Thursday, 24 March 2011

Jewish Genealogy round the World Part 4 - More from Poland/Russia

Lodz Cemetery

Cemertery Street, Bracka in Lodz was founded in 1892 . It is estimated that in it are  buried about 160 000 people. Here also are buried the victims of one of the most tragic events in human history - the Holocaust. On the part of the cemetery called " Ghetto Field "are buried about 43 000 victims of the Lodz ghetto who died from hunger and exhaustion.

Jewish Web Index

This is an Index, a Directory of Jewish Genealogical Resources and Links

The Chronicle of Bialystok  (Białystok, Poland)
The history of the Jews in Bialystok until the period after the First World War,

The Polish Genealogy Project

Ancestry the Polish Connection

All the research I have done has not helped me in any way to trace my family before they came to England. The only document I have is my maternal grandmother's aliens book which gives details of her Russian passport.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Jewish Genealogy round the World Part 3 Poland/Russia

Following Diane’s emergency operation, things are gradually getting back to normal.

I think the time has come to spend some time researching my family and Diane’s Dad’s family who all appear to have originated from “The Pale” or “White Russia” whatever name you prefer and which is now in Poland.

Over the years we have looked at numerous websites but have not so far been able to trace any of our family beyond the time they arrived in England. Some of these websites are listed below.


The History of Jews in Russia

This portrays the history of Jews in Europe and in Russia to help understand their life, religion and culture.

The Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies
This is a non-profit, educational institution devoted to the history and culture of Polish Jewry. It is an associated institute of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

The award winning searchable database of indices to Jewish records of Poland.
Launched in early 1995, JRI - Poland is the largest fully searchable database of Jewish vital records accessible online. 4 million records from more than 500 Polish towns are now indexed. More are being added every few months

Lodz Area Research Group (LARG)
The Group aims to provide researchers with a forum, clearinghouse and resource for the collection and dissemination of genealogical and historical information relating to the Jewish communities of Lodz, Poland, and the surrounding area. This research group is dedicated to the rescue and preservation of materials relating to the Jewish communities of the Lodz area and as a living memorial to our ancestors' impact on, and contribution to Poland's second largest city

Monday, 14 March 2011

Health and Living

Nothing to do with Genealogy but all about health and living. I thought that I would write about our experiences this week.

Diane has been a bit down the last couple of weeks with a chesty cough, but was determined to keep going, because we were invited to a big Jewish charity fundraiser on Wednesday 2nd March where the main speaker was the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

We had a great evening but the following morning I dragged Diane to the Doctor. She was told that she had a virus and probably a chest infection and was put on a course of antibiotics.

The coughing continued despite a myriad of over the counter remedies and in the early hours of Monday morning Diane had a violent coughing fit, which affected her stomach badly and she was doubled up in pain. I phoned the emergency doctor who called an ambulance and at 6am Monday morning we arrived at Barnet General Hospital A & E department.

The doctors diagnosed that she had an irreducible mass in the abdomen and decided that she needed an emergency paraumbilical hernia repair. At 11.15am she was taken to the operating theatre. The surgeons then noted that she had low potassium and refused to operate. She was taken back to the ward and put on a potassium drip.

At 6.40pm she was taken back to the operating theatre, the repair was carried out and by 9.30pm was back on the ward. On Wednesday 9th March she was discharged from hospital. The District Nurse has twice been to change the dressing and said that it will take a couple of weeks to get back to normal (whatever normal is) since her body had suffered a trauma. However, on Saturday, she had a high temperature and I called the emergency doctor. He diagnosed an infection that must have been picked up in hospital. But said that the antibiotics given by the hospital would clear it up.

Diane realised that I had suffered a trauma as well, what with hanging around the hospital for 3 days and insisted that I go home and watch my beloved Arsenal on Tuesday night even if they did lose to Barcelona in the Champions League and then again on Saturday evening when they lost to Manchester United in the F A Cup. That was even more trauma for me.

I suppose that we never know what is round the corner and must live life whilst we can.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Jewish Genealogy round the World - Part 2

Whilst researching our family history we have been introduced to three sites which deal with the creators family history and which link into Diane's family tree.

The Lewis Family Tree Project

Within this there is a section on the Mendoza family which links into Diane’s family tree.

The Whipp Family History Project

Within this there is a section on Jewish Roots. This contains many surnames linking to Diane’s family tree.

Robert Orland’s Family History Project

One of the surnames is Nunes Martinez, which links into Diane’s family tree

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Jewish Genealogy round the World - Part 1

Whilst researching our family history we have joined three Yahoo Groups, which have helped us to link up with Cousins around the World.

This is a place for members and descendents of the Sephardi Jewish Mendoza family to share information on their history and genealogy.
Researchers interested in the surname Hart. The aim of the group is to try and connect early Hart families settled in England probably before 1851 and any one else researching the name HART. The Hart families would be Jewish or originally Jewish.

"dutchSIG" ~ is the international home for discussions on genealogy and the special interest group on family history for all those around the world with a Dutch Jewish ancestry.


My wife Diane and I thought we would have a clear out of the garage this week. The first box we came across was marked “Barmitzvahs, Weddings, Anniversaries, Special Birthdays etc”.

In it was all the details from our 3 sons barmitzvahs, their weddings, birth announcements, engagement announcements, our first grandsons Pidyon Haben, our 25th, our 40th, my 60th and 70th and Diane’s 70th. Diane’s 21st birthday cards. Also the menu from our wedding in 1962.

We also found a copy of our Synagogue magazine from when our youngest son Stephen was married at Northwood United Synagogue in 1998. Northwood is on the North West outskirts of London, bordering onto Hertfordshire.

In the magazine was an article we wrote following Stephen’s wedding, which I think still holds true so far as we are concerned. So I thought I would share it with my readers:


The Wedding from a different perspective

Our youngest son Stephen married Michelle Waxman on Sunday 1st November in Northwood Synagogue, following in the footsteps of his brothers Richard and Robert.

When it comes to a wedding, the general assumption seems to be that the boy’s parents don’t have the same feelings as the girl’s parents.


What is the difference. We are all parents and I am sure don’t love our children any less. Do we not all stand together under the Chupa and participate in the joining together of our children. So, why do people apparently feel this way?

The pleasures and emotions of seeing your child standing under the Chupa are the same for all parents.

When the couple get engaged, the talk very soon turns to what the Bride and the Bride’s mother will wear, and how important it is they both look their best on the day. Which obviously it is. In addition, we hear how proud the Bride’s father will be when walking her into Shul. Again this is obvious.

What needs to be remembered is that this is the joining together of two families, and everyone wants and needs to look their best, especially under the Chupa. All the parents will be proud to see their child married in Shul under a Chupa.

We were very lucky when it came to the arrangements for each of our sons’ weddings. Each of our daughters’-in-law parents has involved us in the arrangements from day one.

Generally, however, people tend to forget, when it comes to organising a Wedding that the Bridegroom’s parents have had previous experience in organising a function – the barmitzvah.

Well the Bridegroom’s parents don’t have to organise the Wedding reception and dinner, but they do have to rely on others to let them know how many they can invite. Something you don’t have to worry about when organising a Barmitzvah. Luckily again this was not a problem for us, but you do hear horror stories.

So what do the Bridegroom’s parents do?


Firstly there’s the Shul to organise, and the officiants – Rabbi, Chazan, Choir etc. Then there are the cars, photography, video and flowers for the Shul.

Then there’s the Aufruf. Kosher catering can be arranged at home on a Shabbat, but it takes a lot of organising and a lot of moving of furniture. Who do we call up in Shul without upsetting the family – not always easy.

What about the men. Well there are morning suits to hire for bridegroom, ushers, best man, brothers, nephews, father of the bride and to pay for it all – the father of the bridegroom. In our case there were 12 suits to organise – make sure everyone went for a fitting, collect the suits, sort them out after the Wedding and then return them.

Comes the big day! Will everything go to plan?

Will the caretaker remember all the instructions from the Wardens on how to lay out the seating in Shul and erect the Chupa? The cars, photographer, florist – will they all turn up on time? Will the ushers and best man be on time? No worry about the best man Richard, Stephen’s oldest brother, or his other brother Robert who is an usher. They have both been through it before.

You still worry.

All the careful planning, however, means that the answer to all these questions is yes.

We arrive at Shul. Rabbi Brawer takes charge, everything goes like a dream and two families become one.

World Book Night

World Book Night represents the most ambitious and far-reaching celebration of adult books and reading ever attempted in the UK and Ireland.
On Saturday, 5 March 2011, two days after World Book Day, with the full support of the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association, the Independent Publishers Guild, the Reading Agency with libraries, World Book Day, the BBC and RTE, one million books will be given away by an army of passionate readers (including me)  to members of the public across the UK and Ireland.
The book give-away will comprise 40,000 copies of each of the 25 carefully selected titles, to be given away by 20,000 ‘givers’, who will each distribute 48 copies of their chosen title to whomever they choose on World Book Night. The remaining books will be distributed by World Book Night itself in places that might otherwise be difficult to reach, such as prisons and hospitals.
The twenty-five titles were selected by a wide-ranging editorial committee, chaired by James Naughtie.  

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Jewish Genealogical Resources in England (K to Z)

Moving Here


Many people mistakenly believe that they cannot trace their Jewish heritage because records do not exist. They are unaware of what is available, where and how to find it, and of issues such as surname changes, patterns of migration and changes in country borders.

Port Cities


For many thousands of Jewish immigrants fleeing Russian oppression, the port of London was the point of entry into Britain. For thousands of transmigrants, London was a stopping-off point before moving on to other countries.

Southampton University


The Survey of Jewish archives in the UK and Ireland

Synagogue Scribes

Your one-stop gateway to Anglo-Jewish community records:  Synagogue Scribes offers a unique and fully searchable database of  London Ashkenazi Synagogue records, with the emphasis on pre UK civil registration, which began on 1st July 1837.

United Synagogue


Marriage Authorisation Certificate Records

Things to do in London Part 2

Further to my previous posting here are some further places of  Jewish interest to visit whilst in London which are open all year round.

The Imperial War Museum

The Holocaust Exhibition uses historical material to tell the story of the Nazis' persecution of the Jews and other groups before and during the Second World War
The Imperial War Museum Lambeth Road
London SE1 6HZ
Jewish Museum London 

The Jewish Museum London is a landmark museum that celebrates Jewish life and cultural diversity. The exhibitions, education programmes and activities encourage a sense of discovery and creativity and tell the story of Jewish history, culture and religion in an innovative and compelling way and engage with people of all backgrounds and faiths to explore Jewish heritage and identity as part of the wider story of Britain.
Jewish Museum London, Raymond Burton House
129-131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB

The London Jewish Cultural Centre

The London Jewish Cultural Centre offers the widest range of Jewish learning opportunities  and Jewish cultural events in the UK - Jewish education and entertainment for the whole community.

If you have time to visit Nottingham then you should go to:

The Holocaust Centre

The Holocaust Centre provides a range of facilities for people of all backgrounds to explore the history and implications of the Holocaust. These include the Holocaust Exhibition and Memorial Museum, The Journey Exhibition, Memorial Gardens, Bookshop and Coffeeshop. There are also seminar and research facilities for students, teachers, scholars, professionals and many others.
The Holocaust Centre, Laxton, Notts,  NG22 0PA