Yizkor Book Project: Additions and updates during April

The dedicated volunteers at the Yizkor Book Project at JewishGen were busy in April. See below for the complete list of additions, new projects, updates and more.

Four new Translation Fund Projects have been organized for Debica and Grajewo (Poland), Leova (Romania) and Olkeniki (Lithuania). These projects collect funds to hire professional translators so these books can be made accessible online. Readers with roots in these geographical locations (and others) are invited to contribute to the Translation Fund.

The list, with links to each community, is organized by country:
(NP=New Project; N=New Entry; U=Updated)


NP — Neunkirchen (The Holy Community of Neunkirchen: A story of Jews in their native land)


NP — Disna (Disna; memorial book of the community)
U — Antopol (Shards of Memory: Messages from the Lost Shtetl of Antopol)
U — Ruzhany (Rozana; a memorial book to the Jewish community)
U — Smarhon (Smorgon) (Smorgonie, District Vilna; memorial book and testimony)
U — Voronovo (Voronovo: Memorial Book to the Martyrs of Voronovo)


N — Backininkeliai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Balsiai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baltiskis  (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baltmiskis  (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baltusova (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baranas (Pinkas Lita)
N — Bariunai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Barova (Pinkas Lita)
N — Barsenai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Barstyciai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Bartininkai (Pinkas Lita)


NP — Grojec (Grizer Scroll)
NP — Grudki (Horodok; in memory of the Jewish community)
NP – Serock (The book of Serock)
N — Baligrod (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
N — Lutowiska (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
N — Ustrzyki Dolne (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
U — Bedzin (A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Bendin)
U — Bialystok (The chronicle of Bialystok)
U — Brzeziny (Brzeziny memorial book)
U — Chelm (Commemoration book Chelm)
U — Czyzew-Osada (Czyzewo Memorial Book)
U — Dabrowa Gornicza (Book of the Jewish Community of Dabrowa Gornicza and its Destruction)
U — Debica (The Book of Dembitz) – additions to Polish section
U — Kaluszyn (The Memorial Book of Kaluszyn) – necrology
U — Katowice (Katowice: the Rise and Decline of the Jewish community; Memorial Book)
U — Kutno (Kutno and Surroundings Book)
U — Lesko (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
U — Miedzyrzec Podlaski (Mezritsh book, in memory of the martyrs of our city)
U — Opoczno (The Book of Opoczno: memorial for the destroyed community)
U — Piotrkow Trybunalski (A Tale of One City: Piotrkow Trybunalski)
U — Ryki (A memorial to the community of Ryki, Poland) – additions to Polish section
U — Zelechow (Memorial Book of the Community of Zelechow ) – added pictures to Polish section


N — Skhodnitsa (Memorial to the Jews of Drohobycz, Boryslaw and surroundings)
U — Kolomyya (Memorial book of Kolomey and surroundings)
U — Ivano-Frankivsk (Towns and Mother-cities in Israel: Memorial of the Jewish Communities which Perished)
U — Vystosk (Our town, Visotsk; Memorial Book)

See all additions and updates flagged here.

Lithuania: Vilnius project info

Researching ancestors who lived in Lithuania? There are some ongoing projects right now at the Historical Archive in Vilnius.

Readers interested in any of these records may make a qualifying contribution to the LitvakSIG District Research Group and will receive records soon after they are translated. It will take about 18 months before they will be added to JewishGen’s All Lithuania Database.

Remember to cast a wider net. Your ancestors may have lived in more than one nearby village.

Contributions help to get more records translated, so if your interests lie in these locations, you might hit gold.

These are projects currently being translated:

Translator 1
Balbieriskis (Suwalki) marriages – 1858-1870
Balbieriskis (Suwalki) deaths – 1858-1870
Balbieriskis (Suwalki) births, marriage, deaths, 1808-1857.

Translator 2
Stakliskes (Trakai) 1850s
Varena (Trakai) 1850s

Zasliai (Trakai) 1850s
Ziezmariai (Trakai)1850s
Merkine (Trakai)1850s

Translator 3
Plunge (Telsiai) divorces 1839, 1844-46, 1854-1860
Plunge deaths 1842, 1844, 1854-1855.

Translator 4
Vilnius (Vilna) 1875 Family List Book 1 is done, ow working on Book 2. Book 3 no longer exists. Book 4 will be translated if enough funds are

Translator 5
Kaunas births 1907-1914 ( total 2,777 records)

Translator 6
Kaunas deaths 1898, 1899, 1901-1906

Translator 7

Kaunas deaths 1907, 1913

To contribute, click here. For more information on records available and projects underway, visit LitvakSIG.

JewishGen: Yizkor Books report for March

The Yizkor Book team at JewishGen has been keeping busy during March. As the Jewish calendar edges towards Yom HaShoah, this project becomes even more relevant to researchers around the world.

In addition to new books, updates to existing books, the Necrology Database continues to be updated. Key: Unless indicated by (N)=New Project, all listed below are updates:

Antopol, Belarus
(Shards of Memory: Messages from the Lost Shtetl of Antopol)
David Gorodok, Belarus
(Memorial book of Davidgrodek)

Jasionówka, Belarus (N)
(Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Volume VIII)

Lakhva, Belarus
(First ghetto to revolt, Lachwa)
Ruzhany, Belarus
(Rozana; a memorial book to the Jewish community)
Smarhon (Smorgon), Belarus
(Smorgonie, District Vilna; memorial book and testimony)

Skuodas, Lithuania
(Memorial Book of Skuodas)
Skuodas, Lithuania (N)
(Testimony on the murder of the Jews of Shkud, Lithuania)

Svencionys, Lithuania
(Svintzian region: memorial book of 23 communities)

Tighina, Moldova
(Bendery Community Yizkor Book)

Bedzin, Poland
(A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Bendin)
Brody, Poland
(An Eternal Light: Brody in Memoriam)
Kaluszyn, Poland
(The Memorial Book of Kaluszyn) – necrology

Kolo, Poland
(Book of Kolo; 500 Years of Yiddish Kolo)

Krasnik, Poland
(Book of Krasnik)
Kutno, Poland
(Kutno and Surroundings Book)
Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland
(A Tale of One City: Piotrkow Trybunalski)
Pultusk, Poland
(Pultusk Memorial Book)

Siemiatycze, Poland (N)
(The Community of Semyatitch)

Warka, Poland
(Vurka memorial book)
Wieliczka, Poland
(The Jewish community of Wieliczka; a memorial book)
Zelechow, Poland
(Memorial Book of the Community of Zelechow) – pictures added to Polish section
Zhovkva, Ukraine (N)
(Memorial book of Zolkiew) – necrology)

Marghita, Romania
(Memorial book of the community of Margareten and the surrounding region)
Oradea, Romania
(A city and yesterday; memorial book to the Jews of Grosswardein)

Bil’che-Zolote, Ukraine (N)
(A Time to Speak – The story of My Life) -necrology
Demidovka, Ukraine (N)
(The Town of Demidovka) – necrology

Kamyanets Podilskyy, Ukraine
(Kamenets-Podolsk and its surroundings)
Kolomyya, Ukraine
(Memorial book of Kolomey and its surroundings)
Kovel’, Ukraine
(Kowel; Testimony and Memorial Book of Our Destroyed Community)

Readers who wish to financially assist Translation Fund projects should click here.

Lithuania: View your shtetl from the air

Would you like to see your ancestral shtetl and environs from the air?

A new website now makes it possible to see aerial photographs of many Lithuanian cities and towns. Tracing the Tribe wishes such a website for Belarus existed.

The photos were taken via a video camera installed in a radio-controlled “Magpie” model plane. The site founder is photographer Kestutis Fedirka, who launched it in November 2009. Read more about the technical aspects of the work here.

Jeff Miller, of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, sent along a note which profiled the site. There are two versions of the website, in English and in Lithuanian.

While the site has an elegant graphic design and the videos are quite nice, it is not a good site for the visually impaired with its black background and grey lettering. Tracing the Tribe found it very hard to read even with our computer glasses. Some of the lettering just fades away. A quick fix would be for them to change the grey to white lettering. Even the logo used on this post (upper left) had lettering nearly impossible to read until I adjusted the contrast with a photo editor.

Here is one shot of Trakai Castle:

How to search:

On the homepage top bar, readers will see a line of 10 Lithuanian regions, along with the crest of each. Click on the region and then see a list of towns. Click on the town of interest and you’ll see an aerial video. Click on the lower right corner and see it full-screen. The accompanying music makes it seem as if you are floating in a hot-air balloon over the town.

The music is very familiar, but I can’t place it. If any reader does know what the piece is, please let me know.

You can even click on 3D (upper left corner of the picture screen) and link to Cooliris, which is another interesting program for photo techies. You’ll need to download this plug-in and then you can see other sites using it. It claims to offer the fastest way to search Google and other sites for video and photographs. The demo is impressive and there are several tutorials, as well as a blog. According to the Cooliris site:

It’s simply the fastest and most stunning way to browse photos and videos from the Web or your desktop. Effortlessly scroll an infinite “3D Wall” of your content without having to click page to page, whether you’e on Facebook, Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Kodak Gallery, or any supported site. Or channel surf the latest news, TV episodes, movies, and music videos all from within Cooliris.

After looking at the Cooliris site, I realized the Lithuanian site design was the Cooliris site, which uses the same black background and lighter lettering. A dark background is excellent for photos and videos as they seem to stand out much better, but the lighter lettering is somewhat hard to read.

Since I knew that some of our BANK family had lived in Raseinai, according to various archival records, I selected Kaunas and then Raseinai.

If, for example, you are looking for Rokiskis:

1. Select “Panevėžio apskritis” (Lithuanian version) or “Panevėžys region” (English version)

2. Scroll down to Rokiskis.

To see the coastal village of Nida:

1. Select “Klaipėdos apskritis” (Lithuanian) or “Klaipėda region” (English),

2. Scroll down to Nida.

The video clips stream along from different angles, and that soundtrack is great!

For sale on the site is a 100-page album, containing more than 2,000 photos from 62 communities, with descriptions in Lithuanian and English.

Well worth a look for researchers of Lithuania.

Lithuania: Joining a SIG is a good idea!

Special interest groups are valuable resources for all researchers of a particular place or topic.

While some are free and require no membership fee, others do have a nominal charge to join. Those fees are generally used to acquire more resources.

SIGs with membership fees generally have free public pages as well as member-only pages. These groups also accept contributions earmarked for specific projects to assist members with their research.

As one example, the entirely volunteer-run LitvakSIG is the primary internet resource for Lithuanian-Jewish genealogy research worldwide.

Tracing the Tribe’s maternal great-grandmother, Riva bat Tsalel BANK, was born in a small village outside Kaunas (Kovno) and other branches lived in different Lithuanian towns, so we have a personal link to this SIG.

Although its free site offers many extensive resources, its member-only site ($36 per year) offers additional information such as growing supplemental material including selected archive catalogs, detailed articles, presentation transcriptions, private discussion forums, LitvakSIG board minutes and more.

Among the free pages are links to databases, photographs, maps, books, an online journal and much more.

Just added to its member-only site:

The first version of an Excel file has been prepared and uploaded to the members-only site. It provides hyperlinks to various foreign language resources in Russian, Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew:

— Links to the Internet Archive – these links are for all uploaded resources in Russian, Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew. There are separate links by language as well as year of publication.

— Links to electronic resources in the Russian State Library (RGB)

— Links to the entire Yiddish collection on the Internet Archive from the Steven Spielberg collection housed at the Natl. Yiddish Book Center.

— Links to electronic resources (Vilnensia specifically) from the Kujawsko-Pomorska library in Poland

— Links to Russian language resources from GoogleBooks

— Links to electronic resources found on the Russian website Tsarskoe Selo

— Links to books on the Russian site Runivers

— Links to more directories from a Russian website

— Links to files from the site Bibliotechka genealoga

— Links to the U. library of Frankfurt AM – Yiddish book collection

This information comes from Joel Ratner of LitvakSIG. He is district research coordinator for Vilnius (Vilna) and vital records coordinator for both Suwalki and Vilnius/Vilna Gubernia.

While he notes that this file is a work in progress, not everything listed deals with the Pale of Settlement or even with Jews. Individual researchers may decide what is of interest to them.

Joel also asks readers to notify him of additional collections which may be of interest. Find his email on the LitvakSIG leadership contact list. He is now working on an update to allow the download of more than 100 Passover Haggadot, all originally printed in Vilna.

For more information on LitvakSIG, click here for the free site or here for the members site.

Los Angeles: Litvaks, Galitzianers and Magyars – Oh my!, Jan. 28

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles is a brave group to bring together – in one room, at the same time – Litvaks, Galitzianers and Magyars, on Thursday, January 28.

On the other hand, how many times can you get three major experts together in the same place?

The event begins at 7.30pm at the Skirball Cultural Center’s Magnin Auditorium. Note that this meeting is on Thursday, a different than normal day for JGSLA meetings!

Are your ancestral roots in Lithuania, Galicia or Hungary? Don’t miss this unusual opportunity to learn about the special interest groups for these regions. Our ancestors moved around quite a bit, and some may well pop up in a surprising location. Learning about other geographical resources expands our knowledge and horizons.

This program will provide updates and information from Litvak SIG president David Hoffman, Gesher Galicia president Pamela Weisberger and Hungarian SIG coordinator Vivian Kahn, followed by an extensive Q&A session.

LitvakSIG is the primary Internet source connecting researchers of Lithuanian-Jewish genealogy worldwide. Its goal is to discover, present and preserve information about our ancestors’ lives in Lithuania, and to better understand their lives before some 95% of Lithuanian Jews perished in the Holocaust. David will explain the history and the goals of the group and tour its website, including the “All Lithuanian Database,” incorporating data from many sources into a searchable mega-database, with the largest number of Lithuanian Jewish records online. He’ll also elaborate on shtetl and surname research groups, articles and other materials of interest.

Gesher Galicia (GG) promotes Jewish genealogical and historical research in Galicia, a province of the former Austrian Empire that today includes towns in Eastern Poland and Western Ukraine. In 2007, Gesher Galicia began the “Cadastral Map and Landowner Records Project” to inventory and obtain copies of records at the Lviv Historical Archive in Ukraine. These are invaluable materials metrical records are not available. In some cases they may be the only documented evidence about your ancestors’ lives. Pamela will also provide more information on the project, demonstrate the new searchable databases and show how maps and landowner records provide a window into the history of the Jews of Galicia.

Hungarian SIG covers the history of and resources for the country’s Jewish community. Vivian will provide a short overview of the history and discuss the wide range of available genealogical resources including JewishGen’s “All Hungary Database.” The AHD includes nearly 1 million records for individuals in the current and former territory of Hungary, including areas in what is now Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, northern Serbia, northwestern Romania and subcarpathian Ukraine. She’ll discuss some of the SIG’s current projects, including the Ungvar/Uzhgorod Cemetery Index and identify other online resources.

More on the speakers:

David B. Hoffman, PhD is a clinical psychologist and former UCLA professor, who has been involved in genealogy for 16 years. He’s co-founder and current president of the LitvakSIG, on the JGSLA board and Roots-Key editor. He’s published more than 35 articles and spoken at eight IAJGS conferences and to groups in South Africa, Israel, Great Britain, the US and conducted research in Lithuania. David established the Jewish Family History Foundation which focuses on 18th century Jewish records of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in territory that later became Belarus, Lithuania, and parts of Poland and Ukraine.

Pamela Weisberger is JGSLA program chair, co-chair for JGSLA 2010 and Gesher Galicia president. She’s documented her family’s history for more than 25 years, has traveled throughout Eastern Europe, visited ancestral towns and villages and conducted research in Polish, Ukrainian and Hungarian archives. She has a special interest in late-19th to early-20th century US city directories, newspapers and court records. For four years, she’s organized the IAJGS conference film festival, and also produced the 25th-anniversary documentary of JGSLA (“Genealogy Anyone? Twenty Five Years in the Life of the JGSLA”).

Vivian Kahn is JewishGen’s Hungarian Special Interest Group (H-SIG) coordinator and moderates H-SIG’s mailing list. An experienced researcher, she has presented workshops on Jewish genealogy and researching Hungarian Jewish families at IAJGS annual conferences, for Lehrhaus Judaica and other San Francisco Bay Area groups. Her roots in pre-Trianon Hungary have taken her to Hungary, Slovakia, Israel and Salt Lake City. As JewishGen’s Vice-President for SIG Affairs, she serves on the organization’s Operating Committee. A San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society member, she has more than 30 years of professional city-planning experience in public and private sectors.

The Traveling Library will open at 7pm with special regional maps and books. Bring family documents, photographs and maps to share or to receive help.

Fee: members, free; others, $5. For more information, directions and future events, click the JGSLA site.

JewishGen: ShtetLinks’ update

JewishGen’s ShtetLinks pages have been added or updated:

Belarus: Dunilovichi (Dunilovitsh), Krivichi (Kshyviche, Krzywicze), Radoshkovichi (Radoshkovits). Ruzhany (Rozihnoy) was updated.

Romania: Husi (Khush)


Lithuania: Pasvalys (Posvel, Posvohl)

To create a ShtetLink page for your ancestral shtetl or adopt an “orphaned” page, send an email.

If you’d like to do a page, but need help in creating it, email Susana Leistner Block.