The Przedbórz synagogue

The wooden synagogues of Poland, with elaborate carvings and brightly colored interiors were a “truly original and organic manifestation of artistic expression—the only real Jewish folk art in history,” according to art historian Stephen S. Kayser in Wooden Synagogues by Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka, a Polish couple who were the world’s foremost experts on wooden synagogues in Eastern Europe. To get a sense of what Polish wooden synagogues looked like, check out the wooden replica of the Gwoździec synagogue at…

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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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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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