South Africa: Seeking Ochberg Orphan descendants

Genealogists are detectives, so here’s a case many of us might be able to help solve.

David Solly Sandler of Australia is seeking 2,000 South Africans – the descendants of 60 Ukrainian war and pogrom orphans, known as Ochberg’s Orphans.

Writes David: 

In 1921, Isaac Ochberg, representative of the South African Jewish Community, travelled to Poland and the Ukraine and brought back with him to Cape Town 167 “Russian, Ukraine and Polish War and Pogrom Orphans” plus 14 “attendants and nurses,” mainly older siblings.

Half the children were placed in the care of the Cape Jewish Orphanage (later Oranjia) and half went to Johannesburg, under the care of the South African Jewish Orphanage (later Arcadia). Many children were adopted by Jewish community members, who contributed generously to a fund to bring the children to South Africa and care for them.

What’s David’s connection to Arcadia? Born in 1952, David grew up from age 3-17 at Arcadia, the South African Jewish Orphanage in Sandringham, Johannesburg. Now a semi-retired chartered accountant, he lives in Western Australia and has completed two books on Arcadia (see below for more information). For the history of the orphanage – established in 1899 – click here.

David is now in month 18 of the 27 months he’s allocated to record the life stories of the Ochberg Orphans. Of the 181 children, the stories of 90 have been recorded, contact has been made with another 30, but 60 still remain to be contacted.

How did he arrive at this number? David believes – for the so far “missing” 60 – that each child was born around 1910, married and had three children, nine grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, thus there should be more than the estimated 2,000 descendants cited above. Of course, no one knows for sure.

However, what is really important in this story is that many descendants might not know their connection to the Ochberg Orphans. The children did not often speak about this and many tried to hide the fact from their children because of the stigma of being an orphan.

One descendant wrote, says David:

Today, as for the general South African Jewish community, half  of the 2,000 descendants likely have left South Africa and now live around the world in Israel, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

“The general attitude of the community was that it was a mitzvah to have adopted one of those poor orphans, a good deed in a dark world, but you really wouldn’t want one of them to marry into your family, would you? After all, you knew nothing of their parents and extended family, their health history and their genetic background. This is a generalisation that isn’t true of all the adopters but it was certainly true of a fair number, nervous, insecure, only to do nothing that would jeopardise their increasing prosperity and emergent social solidity.”

Here’s the kicker – here are the names of these orphans. If you have someone with this name in your family tree, born c1910, there’s a chance you might be an Ochberg Orphan descendant, so read the list carefully and if you find a name of interest, contact David (email below).

— BARMATCH Sara, BARUCH Leya, BERNFELD Hersh,
— CWENGEL Saul,
— ELMAN Blume, ELMAN Jentl/ Izzy, ELSHTEIN Abo, ENGELMAN Jakob,
— FREMD/FRIEND Max,
— GARBUS /GOLDSTEIN Shmul, GAYER Chawa, GEBENCOL/GOLZ Rochel, GERYNSHTEIN Abram, GINSBURG Mintcha, GUBER/GEIBER/GRUBER Tcharna (Charlotte ODES),
— H/GURWITZ Rosa,
— ISRAELSON Chaim,
— JUDES Rubin,
— KAHAN Channe, KAHAN Golda, KAHAN Morduch/Mordche, KAHAN Shachna, KAILER Rywka, KAUFMAN Cypora, KAUFMAN Soloman/Shlama, KAWERBERG Mayer, KAWERBERG Mees/Moshe, KIGIELMAN Jacob, KNUBOVITZ Zlata, KREINDEL Rejsel, KRUGERr Rejsel, KRUGER Abram, KRUGER Jacob,
— LIPSHIS Moishe, LIPSHYTZ Perel,
— MARGOLIN Sara, MILER Braindel, MORDOCHOWITCH Gutro, MORDOCHOWITCH Estel,
— NUDERMAN Gdalia,
— OCHSTEIN Salomon, ORLIANSKY Abram,
— PERRCHODNIK/PERECHODNIK Ussr, PINSKY/PINSKA Faywel, PINSKY/PINSKA Feyga (Birdie GLASER), PINSKY/PINSKA Maisha, PINSKY/PINSKA Zlata,
— REICHMAN Abram, REICHMAN Chaim, REISENDERRubin, REKLER Leya, RINSLER/RINZLER Chaskiel/Chaykel, ROSENBAUM Leon, ROSENBLIT Gdalia, ROSENBLIT Szamay,
— Y/J/SAGOTKOWSKY Jacob/Jacov, SCHTERN/SHTERN Szlema/Solomon, SCHWARZ Josef, SHTEINER/STEINER Chaskel, SHTEINER/STEINER Hersh, SHTEINER/SZTEINER/STEINER Isaac, SMITH Morduch/Mordche, SHTRASNER Feyga, STILLERMAN Hersh/Harry,
— TREPPEL Jacob
— WEIDMAN Sheindel.

David adds that by the end of 2010, the lifestories of some 130 of the children will have been collected. They will be included in a book to be published and sold internationally with all proceeds going to Arcadia and Oranjia, as are the Arcadian Memory Books.

Readers who recognize names of interest should email David for more information, or if you are a descendant and want your family’s story included.

“100 Years of ARC Memories” (March 2006) celebrates the centenary book of Arcadia, formerly the South African Jewish Orphanage.

“More ARC Memories” (December 2008) is the sequel to the first volume, and includes 17 chapters on the Ochberg Children.

Together, the books total 1,100+ pages and hold the memories of more than 250 children. All proceeds go to the Arcadia Children’s Home that still exists and looks after children in need. By the end of 2009, some Rand 365,000 had been raised and the target is Rand 1 million. The set of two books costs $100 plus $10 shipping (click here for more information).

Feeling stressed? Maybe this will help

Forbes.com just put out the list of the top 10 happiest countries to live in.

According to a British Medical Journal 2005, research in several countries indicated that although individuals typically get richer during their lifetimes, they don’t get happier. What brings joy is family, social and community networks.

Tracing the Tribe hopes that includes genealogy communities!

Here’s the list:

1- Denmark
2- Finland
3- Netherlands
4- Sweden
5- Ireland
6- Canada
7- Switzerland
8- New Zealand
9- Norway
10- Belgium

Data was used from last year’s Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries, which asked respondents whether they had experienced six different forms of positive or negative feelings within the last day.

Sample questions: Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesteday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday? No more than 1,000 people, age 15 or older, were surveyed in each country. and the poll was scored from 1-100. The average score was 62.4.

Genealogists would likely answer these questions positively!

Overall economic health was a strong factor. Although the global economic crisis has been felt in every nation, those scoring highest in this poll had some of the highest GDPs per capita in the world.

However, wealth wasn’t the highest indicator. Although Norway ranked highest in GDP per capita, it ranked ninth in the list, despite a GDP per capita of nearly $100,000. New Zealand’s GDP per capita was only a little more than $30,000, yet ranked eighth.

Another important factor is work-life balance. Scandinavian countries work 37 hours per week or less. Low-scoring China has a 47-hour workweek and a GDP per capita of only $3,600.

Low unemployment contributes to happiness. The OECD resercher says “not having a job makes one substantially less satisfied.” Top-ranked Denmark has an unemployment rate of only 2%; the Netherlands, 4.5%; the US, 9% – which didn’t make the top 10.

Read the complete article here.

Feeling stressed? Maybe this will help

Forbes.com just put out the list of the top 10 happiest countries to live in.

According to a British Medical Journal 2005, research in several countries indicated that although individuals typically get richer during their lifetimes, they don’t get happier. What brings joy is family, social and community networks.

Tracing the Tribe hopes that includes genealogy communities!

Here’s the list:

1- Denmark
2- Finland
3- Netherlands
4- Sweden
5- Ireland
6- Canada
7- Switzerland
8- New Zealand
9- Norway
10- Belgium

Data was used from last year’s Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries, which asked respondents whether they had experienced six different forms of positive or negative feelings within the last day.

Sample questions: Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesteday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday? No more than 1,000 people, age 15 or older, were surveyed in each country. and the poll was scored from 1-100. The average score was 62.4.

Genealogists would likely answer these questions positively!

Overall economic health was a strong factor. Although the global economic crisis has been felt in every nation, those scoring highest in this poll had some of the highest GDPs per capita in the world.

However, wealth wasn’t the highest indicator. Although Norway ranked highest in GDP per capita, it ranked ninth in the list, despite a GDP per capita of nearly $100,000. New Zealand’s GDP per capita was only a little more than $30,000, yet ranked eighth.

Another important factor is work-life balance. Scandinavian countries work 37 hours per week or less. Low-scoring China has a 47-hour workweek and a GDP per capita of only $3,600.

Low unemployment contributes to happiness. The OECD resercher says “not having a job makes one substantially less satisfied.” Top-ranked Denmark has an unemployment rate of only 2%; the Netherlands, 4.5%; the US, 9% – which didn’t make the top 10.

Read the complete article here.

Feeling stressed? Maybe this will help

Forbes.com just put out the list of the top 10 happiest countries to live in.

According to a British Medical Journal 2005, research in several countries indicated that although individuals typically get richer during their lifetimes, they don’t get happier. What brings joy is family, social and community networks.

Tracing the Tribe hopes that includes genealogy communities!

Here’s the list:

1- Denmark
2- Finland
3- Netherlands
4- Sweden
5- Ireland
6- Canada
7- Switzerland
8- New Zealand
9- Norway
10- Belgium

Data was used from last year’s Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries, which asked respondents whether they had experienced six different forms of positive or negative feelings within the last day.

Sample questions: Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesteday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday? No more than 1,000 people, age 15 or older, were surveyed in each country. and the poll was scored from 1-100. The average score was 62.4.

Genealogists would likely answer these questions positively!

Overall economic health was a strong factor. Although the global economic crisis has been felt in every nation, those scoring highest in this poll had some of the highest GDPs per capita in the world.

However, wealth wasn’t the highest indicator. Although Norway ranked highest in GDP per capita, it ranked ninth in the list, despite a GDP per capita of nearly $100,000. New Zealand’s GDP per capita was only a little more than $30,000, yet ranked eighth.

Another important factor is work-life balance. Scandinavian countries work 37 hours per week or less. Low-scoring China has a 47-hour workweek and a GDP per capita of only $3,600.

Low unemployment contributes to happiness. The OECD resercher says “not having a job makes one substantially less satisfied.” Top-ranked Denmark has an unemployment rate of only 2%; the Netherlands, 4.5%; the US, 9% – which didn’t make the top 10.

Read the complete article here.

New Zealand: Vital records law

Many countries attempt to limit access to vital records (birth, marriage, death, as well as census records) for various reasons. Genealogists, family historians and their organizations are involved in the fight to maintain access at fair levels.

New Zealand was the latest country to attempt to restrict access; fortunately, the law was amended.

Member societies of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) learn about proposed laws and amendments from Jan Meisels Allen of California, who chairs the IAJGS’s Public Records Access Monitoring Committee.

In April, Allen notified IAJGS members about pending New Zealand legislation which would impose long wait times for people (other than a specific record’s subject) to access birth, marriage and death records. This would have impacted genealogists.

Allen was happy to report recently that the New Zealand Parliament amended the bill to provide that individuals will be able to access their own records and those of their immediate family, and can authorize others to research their records (such as fmaily historians and professional genealogists). Other legal reasons will be permitted.

Additionally, historic records (births over 100 years old, stillbirths over 50 years old, marriages and civil unions over 80 years ago, name changes for those born outside of New Zealand over 100 years ago and deaths over 50 years ago) may be Internet-accessible for a fee. Internet record accessibility is new for the country.

Index information, however, that can identify an individual is not permitted to be posted on the Internet, with certain exceptions.

Allen writes that the 76-page bill may be read here, and that the pages of most genealogical interest are sections 73, 74, 78F and 78G.

New Zealand: Vital records law

Many countries attempt to limit access to vital records (birth, marriage, death, as well as census records) for various reasons. Genealogists, family historians and their organizations are involved in the fight to maintain access at fair levels.

New Zealand was the latest country to attempt to restrict access; fortunately, the law was amended.

Member societies of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) learn about proposed laws and amendments from Jan Meisels Allen of California, who chairs the IAJGS’s Public Records Access Monitoring Committee.

In April, Allen notified IAJGS members about pending New Zealand legislation which would impose long wait times for people (other than a specific record’s subject) to access birth, marriage and death records. This would have impacted genealogists.

Allen was happy to report recently that the New Zealand Parliament amended the bill to provide that individuals will be able to access their own records and those of their immediate family, and can authorize others to research their records (such as fmaily historians and professional genealogists). Other legal reasons will be permitted.

Additionally, historic records (births over 100 years old, stillbirths over 50 years old, marriages and civil unions over 80 years ago, name changes for those born outside of New Zealand over 100 years ago and deaths over 50 years ago) may be Internet-accessible for a fee. Internet record accessibility is new for the country.

Index information, however, that can identify an individual is not permitted to be posted on the Internet, with certain exceptions.

Allen writes that the 76-page bill may be read here, and that the pages of most genealogical interest are sections 73, 74, 78F and 78G.

Plan ahead: Down under conference, 2009

I spent several days last week putting together a spreadsheet on upcoming genealogy conferences, including major regional, ethnic and national events like the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in late June, the 28th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in August, the Who Do You Think You are? LIVE in May, and others, including the three gen cruises.

I discovered the 12th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry, set for Auckland, New Zealand from January 16-19, 2009. The website is still somewhat bare.

It is is sponsored by the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations, (AFFHO). However, Dick Eastman did interview one of event organizers, Jane Gow, and the interview is playing now at Roots Television.

If you’ve been thinking of visiting down under, this might be of interest. Your cousins in Australia and New Zealand are probably asking when you’re coming to visit – I know mine are – so this is something to think about.

This major event will be held at Kings College in an Auckland suburb in New Zealand.