Saturday, 26 February 2011

Jewish Genealogical Resources in England (D to J)

Couldn't think of any from D to I but here goes with J

JCR-UK (Jewish Communities and Records - United Kingdom)

This website contains some 5,000 pages including details of more than 1,200 congregations and includes current communities and those that no longer exist.
A joint project between the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain and JewishGen


Their aim is to raise awareness of the history and culture of London's Jewish East End, to preserve what remains and record what has now gone.


London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more. 


The JGSGB promotes and encourages the study of Jewish genealogy. It assists all those tracing the family history of their Jewish ancestors. It encourages Jewish genealogical education and research and promote the indexing, transcription and preservation of old records.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Jewish Genealogical Resources in England (A to C)

British Jewry

You'll find many basic questions on researching British-Jewry here.
You will also find a positive treasure trove of databases, links and other information.

Cassini Maps

The National Archive Registration District Historical Maps. Find any location in England and Wales. Maps from 1805 to the present day  Create personalised site centred maps See how the landscape has changed over time
Cassini Publishing, in partnership with The National Archives, has made available on-line digital versions of the original Registration District maps from the 1871 census. This set of maps is the only known collection of this type in the world.

Corporation of London

London Generations is a database compiled from genealogical sources held at London Metropolitan Archives. It can, for example, tell you which parish registers are held for Saint James Clerkenwell, which workhouse registers are held for the Kensington area and how many admission and discharge registers are held for Shelburne Road School. The registers date from the sixteenth century to the present day, so you could find registers which mention several of your own London Generations.

Charles Booth Online Archive

Four notebooks from the Charles Booth collection relating to the Jewish community in London in the 1880s and 1890s have been digitised and are available online.
This is only part of the archives held on his survey into life and labour in London (1886-1903) which can be found at

These sites are useful for anyone researching English ancestors.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Things to do in London

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB) has alerted members to the following:

For those visiting London in March or April this year, there are two exhibitions worth visiting.

Firstly, in partnership with the Museum of London Docklands, JEECS (the Jewish East End Celebration Society) is organising an exhibition "London Under Siege: Churchill and the Anarchists, 1911."
This exhibition is now open and marks the centenary of the Houndsditch murders and consequent Siege of Sidney Street, an iconic East End event that had a big impact on the Jewish community.

The exhibition runs at the Museum until the end of April and entry is free.

The Docklands museum is at West India Quay, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4AL
and is served by many bus routes and the Jubilee tube line. 

Secondly, The Old Jewish East End: Journey through a Vanished Shtetlis an exhibition being held at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archive (Bancroft Road) and curated by the Jewish East End Celebration Society.
Running from March 1st until April 16th, the previously unseen collection of photographs and rare archives illustrates the experiences of Jews in Tower Hamlets over one hundred years ago."

The Bancroft library can be found at 277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ
Tel:020 7364 1290

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Only Jewish Military Cemetery in the World other than Israel

Here is an interesting story from the American Civil War sent to the Chairman of the JGSG by a member.
America's Only Jewish Military Cemetery

Courtesy of the Hebrew Cemetery Company of Richmond.

Every once in a while I come across a story that just knocks me out. Of course I knew that Jews fought for the South, but I never knew that the Jewish dead were segregated, excluded from burial with proper honors in Confederate military cemeteries.  Talk about irony.  But in a way, I suppose this anti-Semitism was a blessing in disguise for
Jews should be buried in Jewish cemeteries.
The Hebrew Confederate Cemetery, located in Richmond, Virginia, is the only Jewish military cemetery in the world outside of Israel. It was created by the anti-Semitism of the two Confederate military cemeteries, in Spotsylvania Court House and  Fredericksburg. They refused to bury the Jewish Confederate soldiers killed in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Wilderness. They didn’t want ”Jewish boys” in their cemeteries.  They brought them to the Hebrew Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. They were buried in five rows, with six bodies in a row, in a self -contained hallowed area within the larger Hebrew Cemetery. Those buried came from  Mississippi, Texas , North Carolina , South Carolina , Georgia and Louisiana .

Many of the local Jewish Confederate soldiers killed are not in this military cemetery as they were buried in their family plots at the Hebrew Cemetery. One of these soldiers was Isaac Levy of Richmond, Virginia.  He was 21 years old when he was killed in the trenches near Petersburg on August 21, 1864. He was an orthodox Jew, who wrote his sister that he and other Jewish Confederate soldiers managed to have a
Passover Seder with Kosher food.  T.N. Waul, who commanded a Confederate Legion said, “Jewish soldiers were brave, orderly, well disciplined and in no respect inferior to the gallant body in which they formed a prominent part. Their behaviour in the field was exemplary and no Jew was ever before a court-martial. I never heard of any Jewish soldier shirking or failing to answer any call of duty and danger.”
Courtesy of the Hebrew Cemetery Company of Richmond .
The Hebrew Confederate Cemetery Plaque reads:
M. Levy , Mississippi , killed May 31, 1862.
J. Rosenberg , Ga.
Henry Adler, 46th Va.
E.J. Sampson, 4th Texas , killed June 27th, 1862.
G. Wolfe , N.C.
I. Hessberg, Caroline co.
Unknown soldier
Henry Gersberg, Salem , Va. , killed June 2, 1864.
T. Foltz, 16th Miss.
I. Cohen, Hampton (S.C.) Legion.
Sam Bear, Ga.
S. Bachrach, Lynchburg , Va.
Jonathan Sheuer, La.
J. Frank , Ga.
Henry Cohen, SC. killed June 29, 1864.
Capt. Jacob A. Cohen, Co. A, 10th La., killed at 2nd Manassas, August
30, 1862, age, 33 years.
M. Aaron , N.C.
A. Lehman , S.C.
Julius Zark, 7th Louisiana .
A. Heyman , Georgia .
Lieut. W.M. Wolf, Hagood's S.C. Brigade, died May 9, 1864.
Lieut. L.S. Lipman, 5th Louisiana , died May 9, 1863.
Erected by his brothers to the memory of Isaac Seldner, of the 6th
Virg. Inf. Reg., born December 23, 1837, killed at the battle of
Chancellorsville , Va. , May 3rd, 1863. None knew him but to love him.
S. Weiss , Ga.
H. Jacobs, S.C.
E.B. Miller, died April 6, 1864.
Corpl. G. Eiseman, 12th Miss.
M. Bachrach, Lynchburg , Va.
S. Oury, 16th Miss. ; died June 10, 1861.
A. Robinson, 15th Ga. , died Jan. 26, 1863.

Richmond area Jewish Confederate soldiers, who were killed in battle,
were buried in their family plots elsewhere in this cemetery. They are
Gustavus Kann, 16th Mississippi; Henry Smith, Richmond, Otey Battery;
Marx Myers, Richmond Grays; Isaac J. Levy, Richmond Blues and Captain
M. Marcus, 15th Georgia, killed October 13, 1864.
Baruch Dayan Emet, Blessed is the True Judge

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Jewish Genealogical Resources in England

I note from many American blogs that mention is made of the fact that many Jewish families in America originated from England.

We have in England a wealth of information for Jewish genealogists. Jews were expelled from England in 1290 and were eventually readmitted in 1656 by Oliver Cromwell following the Civil War in 1649. Yes, we had a civil war long before the American Civil War.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB) has a wealth of information on British Jewry and many Americans are members. The JGSGB promotes and encourages the study of Jewish genealogy. It assists all those tracing the family history of their Jewish ancestors. It encourages Jewish genealogical education and research and promote the indexing, transcription and preservation of old records.

There are numerous other resources which I will try a list over the coming weeks.

The JGSGB is constantly advising members of new resources:

Deceased Online  is the first central database of statutory burial and cremation registers for the UK and Republic of Ireland.  It is a unique resource for family history researchers and professional genealogists.

When families chose not to have a religious burial for their loved one, they often used a municipal site.  This paid for website may be useful in searching for members of your family Until the creation of this website, to search these records you had to approach about 3,000 burial authorities and nearly 250 crematoria in the UK alone, each independently holding their own registers, mostly as old fragile books, because no official central repository exists.

Deceased Online is working to change this by making it possible for burial and cremation authorities around the country to convert their register records, maps and photographs into digital form and bring them together into a central searchable collection.

The growing database, holding records mainly from the 1850s onwards, can provide invaluable information for researching family trees, and can reveal previously  unknown family links from other interments recorded in the same grave.

Only this week it was announced that the records of 800,000 people buried in the UK's largest cemetery at London's St Pancras and Islington Cemetery have gone online thanks to the completion of a major digitisation project.

Records can be searched for free by surname and other names, with images of all the original documents available to download on a pay-per-view basis.  The new additions bring the total number of London records on the site up to more than a million.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Summer Literary Seminar

I have just beeen told about a Summer Literary Seminar in Vilnius 31 July to 12 August 2011.
Here's the web page: They also run one in Montreal and in Kenya.

This is organised by Mikhail Iossel, Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at Concordia University, Montreal.

Saul Issroff  will be lecturing on some aspects of Litvak culture, Holocaust history and migration, and taking part in some workshops. Some familiar names who will give a series of seminars include Rachel Kostanian, Dr Rose Lerer Cohen,  Simon Davidovich, Regina Koipelovich, Dr. Efraim Zuroff (director Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel),
Mr Vytautas Toleikis, (educator, civic activist, author) Fania Brantsovsky, (Vilna Ghetto survivor, veteran of the anti-Nazi partisans, Holocaust educator), Milan Chersonski, editor of Jerusalem of Lithuania, Ms Faina Kukliansky will be lecturing and there will be associated tours of sthetls etc.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

The first thing I want to say is that I am very lazy. I think I should rename my blog “The Lazy Genealogist”. Jennifer Shoer at The Scrappy Genealogist very kindly sent me the Ancestor Approved Award, which was begun by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here. She did this on 15th January and it has taken me till now to respond.

I must admit that I had not come across this award before but it is a great idea. So firstly thanks to Leslie Ann for coming up with the idea and secondly thanks to Jennifer Shoer for thinking of my blog. I know that “An English Jewish Family’s quest for their roots” is a bit of a mouthful but it seemed a good idea at the time and I hope you find it interesting.

The award asks the recipient to list ten things learnt about any of their ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened them. It also asks the recipient to pass the award along to ten other bloggers who they feel are doing their ancestors proud.

So firstly my ancestors and I include my wife Diane’s ancestors in this:
  1. I have found that I know nothing about my ancestors prior to them coming to England in the late 19th century from what was then Russia and is now Poland.
  2. Similarly we know nothing about Diane’s father’s family prior to them coming to England about the same time and from the same area.
  3. Diane’s maternal grandmother Dinah was Sephardi.
  4. Diane’s Sephardi line has been in England for over 300 years.
  5. The first recorded marriage in Diane’s family in England was in 1697 in Bevis Marks Synagogue.
  6. Diane is distantly related to the actor Peter Sellers, to the first “scientific” boxer Daniel Mendoza and to Rufus Isaacs, first Marquess of Reading and Viceroy of India. 
  7. My oldest grandson is a firstborn child as is his father, as I am, as my father was and his father was. Not sure if it means anything but we had a Pidyon Haben for my oldest son and for my oldest grandson.
  8. I found that I had a brother who died at the age of 10 months when I was 4 years old.
  9. Diane has ancestors from Italy, Spain, Gibraltar, Holland, Argentina, Morocco, Russia and of course England.
  10. Diane and I have found cousins so far in Australia and the USA.
Secondly bloggers that I respect. Jennifer obviously has very similar tastes in blogging to me, since 4 of her awards are to blogs on my reading list. So here goes:
  1. dearmyrtles-genealogy-blog at
  2. Dick Eastmans online genealogy blog and newsletter at
  3. Geneamusings at
  4. Geneabloggers at
  5. Genealogy Blog at
  6. Genealogy Star at
  7. Ancestry Insider at
  8. Blundering Blindly Backwards at I wish that I had thought of this name. It sums up everything I do.
  9. You Don’t Choose Your Family at
  10. The Wandering Genealogist at