Taube Spilka Scheckowitz, Satanover Benevolent Society

Last year I visited Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens, New York and spent a few hours taking photos of every headstone in the section for the Satanover Benevolent Association landsmanshaft. Mount Hebron has a very useful website where you can search for people by name or by burial society, and I discovered that there are a group of people named Scheckowitz in the burial society for Sataniv, Ukraine. This Scheckowitz family is my great white whale, and the whole story…

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The Przedbórz synagogue

MyHeritage has a pretty neat new tool out that colorizes old family photos. Emily Garber discovered that it works just as well on photos that don’t have people in them, so I tried it out on a photo of the Przedbórz synagogue. The Przedbórz synagogue was known to be one of the most beautiful wooden synagogues in Poland. It was built in 1760, and destroyed in 1939. In the colorized version, it’s much easier to imagine what it must have…

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But which Catherine Stack and Tom Collins?

In the 1800s in rural Ireland, people weren’t about to get creative with their children’s names. They drew on a very small number of popular names when baptizing their children, often using an Irish naming convention that named the children after their parents and older siblings. It’s not uncommon to find families in which a man’s mother, wife, and daughter are all named Bridget. This can be a problem when researching a common surname in small Irish towns, most of…

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The Przedbórz Jewish cemetery

Right now I’m writing up a collection of information for those researching their Przedbórz Jewish roots, and once all of the sections are done I’ll combine it into a larger guide. But for now, here’s more on the Przedbórz Jewish cemetery. The Przedbórz Jewish cemetery has been neglected and has reverted to a forest. There are only a handful of stones left, and most are unreadable. Many of the stones were removed to pave roads, and others were used in…

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IAJGS Cleveland highlights

I’m just back from the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Cleveland and wanted to share a brief recap of some of my favorite sessions. This isn’t all of them, of course, but it is as many as I could write up on the flight to New York.  Debra Kay-Blatt and Warren Blatt – Using Pre-1826 Polish Parish Records in Jewish Research  This was a very interesting talk for those who have gotten their Polish Jewish tree back to…

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IAJGS2019: JRI Poland and Congress Poland Records

I’m at IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Cleveland this week, and was lucky to catch two sessions this morning from JRI (Jewish Records Indexing) Poland.  If you aren’t familiar with JRI Poland, they are the go-to site for Jewish genealogy in Poland, with more than 5 million records covering more than 1,000 towns and villages in Poland, many of which no longer exist. In the first session, Stanley Diamond talked about what’s happening with JRI Poland, and their…

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Przedbórz burial societies

Landsmanshaftn were organizations started by Jewish immigrants as a multi-purpose fraternal organization, health insurance, death benefits, and aid society. There were two New York landsmanshaftn for Przedbórz, the First Przedborzer Benevolent Association and the Independent Przedborzer Friends Society. The former has sections at three cemeteries in New York, at Floral Park, Montefiore (Block 53 Gate 469/E), and Union Field (Block 72). The latter has one at Beth David Elmont (Section G Block 7). Unfortunately, the paperwork for these organizations has…

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In the beginning

I first got interested in genealogy a few years ago when I began researching my eligibility for Italian citizenship, jure sanguinis, by blood. Italy is one of the only European countries that will grant citizenship to family members further removed than grandchildren. But qualifying hinges on quite a lot of frustrating and time-consuming struggle with Italian bureaucracy. According to Italian law, my great-grandfather, after being born in Italy and emigrating to the United States at the age of seven, unwittingly…

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