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News and Information for Members

News and Information for Members is a Members-only page providing details of some recent and some upcoming activities and also useful postings from JGSGB Discuss and other discussion lists and blogs.  This is a temporary Page until the JGSGB Newsletter reappears.  

The content of this page will change on a regular basis - latest update 11 September 2014



JGSGB 21st Annual Conference

Registration for the 21st Annual JGSGB Conference on Sunday 26 October 2014 is now open.  This promises to be one of the best if not the best JGSGB National Conference ever, with Key Note Speaker Dr Sharman Kadish and other Guest Speakers: Pamela Weisberger of Gesher Galicia; Myko Clelland of Findmypast; Martin Sugarman of the Jewish Military Museum; Martin D Lee on the Singer John Braham and Anna Haward from the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.  The venue will be the London Jewish Museum.

The full conference programme and registration from can be downloaded from HERE.

Book early, as the conference will be advertised through the Jewish Museum, so expect places to go quickly.



UK Naturalisation Certificates 1870-1912 on! have digitised the naturalisation certificates for the UK and they can now be searched on-line.  Click on HERE to learn more.


JGSGB's website has been given the accolade by the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine of best UK website for Jewish genealogical research.  Here is a copy of the item.

copyright 2014 Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine 


JGSGB Members to get a 10% Discount on 34th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy - LIVE!


Over 60 of the best conference programs will be live-streamed over the Internet, enabling you to participate from your room at the hotel or from your home half a continent or half a world away.

Two channels of programs will be available throughout the days of the conference, providing you with a choice of programs.

Registrants for LIVE! will be able to replay any of the LIVE! programming for 90 days after the conference. 

The cost of LIVE! is just $149 or less than $3 per session. If you purchase it along with the conference, your cost for LIVE! is just $99 or less than $2 per session.

JGSGB Member Discount* for LIVE! of 10% when you register using the Discount Code: LIVE421

$134 for JGSGB members, equal to £80 or less than £1.30 a lecture or event.

*Only one discount per member or joint member

Audio Visual Recordings Available

As well as the Live! streaming there are audio recording of most of the talks from the conference, with many having the presentation slides synchronised with them.  Here is what Jay Sage of JGS of Greater Boston had to say about the recordings:

"We just received our flash drive with the recordings from the conference, and I wanted to report that they are a spectacular improvement over what was done in the past. If you have not ordered a copy, I highly recommend that you do so (click here


or follow the link from the conference website). The conference discount is still available through tomorrow, September 5.

A large fraction of the recordings include the slides, which appear on the screen synchronized with the audio. Since most talks rely on PowerPoint slides, hearing the audio alone is often close to worthless.

Watching and listening to these presentations is almost as good as attending the presentation at the conference.

Accessing the material has been made very easy. There is a file called start.html. One opens that file in one's web browser, and the page displayed lists all the talks as links. Click on the talk you're interested in, and it opens right in the web browser. Those with slides show the slides along with the talk; those with audio only play the audio.

-- Jay"

The recordings website is also available through


JGS of Greater Washington Journal 'Mishpacha' available to View

The JGSGB Library receives the Newsletters and Journals of other Jewish Genealogical Socieites from around the world.  Most are in hard copy but we are now receiving more in electronic only format.  One of the most recent electronic journals received by JGSGB is the JGS of Greater Washington's 'Mishpacha', which you can view by clicking HERE


Programmed Events

Library Openings

Sunday 31 August 2014 at 33 Seymour Place: Library Open for Research 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.;

Sunday 28 September 2014 at 33 Seymour Place Library Open for Research 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.

SIG Meetings

Sunday 7 September 2014 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. the German SIG meets in Edgware.  There will be a report of German-based activity at the Salt Lake City Interneational Conference.

Regional Meetings

Leeds Regional Group

The Leeds Group is still in existence and the Committee hopes to be meeting shortly to discuss possible events for the rest of the year. The Committee would very much welcome new members with enthusiasm and fresh ideas! Please contact Judith at if you would like to get involved.

Tuesday 9 September 2014 at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, Chilterns and Home Counties Group, 7.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. - Dr Maurice Gleeson "How DNA can help your family tree research";

Sunday 21 September 2014 at Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, Midlands Regional Group, 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. - talk by David Bishop on the Archives, Heritage and Photography area of the new Library of Birmingham;

Sunday 21 September 2014 at Balmoral Communtiy Centre, Westcliff-on-Sea, South East Essex Group 2.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. - a genealogical workshop;

Cemetery Visits

Nothing planned for the coming few months.

Other Events

Sunday 14 September 2014 at 33 Seymour Place, London W1H 5AU, European Day of Jewish History & Culture, 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. - One-to-one mentoring for visitors Seymour Place.


The next webinar is on 18 September - Jewish Genealogy around the Commonwealth

To join the 18 September webinar members need to register using the following link:

Recordings of previous education webinars, slides and handouts can now be found on the JGSGB website at:

Take a look at these to see what can be learned through our webinars as JGSGB Member Ilona Southerst wrote about the recent Breaking Down Brickwalls webinar:

"Just a few notes to say how much I enjoyed attending the webinar on Thursday.

It was my first foray into "things webinar" and I really was quite unsure about it all.  In the event, I found it to be very straightforward to dial in ( another new experience!) and then to follow the very clear instructions, for example to click on the raised hand symbol to signify that I could hear clearly- something I had felt unsure about.

The content of the webinar was excellent and, although I jotted down some notes, it is fantastic to have been sent the references/ website addresses by e-mail.  I am looking forward to visiting many of these
websites to further my research.

Please pass on my thanks to Jeanette and her colleague for a thoroughly enjoyable and informative webinar!

With best wishes,

Ilona Southerst"

Full details of each event are available in the JGSGB Current Programme.


Visits of Interest by Members

Day Trip to Kent

On 19th June, Elaine and I joined 25 Members of The Bricket Wood & District Jewish Social Circle for a day trip to two very interesting places that we would highly recommend to JGSGB members.  We had actually thought about trying to arrange a group visit ourselves to these venues but after considering that it is difficult enough to persuade people to join visits in London, we decided not to even try to get them on a coach to Kent! 

Our first port of call was All Saints Church, Tudeley, a pretty place set right in the countryside, just a typical little English Parish Church when you first see it from the outside but once inside, you see the difference immediately.   This church’s claim to fame is that every one of its twelve windows has been painted by Marc ChagallOnce the group had had a quick glance around, we sat in the pews and listened to a talk about the reasons behind the creation of the Chagall windows.  The East Window behind the altar was the first one to be created and this was in memory of Sarah d’Avigdor-Goldsmid, who had lived nearby, had seen and admired the Hadassah Memorial windows at an exhibition in Paris, but had sadly died in a boating accident.  Her parents, father Jewish and mother Christian, approached Chagall and commissioned the window in the local church in memory of Sarah.  He submitted several designs before the final one was selected and the church still holds copies of the various designs.  Once Chagall had seen the window installed in the church, he was so delighted with it that he decided to paint all the other windows too.  These he did voluntarily, without taking any commission.   Our expert explained all the details and symbolism in the paintings and when the talk had finished, we went around the church to look at each window closely to look for the many hidden symbols.  It was all absolutely fascinating.  The windows are illustrated on their website - - but I thoroughly recommend a visit there to see them in all their glory, with the light shining through them, as no photographs can ever show the true beauty of these masterpieces.

Following a brief walk around the churchyard, we were back on our minibus and heading for the Salomons Estate, formerly the home of David Salomons and his family in Southborough, Tunbridge Wells.  After a buffet lunch on the patio overlooking the lovely grounds and lake, our talk and tour began.  We were told some of the genealogy of the Salomons family.  The original house called “Broomhill” was bought in 1829 by Sir David Salomons but in 1850 he had it demolished and built a more substantial country house.  Sir David was Sheriff of the County of Kent in 1839 and in 1855 became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London.  He battled for the political rights of Jews and other minorities and spoke out in Parliament for many causes.  He was succeeded by his nephew Sir David Lionel Salomons, who was particularly interested in all things scientific and created workshops and even a large fully equipped theatre with a Welte Organ within the buildings.  Once again, we had an extremely knowledgeable guide to show us around the rooms and the museum, which contains a wealth of artefacts of Jewish interest.  The house is used today for other functions such as conferences and weddings, the latter not surprising as the setting is wonderful, with views across the Kent countryside from its elevated position.  Again, a visit is recommended.  The two venues are easily to do comfortably in one day.  For more information visit

Philip Solomons' Ten Commandments from his private prayer room and Window by Marc Chagall All Saints Church, Tudeley, Kent


Gina Marks 21 June 2014



Report of A Visit by Anita Benson to the Montefiore Synagogue and Mausoleum

In June, a day trip to Ramsgate was organized by a local NW London Synagogue led by a Blue Badge Guide for the group to visit the Montefiore Synagogue and Mausoleum. I jumped at this rare opportunity and booked straight away.

There was a lot to see and take in. I will try and give you a taste of how the day went. The Synagogue was opened for the group by special arrangement. A little bit of history behind this "Estate Synagogue" situated not too near the Main House but not too far away: It was built to commemorate the visit to Jerusalem by Sir Moses and Lady Judith Montefiore to express their gratitude for a safe journey. David Mocatta was hired as the architect - he was also a cousin to Sir Moses Montefiore. The Synagogue was dedicated in June 1833. It is a Grade 2 building in a late Regency style. Inside there was a chair solely for the use of Sir Moses. One interesting aspect - the synagogue has a chiming clock which is the only example seen in an English Synagogue.

The Mausoleum is a replica of Rachel's tomb near Bethlehem. Lady Montefiore was buried there in 1862 and her husband Sir Moses in 1885.

The site of East Cliff Lodge was the home of the Montefiores and used by royalty. Sir Moses purchased the house in 1830. In 1835 Princess Victoria and her mother visited Ramsgate, the grounds were opened for her and a golden key was presented to her to a private door to the estate. Sadly the house no longer exits. It was demolished in 1954 and the beautiful George VI Memorial Park was created in the grounds.

We visited the Montefiore Woodlands, site of the former Theological College or Yeshiva in Hebrew. The college was built in memory of Judith Lady Montefiore - the foundation stone was laid in 1865. Around the central block of the college were five residences for the scholars which included a Mikvah (ritual bath) Alas, it was demolished in 1961.

Of interest to those researching Kent Jewish Ancestors might be Augusta Road. This was on the western border of the Estate and was developed around 1845. Until the early 20th century when Jewish visitors increased, there was a need for boarding houses serving Kosher food. Augusta Road was one of the streets where several Jewish boarding houses existed.

We stopped for a picnic lunch and numerous cups of tea were enjoyed along the Royal Harbour. It was once a fashionable resort, our guide informed us and it is undergoing a revival amongst the Artist community.

Of some interest is The Custom House, which is now the Mayor's Parlour and you can see the Mayoral gold chain made of the Hebrew letter 'mem'.

After lunch, the coach took us to The Italianate Greenhouse which is on the Montefiore Trail. This is an early 19th century Grade 2 listed building, a formal Italian Garden with an ornate Italian Fountain. We viewed the Italianate Greenhouse from the outside. Enquiries would have to be made regarding entering the actual structure. There is the Stable Block where the Montefiore carriage was kept. I understand that the carriage can be seen in Jerusalem.

I hope I have whetted your appetite to visit Ramsgate and visit the Synagogue & Mausoleum and grounds of the former home of the Montefiores. There is a Ramsgate Montefiore Heritage trail which can be followed. Apparently the trail should take one and a half to two hours. It was mentioned by our Blue Badge guide that The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue Authorities might not allow group visits in the future because of health and safety concerns to the Synagogue and Mausoleum. This would be such a shame.

An organized trip would obviously be the best way to visit this historic site. However, the next best mode of transport is by car. The Synagogue and Mausoleum can easily be viewed from the outside.

For those wishing to travel by public transport (living in the London area) the quickest route would be by train from London St Pancras. I would suggest ringing National Rail Enquiries for other routes. I understand National Express also runs a service to Ramsgate from London Victoria.

Anita Benson


  (L to R)  Montefiore Synagogue Interior, Sir Moses Montefiore's Chair and the Montefiore Mausoleum


JGSGB Events
Anglo-Jewish Special Interest Group Meeting - 11 May 2014
Sunday 11th May 2014 was a very busy day in the Society calendar.  The Northern Conference took place in Manchester, there was a Library session and we held an Anglo-Jewish SIG meeting. Although our meeting had an understandably small attendance it was a very productive and most enjoyable meeting. The smaller group allowed us to not only cover the topic, but we had the opportunity to discuss other genealogical subjects which led to the discovery of mutual family connections amongst the attendees. The topic of the meeting was “Black Sheep, Criminals and Victims”. We discovered in our discussion that families tend to have a mix of “goodies” and “baddies”.  Sue Woolf spoke about some members of her family which included gamblers, conmen and a dodgy solicitor. Among her Joshua relatives was a man murdered by his mistress - according to one newspaper, he deserved his fate, whereas another paper was far more sympathetic and painted the mistress as a fantasist. Then there was her great grandmother who favoured her 9 sons over her 2 daughters with resulting repercussions.  I am sure we all have instances where a parent dies young leaving a large family with consequences ricocheting down the generations. Members of Sue’s Laitner family were murdered and according to Sue this was the first case in the UK where a conviction was achieved based on DNA evidence. We learned from those who have researched some of the Old Bailey trials that many thefts from Jewish businesses occurred on a Saturday when these shops were closed due to the Jewish Sabbath. The interesting story of Thomas Harris was discussed. During WWII Thomas orchestrated a network that passed on mis-information to the Germans, such that the Germans expected D-Day to occur on a different day. Joel Levy discussed interesting finds in newspapers from around the world. We heard about his Welsh family members beating up Policemen, a case of non-payment of maintenance to an illegitimate child, bankruptcy, larceny and various infringements by members of his family who were publicans. The local newspapers illustrated how these publicans were both victims and perpetrators of misdemeanours. We are sure that the topic of Black Sheep, Criminals and Victims must pertain to many families and if members would like us to repeat this at some stage when there are no clashes in the society diary, we would be happy to do so.
The next Anglo-Jewish SIG meeting will be held on Sunday 10th August 2.30 at 33 Seymour Place.  The focus will be on WW1 when Bryan Diamond will be giving an illustrated talk on Sidney Diamond’s WW1 story; a journey from Dalston to Australia and then onto Gallipoli. We encourage members to attend this important commemorative meeting and bring along their WW1 family stories and any memorabilia they wish to show.

Sue Woolf, Joel Levy, Diane Barnett (Anglo-SIG Convenors)

Members Social Meeting - Sunday 27th April at 33 Seymour Place, W1

                                  Stefan Dickers of the Bishopsgate Institute Library

On 27th April, we held a new type of event, a Members’ Social Meeting.   The Programme Committee, after so much effort organizing it, were really pleased to have a great turnout on the day of almost 80 people. We were not sure whether the attraction was our superb speaker, the lure of a few bottles of wine, or just the prospect of a good old get-together with like-minded people.  

The afternoon commenced with introductions and short welcomes by Raymond Montanjees, Doreen Berger and our Emeritus President Anthony Joseph, after which we heard a fantastic talk by Stefan Dickers, Library & Archives Manager of the Bishopsgate Institute Library.  

In his usual entertaining way, Stefan enthralled his audience with his enthusiastic and very humorous storytelling about the changing East End of London, with emphasis on the contents of the Bishopsgate Library collections relevant to this.  He told us they hold guide books dating back to the very first type issued, press cuttings, maps, photo collections, postcards, illustrations, the Sandys Row Synagogue archives, the Co-operative Movement collection, books on politics and cultural activists, the 700-box Raphael Samuel Collection, The Wensley Family Archive notebooks (a 19th- early 20th century police officer who made scrupulous notes about the arrests he made, with a large Jewish content – these have been transcribed by myself and a copy can be found in our own library), and Trade Directories from the earliest editions (I have also transcribed the Jewish names from those dated 1677 to 1800 and these too can be found in hard copy in our library), and many more interesting collections.

Stefan told us how he finds it impossible to refuse any relevant offers of books, documents etc. and travels far and wide (on his bicycle??)  to collect whatever is on offer and he somehow manages to find spaces for them in the Library.   The building itself has changed little since it was built in 1895 and the library still has that wonderful feel of an old archive.  Stefan’s talk so enthused members to visit, that Elaine Jacobs has arranged a group visit there on 12th June.  (check availability with Elaine at if you would like to join the group and have not yet registered to do so).

After Stefan’s talk ended, the attendees “mingled” and enjoyed the tea, coffee, wine and snacks provided and generally had a great time chatting to each other about their research and all sorts of other topics. Perhaps this successful afternoon has proven that our members do like a general get-together, when things can be a bit light-hearted and they have the time to relax and get to know each other a bit more.  

We gained a few new members on the day and we hope that next year we will see more new members attending the meeting.  It’s always nice to chat to old friends but we would like to see our new members joining in as well.

Gina Marks

May 2014


Chilterns and Home Counties Group - Tuesday 20 May at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue

The Chilterns and Home Counties Group meeting on Tuesday 20 May included a tutorial given by Jeanette Rosenberg on how to use Google more effectively to search for family information.  This was followed by a talk from Sharon Hintze, Director of the London Family History Centre, on the use of the FamilySearch website to find Jewish Records.  Sharon showed some very helpful ways of narrowing searches and finding Jewish records in church records.  Sharon explained that the records on the website were a tiny proportion of all the records held by the Mormons on film.  More films of Jewish interest would be coming to the London Family History Centre based at The National Archives in Kew.  Below are some photographs from the meeting.




Balls Pond Road Cemetery Visit August 2014

Raymond Montanjees and a number of JGSGB Members visited the cemetery on 24 August.  The following images show the very bad state that the Balls Pond Road Cemetery has fallen into.

Raymond has written to the West London Synagogue about the terrible state of the cemetery.  His report of the visit can be downloaded by clicking HERE.


JGSGB Discuss

Recent postings from JGSGB Discuss can be read by clicking on the following link: DISCUSS POSTINGS (revised 11 September 2014)



Following the recent problems with JewishGen's service things are now back on track!

The JewishGen Discussion List

A recent useful posting was about New York records:

"Subject: NYC Health Department birth certificate information
From: "A. Jordan" <>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:03:36 -0400 (EDT)
X-Message-Number: 6

To follow up on our recent discussion regarding New York City Birth Records, I got the following email from the New York City Department of Health in regards to the question of what was required to obtain a copy of a birth certificate from 1910 or newer:

"We do not follow that state law. NYC is a closed jurisdiction and we are not public records. For birth and death certificates you must show entitlement. There aren't an amount of years when our records become public yet."

So in response to the question asked before I would suggest the following resources:

NYC Public Library in the Genealogy room has a birth index but it is only the child's name, date of birth and certificate number.  It is sorted by borough, year and then the family name.

Check the newspaper for birth notices (The New York Times is fully digital and free at many libraries)

Check alternate records like military service, or even deaths to see if the person recorded a birth date.

Allan Jordan"

What this tells us is that it is hard to get access to records in countries outside the UK and it is often necessary to consider alternative sources to get to the facts about individuals.

JOWBR and Memorial Plaque Database Updates

Date: Fri, 16 May 2014

The next update to JewishGen's JOWBR

and Memorial Plaque databases will be done late June in time for the summer IAJGS Conference.

For submission instructions, please see

for JOWBR and

for the Memorial Plaque Project.

Update at 14 June:

This update adds approximately 124,000 new records and 25,000 new photos. The database is adding and/or updating 190 cemeteries.  This update brings JOWBR's holdings to 2.27 million records from almost 4,400 cemeteries /cemetery sections representing 85 countries!

Nolan Altman


Recent request for help with finding people in a photograph:

"Subject: Recognize them? Trying to identify and/or locate these people or descendants


Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 22:55:53 -0700

X-Message-Number: 1

This is my first contact with your SIG, This is a photo I believe to be around 1947, when I was the "bridesmaid" in the photo.  The couple, to the best of my knowledge, is a young (Polish? and) Jewish woman who was orphaned during WW II. 

My late mother would tell me that such orphans could sometimes be sponsored to come to England to work as domestics, probably after WW II.  Accordingly, her parents (my grandparents, Annie and Israel SACKS) sponsored her.  I believe her name was Rosie Pearl, although I don't know the correct spelling of that family name.  She married "Jack" who was a butcher at SCHLAGMAN's the Butcher's on Oldhill Street, near Stamford Hill in London, UK.  Not sure if he was actually part of the Schlagman family.   If they are still alive, they may be in their eighties.

As a child I was always curious about Jack having an indentation at the top of his forehead, as if a bullet might have once gotten lodged there.  That is a distinctive identifying mark!  I have tried unsuccessfully to see if the archives of the Jewish Chronicle might help, but not with the information I have provided here.

I would love to identify these people and/or find out what happened to them since my family immigrated to the USA in 1951.

I hope someone will be able to recognize them and provide information. I have posted the photo on Viewmate as

Please respond using the online ViewMate form.

Thanks in advance,

Madeleine (nee Goldstein) Isenberg

Beverly Hills, CA, USA"

If any JGSGB Members know the family please cantact Madeleine via the ViewMate form.


Posting messages does work -

Subject: Success in family search and my most sincere thanks
From: a.watson
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 19:31:57 +0200

Many thanks to Miriam Margolyes, Simon Srebrny & Sally Walters.  At the beginning of the week, after my post on JCR-UK, Myriam, Simon and Sally passed on information enabling me to find the descendant of Martin Fabian, Eric Elias. This was a puzzle that I hadn't managed to piece together for at least 6 months. Exchanging mails as from Thursday, he told me that all his life he had been convinced that he was the only surviving member of the Fabians of Neuwedell, Berlin, and Hamburg, so he was obviously quite surprised!  The most difficult thing for me now is to distill the information that I have about our family in order to make it comprehensible to him. We are hoping to meet up at some point, and with his permission I will post a photo of us at that time on your site.

With many thanks
Alexander Watson

There have been hundreds and thousands of successes from postings on JCR-UK, JGSGB-Discuss, JewishGen Discussion List and on JewishGen SIG Lists.  If anyone is ever stuck they should try posting a message on one or all of the lists available.



Blogs provide a lot of material for genealogists, ideas for new research, information about resources, discussion about technical and ethical issues.  Here are a few blogs that you might want to check out:

The humorous Black Sheep Blog -

Jewish Gem's -

Blood and Frogs -

Jewish Graveyard Rabbit -

On-line Journal of Genetics and Genealogy -

Your Genetic Genealogist -

DNA Explained -

The Legal Genealogist -

Genealogy's Star for technology -


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