shemot contains a variety of articles of interest to genealogists, book reviews, abstracts of overseas genealogical articles, practical research tips and useful addresses
  • Newsletter (published quarterly) giving news about the Society, forthcoming events, international genealogical affairs, computer activities, library notes, and members’ letters and queries
  • Members monthly meetings (where we have specialist speakers, demonstrations or members talking about their projects/research)
  • Access to our panel of experts 
  • Participation in our Online Discussion Group called jgsgb-discuss
  • Family History workshops
  • Training courses in genealogy, and using computers and the Internet for genealogical research
  • An annual all day seminar
  • Mentoring/Buddy system 
  • Genealogical Enquiries Officer

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

Benefits of JGSGB Membership – Part 1

Well. if we don’t tell you all about the benefits of being a member of the JGSGB, then who will? So, here we go:

Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings Anglo-Jewish, Sephardi § Dutch, German, Latvia Lithuania Poland/Galicia/Ukraine

Regional Group (RG) Meetings Chilterns Group, South East London, South West London, East of London and Essex, Leeds, Manchester, Midland Group

Use of the Library which contains:

Several hundred reference books:

Computers and a selection of genealogical CD-ROMs and other genealogical databases – IT helpers on hand to assist

Maps and leaflets

Microfilms and microfiches (including copies of many of the major Anglo-Jewish genealogy collections)

Research papers: Journals from other Genealogical Societies around the world

One of the largest collections of Yizkor (Memorial) books in the UK

Family trees – indexed by principal surnames

To be continued

What the JGSGB is all about

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB) promotes and encourages the study of Jewish genealogy. We assist all those tracing the family history of their Jewish ancestors. We encourage Jewish genealogical education and research and promote the indexing, transcription and preservation of old records.
We are a non profit making, non-denominational charity, and our members include both beginners and experienced genealogists.
The membership subscription allows the Society to purchase books and periodicals for its library, subscribe to Ancestry for research on the computers in the library, maintain the website and purchase IT equipment and other resources necessary to help in family history research. It also entitles its members to

  • attend members’ MEETINGS on a wide variety of family history topics, plus local “Regional Group” meetings and Special Interest Group Meetings (for example Eastern Europe, Anglo-Jewish, Sephardi etc.)
  • use the LIBRARY & RESOURCE CENTRE with more that 1,000 books and periodicals, computers, Data CDs and access to major genealogical online databases, family tree collections and a unique collection of Yizkor (community remembrance books)
  • SHEMOT – our journal published 3/4 times per year
    JGSGB NEWSLETTER
  • Priority places at our LONDON and MANCHESTER CONFERENCES and on our training courses
  • Members Corner with access to unique genealogical databases (available only to members
  • Participation in our online discussion group

Tony Benson – Blog Editor

Blogs – Comments – Discussions

For those of you who haven’t used blogs before, the use of “comments” is meant as a facility for the reader to leave a comment on the blog they are reading.

It is not meant to be used as a place to discuss the reader’s family searches or as a discussion between readers.

For JGSGB members the best place for help on your family history searches is through JGSGB Discuss. You can join this by writing to moderator@jgsgb.org.uk.

Full information on how to use JGSGB Discuss can be found on the Society’s website under Resources.

Tony Benson – Editor

 

 

A New Dawn

Welcome to this the first blog of the Jewish Genealogical Society of
Great Britain.

We hope that you will enjoy it’s content and that you will will contiue to read future
postings.

As the blog title suggests, it’s all about your Jewish Ancestors from the UK and
how to trace them.

Many people  living in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, USA as
well as many other parts of the World have Jewish Ancestors who originated in Great Britain.

The Society is in a unique position to point people, trying to trace Jewish Ancestors
from Great Britain, to the relevant records, many of which are available on the Society’s website.

Over the coming months we will highlight resources available and how to access them.

Tony Benson – Editor