Success Stories

Success stories, those heartwarming anecdotal references to breakthroughs in family history research, are often told once on the JewishGen or JRI-Poland mailing lists and soon forgotten. But, to individual researchers, they are often the turning point in their genealogical efforts and are carefully documented in their personal writings.

JRI-Poland takes pleasure in sharing some of these stories with both experienced researchers and the those who are just stumbling upon their family history. We hope they will be an inspiration for all.

The Board of JRI-Poland


Subj: [jri-pl] Another JRI-Poland Success Story
Date: 8/2/2003 10:42:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: "JRI-Poland"

Or, How we found our Weisberg relatives, the short version.
According to documents found in the USA, Barnett (Benjamin) WEISBERG and wife Sarah (Chaia Sora) had 13 children, 11 living to adulthood, the 3 youngest born in New York City. According to family lore, Benjamin came to the USA four times between 1880 and 1884 when he finally decided to stay. Their eldest child Bessie (our great-grandmother) came alone in 1884, followed by Sarah with 7 children, including a set of twins. The first child born in the USA was born in May 15, 1885. Also according to documents found in the USA, they came from Bialystok, (unclear whether this is province or city).

Not finding our Weisbergs in the direct or indirect Hamburg departure indexes or arrivals of indexed ports, we decided to try the NY arrivals.

There being no index to the pertinent years of NY ship arrivals, my sister and I searched every ship record arriving between June 1883 and April 1885 thinking that it would be easy to find a Weisberg traveling with 7 children that included a set of twins. No luck. I then searched JRI-Poland for Weisberg. There are many, but not ours.

Not finding our Weisbergs in the arrivals or in Poland, I decided to discard the "walked on water" theory for the "changed their name" theory, even though not one of the many Weisberg descendants had every heard that there had ever been another name, let alone what it might have been.

Having made my $100 donation to the Bialystok indexing project, requested the Excel spreadsheet for all births between 1864-1885. I knew the names of 8 of the 10 children born between these years and so sorted the file on the first name of the father hoping to find the right set of children (including a set of twins) born to a Benjamin.

What I found was a Shebsel Moishe born Nov 4 1871 to a Benjamin DOBRONIEWSKI. I knew that great uncle Sam Weisberg was Shebetai Moishe, so maybe this was him! Finding the record on the LDS film told us that Benjamin was a tailor and his wife was Chaia Sore. This matched what we already knew. This was the only birth in that file to Benjamin Dobroniewski in those years.

So, the next step was back to the Hamburg departure indexes where we found 2 of Benjamin DOBRONIEWSKI'S trips to the USA, our great grandmother Bessie's (Beile) departure, and Chaia Sore DOBRONIEWSKI with her 7 other children arriving in NYC on May 13, 1885 (and giving birth to Abe WEISBERG on May 15, 1885)


Proof that the Shebsel Moishe Dobroniewski birth in JRI-Poland was indeed our Sam Weisberg, giving us the original surname and subsequently dozens more relatives.

Bobby Furst & Joan Adler

Subject: Thank You JRI-Poland!
From: Beth Porter
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 17:20:31 +0100

Little did I guess that a shot-in-the-dark eMail to JRI-Poland volunteer Mark Halpern would have such amazing results for tracing descendents of the TARTACKI/TARATATSKY family from Bialystok. Although I'd managed to discover some pieces of the patchwork by speaking with relatives and searching the Net, there were many gaps.

My main work was done a couple of years ago and, being umbilicaly connected to the Internet for my work as a web consultant, I knew a bit about various research projects. At the time I was constructing an online family site, giving everyone an internet page detailing their relationships to each other, researching ports of departure, ships, etc. Since it covers over 500 people, it took quite a bit of time getting it all together. But, despite being comprehensive, there were still lots of question marks. Especially about the Tartacki branch.

In the intervening time I occasionally check back to see what else is out there. Which is how I discovered the remarkable JRI-Poland and the particularly wonderful Bialystok project. So when Mark was immediately able to put me in touch with Gary Mokotoff, I was thrilled, as you can imagine. Of course, I'd heard of him. Inventor of Soundex! What I never suspected was Gary, [that guru of genealogy] was actually part of my family tree. Or should I say, I was part of his. For his seminal work has provided that link to quintessential roots which we all seek, which we all need to feel complete. Surely the age-old questions Who am I? and Where do I come from? serve to locate us on the ever-unfurling map of humankind.

Gary couldn't have been more helpful when I contacted him directly at Mark's suggestion. And since I've been based in the UK for over 30 years, it's been a blessing that he's been able to send electronic versions of family documents which I can share with my relatives. In [tiny] return, I've been delighted to be able to fill in some of the gaps for Gary's database about my own branch of this extensive and globe-trotting family.

As I get older such links to family seem to carry greater weight and significance. I cannot express enough my gratitude for all your work. If I have one regret, it's that the small donation I've made couldn't have been so much more.

Thank you, Gary. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, thank you, thank you JRI-Poland for such a wonderful service.

Beth Porter

Subject: AGAD success story--Slobodka bei Strusov
From: Neiel and Joan Baronberg
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002 09:25:37 -0700

Due to the unstinting work of Mark Halpern to make the AGAD records available, I have found the ggm who had been missing to me all these years and who was the reason I became interested in genealogy. I am so excited I don't know where to start or how to thank. But here are 4 thoughts as beginnings:

1. My gratitude to Mark and to all his volunteers for the work they have done on the AGAD records. Mark was also very helpful in walking me thru a few self-made glitches. Many thanks too to Jack Hoadley who led the fundraising for the Kopychintsy records. I encourage everyone to send financial support to the AGAD project and to indexing work on specific communities.

2. Although my interest was in data from Suchostav (4908/2552), I learned early that the records of this little town would probably be found elsewhere. Many years ago I paid a Ukrainian researcher to search the Lviv/Lemberg Archives, and he did in fact find many records of my family--but none of my maternal ggm. When the AGAD project began, I had to find out in which neighboring town Suchostav records would probably have been held. Kopychintsy was the most likely place (perhaps there are still others), and I contributed to that record-indexing project. I urge all other genners to not give up on their little town but rather to support the indexing of records in nearby centers. As I go thru the sheets for Kopychintsy, I am seeing people from almost all the shtetlach within our research group, SRRG, and that covers 45 towns!

3. I urge you all to be persistent. Although the AGAD records for 19th century births, marriages, and deaths are extensive, there is only one listing for my ggm. That was for a single birth, of a daughter in 1886. Now I know for certain that there were at least 3 other children (one of which was my gm), but they are not listed. So do not give up, and go thru the records with that fine toothed comb.

4. If anyone has any information on "Mester" as a family name (yes, I have checked the JGFF and the JG discussion group archives) or its origin (related to Master and Mejster), or to the town of SLOBODKA bei STRUSOV (4931/2521), I would very much appreciate it.

Joan Baronberg, Denver, CO
Suchostav, Slobodka bei Strusov, Ukraine

Subject: Galician Birth Record Translation -- VM848
From: Rebecca Fenning
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 17:05:25 -0700

Hello all,

I have posted an 1889 birth record from Zbaraz that I received a couple of days ago from AGAD. It confirms that the newborn's mother, Rachel WILLNER nee KALISZ, is indeed my ggfather's sister -- very exciting news -- which has, of course, prompted a well-deserved donation to JRI-PL. Though I can
make out names, I would like some help with translating the document, just so I know I'm not leading myself astray. There are several words which reoccur on the birth records of Herman WILLNER's 3 siblings, and I am not sure how to translate them. So I'm posting Herman's -- because it contains all of those problematic things to translate -- in hopes that I'll be able to decipher everyone else's records once I understand his.

The direct link to my file is

Or you may go to and choose VM 848.

Thank you very much for your help, in advance,
Rebecca Fenning
Los Angeles, CA

Subject: [jri-pl] SUCCESS!!!!
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 14:01:53 -0400
From: "Linda Altman"
Organization: Southern Exotics
To: "JRI-Poland"

Thank you to JRI Poland! Your databases have made it possible for me to locate the descedants of my g.g. aunt and her husband. This is so wonderful because it means that the MODRYKAMIEN family was not completely exterminated in the Holocaust.

Not only have I been able to confirm the marriage record as one that pertains to my family, but I have also been able to locate living relatives in Buenos Aries from this family, and as such the tree still grows. I could not be having a better Pesach as I just recieved news of this today! I wish all of you happy Pesach! And again Thank you JRI-Poland - and JewishGen too!

Linda Altman, Raleigh, NC

Subject: RE: Anna Meyers: b 1896 Tarnopol -d 1980 Los Angeles
From: Ron Kaminker
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 12:20:15 -0800

Many thanks to all of the people who responded to my request. With great luck, I was able to hit paydirt within a day!!

1) I searched JRI Poland and found Anna the daughter of Abraham Joel Sobel and Chawy Kaminker born 1897
2) I searched the California birth index for mother's maiden names equal to Kaminker and found Anna Sobel 1897-1980.
3) On Jewishgen found a list of all cemeteries in LA. Called the cemetery and was given the name of her daughter
4) Looked her up in and found her phone #.
5) Called her up and VOILA 30 new people on the tree!

Ron Kaminker
Los Angeles, CA

Subject: JRI, add success story..
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 13:55:03 -0500
From: Sue Kahana

I just have to share this with all of you, I'm too excited not to!

Thanks to the database, I found out that my grandfather's name in Wegrow really was Winograd, and not Weintraub, which is what it became in the US. I found several siblings, one of whom died in childhood, one older brother, and one younger sister that I hadn't known about. I also found out his maternal grandfather's first name.

Family legend had part of the family, but no one knew how related, going to Argentina. I tried a white pages lookup on the first names that reoccur, and found two of the most common of the reoccuring names in Buenos Aires. A kind Argentinian who posts on JewishGen offered to make local phone calls, and it turns out that these people are grandchildren of my grandfather's oldest brother, and definitely closely related to me. One of them has made Aliya, and I've just sent him an email, and they're all tremendously excited that they now have a larger family. They had legends that part of the family had emigrated to the US, but weren't sure of the family name.

I was only able to identify them through the databases, it's a big reason for everyone to want to contribute.

This is really exciting!



p.s. If I hadn't been a town leader, I wouldn't yet have the database, and I wouldn't yet know all this great stuff. Having the excell sheets in front of me allowed me to play up and down the several lists, and I found my grandfather's parent's marrage record, his MOTHER'S parent's marrage record, several siblings of hers, plus, of course, the info that led me to find my cousins whose existence I'd sort of heard of, but couldn't trace till now.

Sue Kahana
Computer Authority, Ein-Kerem Branch,
Hebrew University, Jerusalem,

Subject: Success and Thanks - LEWKOWICZ & KLENOWSKI
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 21:57:50 -0000
From: Laurence Harris
To: Jri-PolandWebmaster

A success story....

In my family, I was aware of a marriage of Morris LEFKOWITZ and Yetta KLENOWSKI (the sister of my g.grandfather), in 1908, with some Lodz connections.

I was browsing the JewishGen daily postings and noticed that a Genner had posted a message about various LEWKOWICZ birth certificates (from Lodz) around the right sort of era. She had identified (I believe via JRI Poland) a batch of certificates and had them translated. Some did not belong to her family.

I followed up, on the off-chance of a match, and struck lucky. My Morris LEFKOWITZ was born Mozek LEWKOWICZ, and the names of the his three siblings also matched to three other certificates.

One added bonus is that the details on these certificates have enabled me to identify the location of the certificate of marriage of Mozek's parents (via the JRI-Poland on-line search engine).

A most sincere thanks to all those wonderful people who keep JewishGen & JRI Poland operational; and also to the kind Genner who helped my cousin and I to find out more about our family history.

To mark our appreciation, a donation has been sent to JewishGen.

Laurence Harris
Pinner, Middlesex, England
Researching Polish families: PINKUS, TRILLING, LEWKOWICZ,
Towns: Zloczew, Boleslawiec, Lodz, Ostrovah, Kalitz

Subject: Success! Trembowla birth records, AGAD Tarnopol Project
From: Helene Kenvin
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 11:57:23 -0500 (EST)

I made a donation to JRI-Poland, but didn't really think I would find anything about my family. Recently, Mark Halpern (AGAD Tarnopol Area Coordinator) told me the Trembowla records were on-line. Although the records are limited -- births from 1877 to 1891-- I found 6 definite hits and even more possible hits. WOW!

My great-grandmother, Ettel Weisman WIESENTHAL came from Semanov, a "dorf" (too small to be a shtetl: more like a collection of houses) outside of Trembowla. Although she lived most of her married life in Skala, her husband's home town, I knew her first children had been born in Semanov.

I entered WIESENTHAL in the search engine and up came a birth record for my grandfather's sister Chana. I was especially touched to find physical proof of her existence, as she had been murdered
in the Holocaust.

My grandfather, born in Skala, never met most of his mother's siblings from Semanov; but, using that extraordinary computer he carried around in his head, he had told me all of their names. When I entered the name WEISMAN, the search engine gave 25 results. Six are verifiably related to me: Ettel's daughter Chana; two children of Ettel's brother Shmelka and three of her sister Ester, whom I knew had been married to Meyer KELMANN. I also learned, after 24 years of researching, that the family name had been spelled WEISSMANN in the old country.

There were seven records for children of Rivka WEISSMANN and David GOLDFLIESS. Ettel had a sister Rivka, but grandpa hadn't known her husband's name. I think it likely this is "my" Rivka and
will order one record, hoping it will show the name of Rivka's father or something else that will confirm our relationship.

Grandpa said his mother had an uncle in Semanov named Yehudah; so perhaps Juda Weissmann and his wife Perel Bart are my relatives too. I felt sorry for Perel (all three of whose children were still-born), more so when I saw that in Juda's next entry, his wife was Beila Kopel. Had Perel died in childbirth, or been divorced because of her inability to bear a live child.

The other entries were for women surnamed Weissman prior to their marriages. Reisa Kaila Weissmann probably is grandpa's "Aunt Keylah." Hinda, Alta, and Marjem likely were Ettel's cousins. In all, this was quite a find. Thank you, JRI-Poland!

Helene Kenvin

Researching: WIESENTHAL (Skala, Galicia); WEISSMANN (Semanov-Trembowla, Galicia); SCHWARTZ, WEISS, BALAJTY (Miskolc, Hungary); WAXMAN, EINBINDER, COHEN (Kalarash, Moldova); COHEN (Gnesen, Prussia; 19th century NYC and Richmond, VA); JACOBS (19th century NYC and Richmond, VA); ROTHOLZ (Hamburg; 19th century NYC and Kansas City, KS).

Subj: [jri-pl] Looks like a success
Date: 12/4/2000 10:52:38 AM EST
From: (Terry Ostrach)
To: JRI-Poland

Well, it's early to tell, but it looks like I've got a success on the JRI-Polish database Index. My M-I-L's grandfather was Itzi or Itzhak Elfenbain, born in the Warsaw area probably in the late 1850s, and probably married in the late 1870s. I found this record in the file.

EL'FENBEJN Icjek, married 1877, Zakroczym PSA 1858-1898
Gubernia: Warszawa / Province: Warszawa

I'm sending for the record. Will keep you posted. Don't worry, I sent a very generous donation to Jewish Gen a few months ago and I will send one specific to JRI as well.

Terry Ostrach

From: Meryl Goldberg []
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2000 12:53 PM
To: Hadassah Lipsius
Subject: Gerkowicz

Dear Hadassah,

During the past year we have had correspondence about my mgf's brother Kalman Gerkowicz. I had just found out that he never left Warsaw when the rest of the family did. You were kind enough to go to the New York Library and get copies of Death Notices for me. That turned out to be a dead end, no pun intended. I found a web site for the Holocaust Survivors Memorial in Washington and sent them an e-mail to see if they had anyone registered by the name of Gerkowicz. To make a long story short they had me fill out a form and they said they would send it along to someone by that name. Two weeks ago he called. He is Kalman's son. He is 86 years old and lives in Brooklyn. I am just so overwhelmed. I really am in a state of shock over this. I never really thought I would find anyone. He and his wife survived the war and ended up in New York in the 1950's.

I've written him with lots of info on our family and sent him pictures. I'm now waiting to hear back from him.

Thank you so much for all your help in the past year. If it hadn't been for you and JRI-Poland and JewishGen, I might have given up. I've found other Gerrick (our name change from Gerkowicz) relatives this past year through JewishGen and my family has really grown.


Meryl Goldberg

Subject: [jri-pl] Czestochowa finds and thank you Michael Chen
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 10:51:48 -0500
From: Hadassah Lipsius
To: JRI-Poland

When we helped set up the various fields in the Czestochowa data we added fields for towns of event and town of origin. Since Michael Chen had already documented the information, I wanted to make sure that valuable information was available to all researchers. Little did I know that it would help me too. I never knew that I had family in Czestochowa. As I sorted through the data doing my normal Quality Control checks I came upon two matches for my own family research.

The first match was a Wolf ZYLBER who married in 1874. Now, ZYLBER could be a common name and I never would have taken the time to investigate the record in the microfilm but then I looked across and noticed that the town of origin was Tomaszow! Well my ZYLBERs come from Tomaszow Mazowiecki and I knew of a Wolf who was born in 1845. Sounds about right!

The second match was the marriage of Jakob ROSENSZTADT to Faygla GRADON in 1882. Jakob is listed as being from Warszawa and that is where my ROSENSZTADT family comes from.

You never know where you will find hits so just keep searching.

Hadassah Lipsius
Shtetl CO-OP Coordinator

Subject: Cyrillic-Latin letter transliteration
From: Kirsten Gradel
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 00 17:13:09 +0200

Being cocky enough to think that other Genners might be as "stupid" as I have been, I recount my past mistake:

Wanting to find the birthplace of our paternal gfather I have for the last year been searching the JRI-database for the PRASZNISZER name, with all (what I thought) possible spelling variations - and believe me, there are many for that name. I found three towns, and none of those could be the birthtown. Only because I recently got a lead directing me towards the Kolo and Konin area in Kalisz Gub. was it feasible to look at specific surname lists. In Kolo I found PRASZPISZER, from 1870!! Apart from the p it was such a close fit and in the rigth area that my "small grey cells" finally got moving; I then posted this question yesterday:

> the small cyrillic handwritten p and n could easily
> be mistaken for each other? If I am right this is very likely a
> PRASZNISZER, also because Beider has no PRASZPISZER name in his book.

and got two answers that fully confirmed my suspicion. My point is this: without seeing that name in the list I would never have thought of searching for PRASZPISZER. I am so used to Latin lettering where a p and n could not be mistaken for each other.  There must be other pitfalls with Cyrillic letters, what about k and n, or n and i? I learned my lesson now, hope someone can benefit from it.

And a big thanks to JRI for posting these surname lists - they are really helpful.

Kirsten Gradel

Subject: [jri-pl] Tomaszow Mazowiecki PSA data
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 22:46:19 -0400
From: Hadassah Lipsius
To: "JRI-Poland"

Yesterday, I sent a post about the status of the Tomaszow Mazowiecki PSA data. I figured I would share an interesting story on information that I found from this data. The data entry was completed just before I was  about to leave to Poland. Since I have some connections with the JRI-Poland team, I was given an advance copy of the data and I noted which records I wanted to look at for my upcoming personal visit to the Piotrkow archives. (kind of sneaky huh?)

One of the records that I checked was a birth record for a distant cousin, Devora Malka SYLBER. On the side margin of the record, written vertically, was an additional note that stated with a document number from Lodz, that in 1949, Devora Malka GOLDEN (her married surname) changed her name to Zofia PAWLOWSKA. I wasn't really sure how to take this piece of information. It seemed that after surviving the war, she wanted to rid herself of her Jewishness and pass into the Christian world. After what she probably went through, I did not feel comfortable making any judgements.

So Saturday night, I was reviewing the latest Warsaw Cemetery submittal and doing my normal quality control. I was making a slight change to one of the date formats and I glanced over at the names and there it was, Zofia PAWLOWSKA ! The birth year wasn't exactly right but as we all get older it gets easier to lie about such things :-). Could it really be the same person? I would never have looked in Warsaw for her. So, if it is the same person then she really didn't loose her Jewish faith as she chose to
be buried in a Jewish cemetery. I am sure the name may be common but how many other Zofia PAWLOWSKA's are also Jewish?

Hadassah Lipsius
Kew Gardens Hills, NY

PS. I would probably not have gotten any of this information if I didn't volunteer for JRI-Poland. See the advantages of being a volunteer is that you get the inside scoop!

Subject: Bouquet
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 00:06:02 -0400
From: "Michael M. Miller"
To: Jri-PolandWebmaster

The new data now available at JRI Poland is absolutely unbelievable!
I had not accesssed the site in a while and was quite surprised and impressed at the increase of the database. In a few minute search I was able to find several family ancestors and some of their spouses and siblings. In fact, another generation of great grandparents were added to my family tree.

I was also able to assist another family genealogist in Allentown, PA who was at a standstill in their research. Previously, they were unable to trace the arrival of their grandmother to America using her birth surname. Now I discovered the surname of her previous marriage in Bialystok. Because of this, they will now be able to trace her history and records after her arrival in America.

After much searching, I was able to find the 'Jewish Vital Records Order Form'. Once it has been found, it works well and is a great help formatting one's request. Perhaps an easier and clearer method to access this document would be in order.

Congratulations to JRI-POLAND on it's superb achievements.

Michael M. Miller

Subject: [jri-pl] A success story
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 09:00:57 -0600
From: Harriet Brown
Reply-To: "JRI-Poland"
To: "JRI-Poland"

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to write in with my own personal success story. For a couple of years I've been researching my INWENTARZ line (once I figured out that was the original version of EVANTASH, that is). Family lore placed them in or near Ciechanow, Poland. I've had a lot of success looking up the surname on JRI-Poland, have sent away for records from the Polish Archives, have found relatives.

But yesterday I found something more meaningful to me than what I have found before: the marriage record for my great-great-grandparents, including the names of the next generation back.

I found this thanks to JRI-Poland's indexing project. The record is one of those filmed by the Mormons, and exists with other Jewish records for the town of Sochocin (a name that had never come up in the family lore, BTW). The writing is very hard to read in the original index, which explains why it turned up online as a record for JSWEN???? rather than INWENTARZ. Because of the confusion, it took me a couple of months to get down to my local Family History Center and look--but once I did there was no mistaking it. I carefully copied the record and went to pay the nice volunteer at the desk, who asked if I'd found what I was looking for. "I think so," I said, "but I have to get it translated." When I told her it was in Polish, she dragged me over to another researcher, who was born in Poland, and who was nice enough to translate it for me on the spot.

So, thanks to JRI-Poland (and to the Mormons!), I can trace my family back to about 1820, when my great-great-great-grandparents, Joska and Hava Ryfka INWENTARZ, and Yitzhak and Nicha FROST, were born.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Harriet Brown
Madison, WI

Subject: [jri-pl] LODZ PSA PROJECT
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 11:56:45 EST
From: Howard L. Rosen
To: "JRI-Poland"

I made a contribution for the Lodz PSA Project when it was first announced.

As soon as I was advised that the Marriage records, 1878 to 1898, were on line, I quick went to JewishGen to check it out.


First I found the marriage record of my Rudek grandparents in 1886. I have a large picture of their Golden Wedding Anniversary party hanging in my living  room. I'm the tall skinny kid in the back row, just Bar Mitzvah.

Then I found the listing of my grandmother's sister's marriage in 1895. There are also three additional listings that may tie into my family. I can't wait for the Birth and Death records.

I'm mailing another donation to Sheila Salo today. I would suggest that other JewishGeners support this project.

Howard L. Rosen
Subj: [jri-pl] JewishGen/JRI-Poland Database - what would we do without them!!
Date: 1/27/2000 4:34:26 PM EST
From: Rica B Goldberg
Reply-to: (JRI-Poland)
To: (JRI-Poland)

A big big thanks to all those people who help us and in my instance especially to Jewish Records Indexing - Poland database which provided some strong clues as to the area my great-grandparents may have come from. All I knew about them was that they are on the British 1881 census as coming from Poland but of course, no mention of the village (or area) which the (JRI-Poland) database can indicate according to the soundex system.

Rica B Goldberg
Manchester, England
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 8:15:50 PM (EDT)
Subject: Neugewuerz from Krakow - mazal tov!
To: Gesher Galicia SIG

With this I want to thank those who wrote me after my request for help yesterday. A special THANK YOU to Marjorie Rosenfeld.

And even more I want to thank JewishGen for being there to help us.

Thanks to the possibility of using the Jewish Records Indexing - Poland and the JewishGen Family Finder, it was possible to reunite this young man and his father with his Jewish relatives within TWELVE HOURS!

A small miracle happened here!

Eva Floersheim
Shadmot Dvorah
Subject: The PIJERZHNJANKA family from Zakroczym, Poland
From: Ada Holtzman (
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 99 20:24:50 PDT
X-Message-Number: 26

Dear Jewishgenners,

"My parents lost their large families in the Holocaust". This was the theme at home, typical to many of my generation in Israel, USA and everywhere. But when I was young, I was not interested and never asked who were these family members, whose names are no longer known by anyone..

Now my parents are dead. Nobody can answer my questions. In the past two years, I slowly constructed my late father's family tree, (ZLOTNIK/HOLCMAN) with his help, a painful journey which ended with his death last year.

Now I still found no traces of my mother's large family, originally from Gombin (Gabin) near Plock, and then spread to surrounding small towns. One family specially haunted me. I found some old pictures from my mother's family with the town name "ZAKROCZYM" on the back.

I sent one of the picture, with my mother Rywcia (Ryfka) nee Gostynska and a beautiful little girl, to an Holocaust survivor. He told me my grandfather Jakob Gostynski had another sister who married in Zakroczym. The child is my mother's niece. I posted the picture to my "searching" web page:
All the family perished in the Holocaust. What is the name? - He didn't remember.

I then contacted an old man from Zakroczym who told me it was the baker's family and the phonetic spelling was similar to "Pierznjanka". One female cousin with my uncle Pinchas is remembered by him! - She was the daughter of the baker. It is the photo that closes the "searching" page:

I checked the "Yizkor" book for Zakroczym, written by J. Zilberberg:
"Zakroczym Sheli" - published by the author in 1985 in Israel. It includes a necrology list compiled by the author.  There it was again, the name of the family Piezrnjanka", spelled in Hebrew. But, J. Zilberberg is deceased, nobody to ask...

Then I received requests from Steve Rosenberg (Of Yehuda, Israel) the Zakroczym Town Leader for the JRI - Poland / Polish State Archives Indexing project , to help fund the indexing of the records from this town in the Nowy Dwor Maz. branch of the Polish Archives. I donated a modest contribution. (see more at: /psa/status.htm )

As a contributor to the Zakroczym project, I received the whole database, before it was posted to the JRI-Poland database. I found a very large family "PIJERZHNJANKA", which concludes (or is it just a new beginning?...) a research of years... I now know the official spelling of the name.

I want to thank Steve Rosenberg for his tireless efforts and all the JRI-Poland team. I know the aim is to aid research of 19th century research of Jews in Poland, but the database leads to the 20th century and the catastrophe that broke the chain of generations. It is another aspect of the project which I wanted to highlight, with my small personal example. My hope is to find descendants of survivors of the "PIJERZHNJANKA" family from Zakroczym. Any piece of information will be highly appreciated.

Shalom, Gmar Khatima Tova,

Ada Holtzman
Web site:
Subj: [jri-pl] A success story
Date: 8/26/98 10:21:26 AM EST
From: (Rosenbaum, Edward)
To: JRI-Poland

Every so often I check the JRI database for family names. In my last search, I was looking for the name BUDNE and found the 1883 marriage licence for my wifes great grand mother Haja to Joszk Offman. In the same search I found the Joszk's birth certicate and the birth certicate for his daughter (my wife's grandmother). Even more important was that I found the town name... Ostrow Mazowiecka! I began looking around in the info available for this town and discovered that Stanley Diamond was researching the same surname.

As quick as I could type I sent Stanley an email, asking if my names sounded familiar. Stanley quickly responded that he was researching the OFFMAN family, but that his cousin Judie Ostroff-Goldstein knew more about the family than he did. I emailed Judie and withing a few hours of emailing and telephoning, I had a GEDCOM file on my PC with about 700 relatives I never knew about. Not only did I find whole branches of the OFFMAN family, but I was introduced to two wonderful people (Judie and Stanley), without whom this discovery would not have been possible.

Edward Rosenbaum
Bergenfield, NJ

Subj: [jri-pl] "Kol Israel Chaverim"...
Date: 99-01-01 11:47:15 EST
From: Ada Holtzman (
To: JRI-Poland


I was approached by Bella Kleiman whom I didn't know before, who has no internet link, asking me to help her searching her roots from Poland. Known facts were: grandfather: Mendel KILBERT born 1852 had 13 children from 2 wives. The first one Chaja KILBERT born 1860 nee BAUM from Lowicz, second wife Sura Rojza nee FRYDE from Zychlin Poland. She was born in 1869 and is the grandmother of Bela Kleiman.

One of the 13 children was Simcha Bunim born 1907 in Zychlin, Bella's father of blessed memory. Except him and another sibling, all the 11 others, with their families were murdered in the Holocaust.

There is an ocean of information in JewishGen web site. How can I start?

I check The JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) no searches for KILBERT.

I check the JewishGen Discussion Group Archives the "KILBERT" yields no result...

I check the JewishGen Holocaust Global Registry no former inquiries about KILBERT.

I also search KILBERT in the Family Tree of the Jewish People - nand get the standard already familiar reply, "There are no records for individuals with the surname KILBERT in the database".

What else can I do for her? I already plan to send the above inquiry to JewishGen Email Exchange Forum, while I go to Jewish Records Indexing - Poland.

Than... big surprise!!! Out of the purpled screen coming out names and names, the K I L B E R T shine to me... I get the shiver, although is not really my family... Many of her father's brothers and sisters are
recorded, in database of Birth records years 1903-1913 - not even the 19th century. Than AKT 31: Simcha-Bejamin, Bela's own father! There is no shtetl CO-OP for this town, but a lot of data was posted, incredibly detailed, including maiden names of mothers.

I call up Bella, and give her all this information. In one minute, the woman is in tears...

Deepest thanks to JRI and JewishGen from Bella Kleinman Israel, Thanks to the Zychlin anonymous contributors of the information and all the other good souls who make these most valuable sources available and accessible to all.

I connected Bella with Dr. Leon Kilbert, only survivor of a branch from Plock. Grandfather, Jakob was most probably another brother of her father, from the first wife. Bella phoned him up from Israel and he answers her in Hebrew: "Kol Israel Chaverim"...

Ada Holtzman

Subject: JRI-Poland Success Story! (as Posted on JewishGen)
From: Joel Levinson <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 20:56:17 -0500

About a month ago, I posted on JewishGen asking for some help in finding naturalization documents for pre-1906 in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Several people emailed me, and gave me the info on the county court and getting documents from there. Using that info, I was able to get a copy of my great-grandfather's declaration of intention from 1895.

It was the typical pre-1906 document, with very little information. However, handwritten on the back, probably by the clerk of the court, was the following: "Mariampole - state of Suwalk -Russia-Poland".

Well, this was the first I had heard of that town, so I went off to the JRI-Poland to to check. What I found blew me away - I not only found my great-grandparents record of marriage (1871) and their oldest son's record of birth (1873) - as a result of father's names in the database, I was able to find my great-grandfather's brothers and sisters, and their marriages, and in some cases their very young deaths - and births , in some cases.  I also found my great-great grandfather's marriage listed, in 1836.

I can't tell you how exciting a find this was. All the information was listed in the database under Mariampol, Suwalki gubernya, which was a verification of the information on the back of the naturalization document.

By the way, if you are wondering how I know if this is accurate for my family - I had from her death certificate my ggm's full and maiden name - Rebecca Kayla Keilson, in english. The name in the database was "Rwya Kelja Kiejlzon", with marriage to Owsej Lewinson (In America, he was called Harry Levinson). His father, according to his tombstone, was Michel, and the same is true in the database. This is what gave me access to all the info about Michel's children, as well as Michel's father Fyszel Lewinson. Harry's son Phillip (b. 1882 - I haven't found him yet) always said that was his name in europe, and went by that most of his life here.

Of course, my next step is to get the actual records - I've emailed the person who is listed as being involved with the Mariampol records.

Joel Levinson


LEVINSON - Mariampol (Cleveland, Wilkes-Barre)
HURWITZ - Danilovichi (Dayton)
KOTTLER - Danilovichi (Dayton)
KISBER - Tennessee

See my web site for a full list of names and my research - along with pictures:
Subject: [jri-pl] Krakow address question, Polish language question and success story
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 20:44:13 +0100
From: "Erik Hirschfeld" <>
Reply-To: "JRI-Poland"
To:  "JRI-Poland"

Thanks to marvellous JRI I have come back one generation further in my research. Some time ago
my gr gr grandfather, Josef Leib HIRSCHFELDs name appeared when I searched Krakow records. Having difficulties obtaining films here in Sweden (no easily accessible facility in Malmo and
shortage of time in general) I asked if somebody out there planned to view the films concerned and
if they could look up this record on my behalf. A wonderful lady in Florida replied and not just
looked up the record, but also copied it and records of some other of my Krakow names. A Polish
friend translated it and not only did I find the names of Josef Leibs unknown parents (adding a new
family name, KORNGOLD to my research) and their ages, but also of his sister Hendel! This was
very encouraging as family legend had it that there were no related Hirschfelds alive after the
holocaust, I now at least have some hope of finding a distant relative on this side of the family!

Thanks JRI and you volunteers!!

Erik Hirschfeld, Malmo, Sweden

Subject: [jri-pl] JRI-Poland Case Study - What a weekend!
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 19:01:00 +0100
From: Michael Tobias <>
Reply-To:  "JRI-Poland" <>
To:  "JRI-Poland"

A JRI-Poland Case Study (or 'What a weekend that was!')

I thought I must write about the incredible success some researchers have just had by using the Jewish Records Indexing - Poland (JRI-Poland) web search system on JewishGen.

Our story starts on 14 August 1998...

Stan GOODMAN from Israel had been unsuccessful in searching for his ancestors in our database. He emailed us wondering if we could offer any guidance or assistance. Stan had very little detail to go on. He knew the family came from Lomza gubernia, but no TOWN had ever been mentioned by his grandparents. All he knew was:

"My grandfather was Elijah/Elias/Eli Najmark (Polish phonetic spelling);
His father was Jehuda Najmark.
My grandmother was Sheina Nowicki."

Stan Diamond responded, noting the large number of NAJMARK entries in the JRI-Poland database but also observing that there are many towns and years yet to be indexed for the region. Although, at first glance, it appeared that Stan Goodman's family records had not yet found their way in to our databases, Stan Diamond forwarded me copies of the email correspondence and asked if I could have another look. I have been experimenting with a more flexible search engine and this seemed like a good opportunity to put it through its paces.

I started by checking our existing system. Sure, we had quite a few NEJMARK matches in Lomza Gubernia towns, but nothing for an Eliasz, and certainly no marriage to a NOWICKI family. In fact, that rang a warning bell for me... the NOWICKI surname was very rare in our data and so I was more than a little suspicious. The percentage of records for the Lomza Gubernia in the JRI-Poland database is the
GREATEST of any area in Poland (most of the JRI-Poland Board are Lomza area researchers and this group were the founders of the project). Should we have found an Eliasz NEJMARK or a namesake?

I then wondered whether perhaps the name was not quite 100% accurate. Eliasz NEJMARK had emigrated to the USA and had immediately changed his name to GOODMAN. Perhaps the original name had not been NEJMARK but something similar?

I therefore used my test system to search for all records containing the text NEJM along with Elias.

And here are the results:

Database LOMZABIR (Lomza Russian Period Births)
Gubernia: Lomza / Province: Bialystok

Surname Givenname Year Type Akt Fathername Town
NEJMAN Eliasz 1877 B 101 Herszk Lejzor Dawidowicz Wonsosz

Database WASOJOLA (Wonsosz)
Gubernia: Lomza / Province: Bialystok

Surname Givenname Year Type Akt Father
NEJMAN Eliasz 1872 B 8 Lejba

These were the only 2 records in the Lomza Gubernia area that matched. They looked like related families. In the 1870s we had two NEJMAN families having sons and calling them Eliasz. In both cases the town of Wonsosz (Wasosz) was mentioned.

And then it struck me. Eliasz NEJMAN, born in Wasosz in 1872 had a father called Lejba! Yiddish Lejba == Hebrew Yehuda! Could the NEJMARK family really be the NEJMAN family?

By chance I knew of another Wasosz researcher, and immediately learned of a later marriage in the town between an Eliasz NEJMAN, son of Lejb and a Szejna NEACHOWICZ, daughter of Ick.


Stan GOODMAN was naturally getting excited by this stage. He managed to locate his father's brother's birth certificate. It gave the mother's name as Szejna NEACHOWICZ!

Now it was my turn to get excited. I knew the NEACHOWICZ family!  I had helped Irwin NACK a few years back trace his Lomza NEACHOWICZ family back to a 6-greats grandfather born in the mid 1700s....

The names fitted. Irwin and Stan are 3rd cousins, once removed. They share an ancestor Judka NEACHOWICZ, born in Sniadowo, registered in Lomza in 1826.

But that was not the end of the story...

There was something very familiar about Szejna NEACHOWICZ' parents. I remembered Szejna's mother re-marrying into another researcher's family tree. I had to check back on my email correspondence with Irwin NACK and Reeva KIMBLE..

I still cannot quite believe it, but there it was in black and white. Reeva was researching the NAIMAN family from Wasosz! She had managed to link a few years ago to a 3rd cousin Vivian ROSENTHAL
also descended from this line. The names all fitted.

Stan is also a 3rd cousin to Reeva and Vivian! They share a g-g-grandfather Dawid-Aron NAIMAN born in 1819.

>From Reeva and Vivian's family trees more details came to light - that
>confirmed suspicions from other records:

It appears that Stan Goodman's grandparents were step-brother and step-sister when they married! Eliasz NEJMAN's mother died, as did Szejna NEACHOWICZ' father, and Eliasz' father remarried Szejna's mother! 4 years later Eliasz married Szejna..

And so, by 17th August the NACK / NEACHOWICZ / NEJMAN / NAIMAN / GOODMAN families had all been in touch with one another and family ties had been restored.

But there was still more...

To round things off, quite by chance, Steven LEVINE contacted the JRI-Poland Transliteration Co-ordinator, Hadassah Lipsius over the weekend to offer some of his Wasosz data! Steven's BURZYNSKI family were from Wasosz. There are no KNOWN connections to the NEJMAN / NAIMAN families, but as Wasosz only had a Jewish population of 300+ early this century...

If only we could all make such progress in 3 days!

So, what can we learn from this?

  1. The JRI-Poland databases can be a very powerful tool to point researchers in the right direction to research.
  2. Using the new, more flexible, search system (coming soon!) it will be possible to cast your net wider than previously.
  3. Beware spellings! Do not necessarily believe the family surname in the 'old country' as passed down in your family.
  4. Most given names you know will be anglicised or Hebrew names. The vital records tend to use Yiddish names - be aware of the possible equivalents. If you are not familiar with the Yiddish diminutives of Hebrew names, refer to Rabbi Shmuel Gorr's "Jewish Personal Names"
    or other references.
    e.g. Yisrael would appear as Srul
    Jehuda often appears as Leib
    Tsvi appears as Hersz
    Zev appears as Wolf

And finally... remember that this little success story happened because someone, somewhere, decided to index some of the Jewish vital records of Wonsosz for the JRI-Poland project. Because of it four Jewish genealogists found mishpoge... each other!

We all have it within our grasp to make the same type of little miracles for ourselves and others. The faster we build the JRI-Poland database, the more this type of success story will be repeated.

Michael Tobias
Database Manager
Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

Subj: Success stories
Date: 98-07-07 01:18:20 EDT

Here are two specific "finds" as a result of the 41 records I received from the Polish State Archvies from the Nur 1860-76 index. And I've really only read a couple of them closely.

In the 1863 death record of my great-great-grand aunt, Malka GORFINKEL, I discovered she had been divorced. I know she had a child (listed in the birth record as being born out of wedlock) in 1852 who died in 1855. I had already wondered about the circumstances of this poor woman's life. But the reference to divorce (and the name of the husband from whom she was divorced) in her death record give me further avenues to explore to shed some light on what must have been in many ways a hidden life in the middle of the 19th century.

Also as a result of these records I was able to place in the large KONOPIATY family chart I had assembled a woman with whom I had been corresponding for nearly a year. Neither of us could figure out where she, her father, or her grandfather fit in the family. But the 1874 birth record of her grandfather Srul KONOPIATY was in these records. And when I called my cousin Chava to tell her where she fit in the KONOPIATY family, I welcomed her to the STOLOWICZ family as well. Her great-grandfather Jolko KONOPIATY was my third great granduncle on my mother's mother's side, but his wife, Leah STOLOWICZ, was my great-grandfather's first cousin on my mother's father's side.

So as a result of these records I have not only documented a living cousin -- but a double cousin.


Subj: Re: Thanks for JRI-PL
Date: 98-07-06 22:04:27 EDT
From: (Kurtz, Dana)
To: Steve Zedeck, JRI-Poland webmaster

Hi Steve!

In my frantic preparations for LA, I realized I should revisit the JewishGen databases although I've looked before. Last night I started with JRI-P - it's been at least a year. So, I entered my great-grandmother's maiden name "Damsky."

Voila. I found the marriage record for my great-grandparents, birth records for my great-grandmother and all her siblings, and perhaps the death record of my g-g-grandfather's first wife possibly along with
birth records for some of there kids. Near to, but not in, Tykocin.

Having freaked out my mother at 11:30pm Florida time, I'm gleefully eager to hit the LA LDS where they just happen to have the necessary films in permanent loan.

So, I thought I would send along my THANKS to you (et al), for allowing me to make the first-ever discovery of European records for my family. (I knew if I ever got back to this hobby I'd enjoy it!)


Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 17:07:52 -0400
From: "Goldmacher, Jonathan" <>
Subject: Success Through Jewish Generosity!
To: JRI-Poland mailing list

Here's a brief tale of success that I want to share with all of you. It's thanks in part to the help of two specific individuals, but I want to thank all of you for providing this wonderfully supportive and helpful environment. Without that, this would never have occurred.

About two months back or so, I privately responded to a question that Wendy Bellany of the UK posted about research in New York. In a follow up letter Wendy offered to help me out with anything in the UK that I might need, not knowing that I have been on a wild goose chase in search of my great-great-grandfather Joseph (Yussel) Goldmacher who, according to family lore, left Pultusk Poland for London sometime near the turn of the century.

Some family members thought he may have come to the USA but I had never been able to find proof of such. Earlier this year, Dr. Craig Hillman had successfully located a 1914 death certificate for Joseph Goldmacher which ended a great deal of speculation as to his final whereabouts.

Craig went the extra mile for me but, despite his best efforts, was unable to discern where my great-great-grandfather was laid to rest. Unlike their American (at least, New York) counterparts, this type of information is not included on English Death Certificates. I figured if Craig couldn't find him, he'd never be found.

Note here, that at this time my family tree ended at Joseph. Through my work with Jewish Records Indexing - Poland I had found many many GOLDMACHER records in the Przasnysz Jewish Records that both predated and surrounded Joseph's years, but none of these included a birth record or any other reference for him. There were records for names that matched individuals I knew to be his brother and cousin, so I thought I knew where he fit into these records -- and thus how my tree would expand upwards (and outwards) -- but without some proof of Joseph's father's identity I would never know for sure. I thought this would be forever the case.

Well, to make a long story somewhat shorter, Wendy found my great-great-grandfather Joseph GOLDMACHER buried in the Cemetery of the Federation of Synagogues! To top it all off, I called a cousin of mine in London and informed him of this monumental find. He went and visited the grave and took a great picture which I received in the mail on Monday.

The headstone is in fairly good condition for a grave that's been neglected for 84 years. The Hebrew inscription, among other things, clearly identifies his as Josef, bar Moshe, of Pultusk. I've got records of Moszek GOLDMACHER and the children he was having in the 1840's. Josef was born in 1844/45.

Josef had a brother "Harry" and this Moshe also had a son named Hersz Gabryel. Josef had a brother Abraham whose son Isaac who came to America. Well, this Moshe had a son Leyb Abram who in turn had a son named Itzik. There's more proof in other records and relationships.

Now that I know who my great-great-grandfather's father is my tree has grown exponentially to my 5th great grandfather and dates back to 1770! It's been an emotional week for me and the family members who share my passion. Thanks to all of you. Keep on searching and never give up!

Jonathan Goldmacher
New York, NY

Then, when Jonathan was finally able to search the new indices, for the
years not on microfilm, here's what he added:


Subj: Re: What did you learn?
Date: 98-07-06 13:20:33 EDT
From: JJG613


What can I say? Reviewing the information from the supplemental years for the towns of Pultusk and Przasnysz was an amazing experience -- both from a genealogical and an emotional perspective (in my experience, the two have rarely been separate). My grandpa's older brothers were in the Pultusk data
as well as some other family members (uncles, cousins) who I'd heard about or whose descendants I've more recently been in contact with. The Przasnysz data was equally as impressive and added a number of new surnames for me to follow up on.

All told, there were index entries for another 56 family members -- some new, some old (no pun intended). I can not wait to write to Poland and request the actual entries to read all the details and add the information to my tree. However, the indices alone were able to confirm some suspicions I had about birth and death dates. And, of course, it wouldn't be Jewish genealogy if the self same information didn't result in new puzzles as well.

I am hoping some of the new names that appear will help me tie my family to Goldmachers in Opoczno and Krakow and possibly even the Goldmacher clan of the Bessarabia/Kiev area.

Thanks for all your efforts. Good luck in LA!


Subj: Re: Share your JRI - Poland success stories
Date: 98-05-28 16:19:10 EDT
To: jri-pl list

Here's a success story directly related to JRI-Poland with a lesson to it!

I had been working on my family tree for 20 years, but the areas I needed to research were difficult ones. When JRI-Poland was formed, I had a feeling that I would at last be able to see some fruit come to bear on my husband's family tree.

As the database grew, I constantly checked it for the unusual surname of my both my in-laws. And recently, I came across two listings for my mother-in- law's family. One I was certain was her father's birth certificate, the other I suspected was her paternal grandparents marriage record. The year of birth would have been about right for her father, and on it was listed his parents names. His place of birth was not one that had been mentioned previously, but in the game of genealogy who knows, anything goes! And if the marriage record was of her grandparents, I not only had her paternal grandmother's maiden name but also another new town to search.

On Pesach my mother-in-law's one remaining brother came to visit from New York with his wife. I pulled out my information and showed it to them. Understanding that here were two people who had lost most of their family in the Shoah and carried only memories of a life they left when they were quite
young, I saw the happiness as they examined the papers I set before them. Yes, of course, this was their father's birth record. Oh, didn't we tell you that the papa was born in this town? (No, I had always been told the family was from another town. Lesson number one--I learned it was not enough to ask where the family was from, but rather where was the family from BEFORE they came from that town! And I considered myself an advanced researcher, for shame, shame shame.........)

And how they laughed when they realized that what they had was their grandparents marriage record. Neither one had known their grandmother's maiden name (how many of us that are not genealogists do?), even though she had chosen to live with her son, his wife and eight children for many years.
But they were delighted to see the record mention the town of her birth, since she had always mentioned that to her grandchildren. ( Needless to say, in all my years of asking, no on had ever mentioned that town to ME!)

It was all that I could give to two dear people who have almost no family, no family pictures and very little happy memories of growing up in Poland. And they were delighted, laughing and remembering what they did. And so was I.

Thanks JRI-Poland, on behalf of my family!

Carol Rombro Rider Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A.

Subj: Success Story
Date: 98-05-26 17:35:45 EDT
To: (Multiple recipients of list jri-pl)

I have had a couple of successes with the JRI-Poland data base. The most interesting was the discovery that my grandmother Zlatta Gonska had a sister and a brother that I was not aware of.

1. I searched for Gonska in the JRI data base and found three births and one death in the Plock data.

2. One of the births was my grand mother Zlatta Gonska. Two others were Mosziek and Chaia Malka. The fourth death was Mendel Lieb.

3. Extracts of the relevant AKT records proved that Zlatta, Mosziek and Chaia Malka had the same parents, Hirsh Suker Gonska and Maria Werwal. The added bonus was the discovery of great grandmothers maiden name of Werwal.

4. The "death" was the strangest of all, as this was a 17 year old boy who was of "unknown parents". There has to be a story there. But who was he? Its not a real common name so its likely that he was related. Maybe a black sheep who had been disowned??

All this was only three months or so ago.

Best regards, Tony Stern

Subj: Anna (Hanna) Fendler of Krakow, (Austria) Poland
Date: 98-05-26 23:11:28 EDT
To: JRI-Poland List

Before I started researching the LDS microfilms for Krakow, Poland this is what I knew about my maternal family:

My great-grandmother Anna (Hanna) Fendler was born in Krakow, Poland - my great-grandfather Morris (Moishe) Rost was born in Rzeszow, Poland. They were married in Poland (which was at that time Austria), emigrated to the United States, (living in Lynn, MA for a short time) and then movied to Montreal, Canada.

My great-grandfather died in 1894 at the age of forty and my great-grandmother died in 1939. On her headstone her birth date is listed as August 24, 1964.

It seemed odd that she was 10 years younger than my great-grandfather, so I searched the indices for her name despite what the headstone said.

Of course I also wanted to find her siblings, and her father's name. I had her mother's first name as she died in Canada in 1910 and I found reference to her death in "A Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Jewry 1909-1914" which was compiled by Lawrence Tapper.

Well, in November of 1997, I decided to volunteer as the coordinator for the Krakow Shtetl CO-OP Initiative, JRI-Poland. Since that time I have been photocopying indices, sending them on to other volunteers to enter the database, as well as entering some myself.

I had found two sisters, a brother and the father of my great-grandmother, but not hear birth certificate or marriage certificate. The birth certificate, if she had really been born in 1864 I wouldn't find as there
are no films for that year. As to the marriage, so many did not register their marriages with the civil authorities, that I held out little hope of finding it.

Toward mid-March, I sent the first part of the Krakow database to JRI-Poland and it was made available for searching a couple of days later.

In order to make it easier for me to make photocopies of all the documents for all the Fendlers in the Krakow mircrofilms, I decided to search the JRI-Poland database - this way all the information would be there and I could simply take this paper with me to the FHC and copy the documents.

Imagine my excitement and surprise when listed in 1853, Birth Certificate #383, was Hanna Fendler. I had a difficult night - couldn't sleep - what if this was my great-grandmother's birth certificate? Well, what if it wasn't - I would be so disappointed. I couldn't wait for morning to come so that I could verify this at the FHC.

This record was indeed my great-grandmother's, and she was born August 23, 1853. My great,great-grandfather's signature is on this document, as well as the date of my great-great grandparents' civil marriage which took place in June 1853.

Despite the fact that I had access to all the indices, corrected all the work done by all the volunteers, and was definitely searching for Anna(Hanna) Fendler; I missed the name in the indices and found this record only after initiating a search through JRI-Poland.

Judie Ostrow-Goldstein

Subj: Discovery in JRI-Poland database.
Date: 98-05-26 09:06:51 EDT
From: (Sally Bruckheimer)
To: JRI-Poland List

I have been collecting Ruslander information for my family tree. All the Ruslanders appear to descend from 3 brothers who were the sons of Ephraim Moshewitz who lived near Augustow Poland in the mid-1800s.

Because of the rarity of the name, I have found 4 bunchs of Ruslanders which I did not know were related to the rest. When I got the information, I discovered that the four were descended from Basha Ruslander, born in 1857 and lived in Warsaw. When I saw this, I remembered seeing Basha's name in the Jewish Record Indexing in Poland search results -- Basha was the daughter of one of my three brothers!! I got her birth record for her 2d great grandson and for myself. I also sent him Basha's parents
records which I had gotten previously.

Unfortunately, one of the other disconnected Ruslander branches were descended from a guy who had recently died. He lived in Warsaw as a young man and probably knew his Aunt Basha, or great aunt Basha.

Sally Bruckheimer

Subject: REIPP
Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 08:04:07 -0400
From: "Richard T. Streem" <>

Dear WebMaster,

I cannot believe my eyes but on the REIPP records I found my great-grandparents. I never knew what city in Lomza Gubernia they came from but now I do. I found their marriage record, the records of birth
of four of their six children, my great-grandmother's birth and death record. I am ecstatic! I thought I was at a dead end. So much information has opened up to me now!

Of course, all this new information encouraged me to go into the records for other relatives but, unfortunately, I could not find them. Maybe there are no records of these relatives but, then again, maybe there are but the research has not translated the record yet. Please tell me where I can send my contribution to help in this effort!

Thank you so very much!!


Carol Streem

Subject: REIPP
Date: Sun, 1 Sep 1996 21:23:19 -0600
From: (Janna Skura Mintz)
Dear WebMaster,

You and Michael are to be commended! Your search program turned up info I could have spent months searching for! I am just blown away by what you have been able to do. Now, of course, I'll want to find the actual records and make copies, but your system has made that possible.

I would be glad to make a contribution to the SIG, let me know how. And thanks again for all your hard work!

Janna Skura Mintz

Subject: You guys are Gods!
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 02:22:15

Finally! A project I wish I had thought up myself!

Giga-kudos to all involved. When I think of all the time I spent poring over the Lomza microfilms, struggling with the Cyrillic, it really drives home how valuable your resource is. (To say nothing
of the instant gratification!)

If I ever find some spare time again, or if someone could send me photocopies of indexes to transliterate, I would love to be involved.

Thanks again to all of you for bringing Jewish genealogy into the 21st century!

Gary L. Maher
Member (and former Polish Records Editor) for SIGJG's Landsmen
Trustee, Genealogical Society of New Jersey

Subject: Web site, data base
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 02:24:40 -0700
From: Harold Kaiman <>
To: (Multiple recipients of
(Russian Era Indexing of Poland))

I just checked out the data base on the web site. It is fantastic. In about 45 seconds, I received all the information that took me months to obtain using the indices at the Morman Library....

Congratulations on a job well done!!


Surviving records less than 100 years old are held in the Civil Records Offices (Urzad Stanu Cywilnego) of each town.

For information on the 20th century records available for your town, visit the Routes to Roots Foundation website, click on the 'SEARCH DATABASE' button (on the right side) and enter the town name. Look for the town name in the Repository/City column of the search results. There are typically links to lists of available births, marriage and death records for the town.

Note, however, the Routes to Roots Foundation database may indicate turn of the century records that have already been transferred to the appropriate branch of the Polish State Archives where they can be indexed for the JRI-Poland database.

JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt Organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
For all general inquiries about JRI-Poland activities and indexing, address email to:
For specific town information, write to [TownName]
For information about towns in close proximity, write to
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