Back in June, Kevin Bowman in Ohio wrote to Tracing the Tribe about his Dutch Jewish ancestry, and shared information on the Akevoth database of Ashkenazim in 18th-century Amsterdam.
He used the Akevoth database to find information on his EZEKIEL family. The photo below is Moses Jacob Ezekiel at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), who fought in the battle at New Market.
Just recently, he found additional success using a new UK database, SynagogueScribes.com, described by Tracing the Tribe.
Here’s more on his two reports of success:
In addition to informing me about the Akevoth database, he described his success over several months.
I find it is the most extraordinary website. With this database, I have taken my family tree back 200 years beyond the tree that Rabbi Stern mapped in “First American Jewish Families.”
He reported on the ancestors of his great-great-great-grandfather Jacob Ezekiel, a prominent American Jew, whose family was mapped by Stern here. His son, Moses Jacob (photo above), became a famous sculptor. Kevin did note that the points mapped by Stern each led to a brick wall on his genealogical quest.
Kevin knew the family adopted the surname in the US, but were known as Schreiber in the Netherlands. As he played with name variants, he discovered the Akevoth database.
Just googling around with alternative names, one day, I ran into the Akevoth database, and found this.
I was stunned to compare what I knew about the Ezekiel family to Jacob Jokeb Ezechiel Posnan(s)ki Schreiber’s family in the database. It matched nearly perfectly. Then, even more amazingly, it mapped out family trees going back another 200 years.
Says Kevin, an Ohio attorney, matching American families to the Dutch database is a difficult process because of changes in spelling, surname and others. He has been successful more than once, and believes that several of Stern’s family trees could be expanded using the Akevoth database.
Occasionally, he’s found people in the notes that should have been in the trees, but were somehow overlooked.
As an example, he writes about Sarah Abraham Waterman (Wasserman), listed as the wife of Michiel Mozes Doesburg Gompert Kleef, but not listed among the children of Abraham Waterman, despite the clear connection. The family moved to England and became Gompertz and their children moved to the US.
He recommends searching the entire website with alternative names to see if there are any missed connections, and also recommends variants with “ben” and “bat” as these constructions appear frequently.
Kevin, who also has Sephardic ancestry (De Castro), says the Ashkenazi database is far better than the Sephardic stuff available. Although materials consistently report that the Ezekiels were Sephardic, as does the family legend, and the fact that they attended a Philadelphia Sephardic synagogue, records reveal a patrilineal Ashkenazi family.
However, he’s never been able to connect any of the individuals listed by Rabbi Stern on the De Castro to any information regarding Sephardic Jews in the Netherlands, except for one marriage entry (possibly!). But he keeps trying!
He further describes the transformation of the Kerkhoven surname into Myers in the US, which could help Myers descendants go back in time.
Aaltje Abraham Waterman, the sister of Kevin’s Step-GGGG-Grandfather, married Emanuel Jacob Kerkhoven, son of Jacob Levie Kerkhoven. See this Akevoth family page. In the US, she became Adeline and he Emanuel Jacob Myers (see this Stern page)
In early December, Kevin had another round of success. Following his reading our post about CemeteryScribes.com and SynagogueScribes.com, his quest revealed the marriage record of his GGGG grandparents.
I always recommend that people using new databases and sites write to them when they find success, and that’s what Kevin did. Gaby Laws of SynagogueScribes.com then forwarded his email to me.
I heard about your site through the Jewish Geneablog “Tracing the Tribe.” They suggested that you may like to hear about any success in using your database. I think I may have found the marriage record of my 4xG Grandparents.
Ref.No. GSM 232/39 shows a marriage record Jabob Elias (Jeker ben Eliahu) who married Eliza Barnett (Libisha bat Jacob Simon) at the Great Synagogue in London on August 3, 1825. The dates and names all seem to fit, although I did not know Eliza’s maiden name.
By 1849, Jacob Elias had died and Eliza remarried, their daughter Kate married John Bowman and the whole family moved to Chicago.This new information may have knocked down a brick wall for me.
We are all inspired by such stories of achievement, and Kevin has done very well in 2009.
When you find success, write in or comment on the relevant Tracing the Tribe post. Also, tell the database or website described that you learned about it here. This makes all of us very happy for you! Success inspires success.
Tracing the Tribe wishes Kevin and all our readers continued genealogical good fortune at this festive time of miracles!
Filed under: Ashkenazim, Cemeteries, Databases, Netherlands, Pennsylvania, Sephardim, Synagogues, UK | Leave a comment »