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18 July 2014

Alabama, County Marriages, 1809-1950

The Jewish history of the State of Alabama is as old as the United States itself. As early as the 1750's and 60's, a number of Jews called Mobile home. Later, in the 1820's, the first permanent Jewish community in Alabama was
established in Mobile.
The Jewish community of Mobile was large enough that in 1841 they purchased their own cemetery. In January of 1844, Congregation Shaarai Shomayim u-Maskil el Dol was chartered.
The longtime president of the Congregation was Israel Jones, who was a London born tobacco merchant.
Another very prominent Jew in Mobile was Rabbi James Koppel Gutheim, who was originally from New Orleans. On 14 December 1858, Emilie Jones, the daughter of Israel Jones married James Koppel Gutheim in Mobile, Alabama.
The record of that marriage (below) is part of a collection of marriage records from the State of Alabama, that have now been added to the Historical Records Collections at

The collection, Alabama, County Marriages, 1809-1950, has over 1,000,000 marriage records and is name search able. In the later years of the collection, the records give much more information. The record below is the marriage in 1948, of Karl Bernard Friedman and Gladys Marie Cohen. 

In addition to the marriage information, we are now provided with the date and place of birth, occupations and the parents of the bride and groom. For those with Jewish family in Alabama, these are incredible records. As always these records are freely available at

27 June 2014

United Kingdom, World War 1 Service Records, 1914-1920

As this year marks the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of World War 1, a lot of well deserved attention is being given to those who served. This has also led to more and more records becoming available. As part of this, FamilySearch has just added a wonderful new collection, United Kingdom, World War 1 Service Records, 1914-1920.
This collection is a little unique in that even though it has been added to FamilySearch, the custodian of the record, The National Archives in London, has restricted the use of the images to only include the Family History Centers and the main Family History Library in Salt lake City. To locate the closest Family History Center to where you live, visit the link below;

This collection, which contains the records of W.O.  363 and W.O. 364 contains over 43.5 million images. However, its very important to remember that many of the soldiers had multiple records so the number of people covered is far smaller. The collection is not name search able however it is alphabetical by surname.
The records do provide some very good information on the soldiers. In the case of Jack Gluckstein, there are about 20 pages of documents. Some examples of the type of information in those is shown below.

 From his records we now know where he was born, the name of his father, his current address, and his age at enlistment, which when subtracted from the date of enlistment will give us his birth date.
If your ancestry is from the British Isles, this is a very important database for you. If you are attending the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference later this month in Salt lake City, who will be able to visit the library and review these documents.

25 June 2014

IAJGS 2014 - Salt Lake City Utah 1 Month Away

The 2014 International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS) is only a month away. The time to register is now. The conference is July 27th-August 1. Come learn about researching your own Jewish families from some of the best researchers from all over the world. Follow the link below to access the registration form.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Croatia, Church Books, 1516-1949

A very interesting new database has been added to the Historical Records section at FamilySearch. The database,  Croatia, Church Books, 1516-1949, not only includes the records from various religions but also has the records of the Jews from 16 different cities.
The religions included are listed below:

By clicking on the Jewish title above the cities with Jewish records are listed (below):

Clicking on any of the locations will take you to the records for that community. The records for Zagreb, include the following records;

The records are very high quality and easy to read, even for those who do not read the language. From the collection for Zagreb comes the following entry.

In record #10 we have Rudolf Bernstein, born on 1 November 1858 to Marcus Bernstein and his wife Pauline Hertman. Also included is the date of his Bris, which was 8 November.

As of today, the collection has not been indexed, so it is not name search able. However, with over 1.4 million images it is well worth the time to browse through the records.

12 June 2014

Solomon and Associated Families Reunion 2015

In the many years I have been doing family history work, I have been very blessed to travel to many beautiful places and meet some incredible people. One such time was in 2012, when I was able to speak at The Great Solomon Reunion in Melbourne, Australia. The organizers were wonderful people and I made many new friends. It was one of the best organized events I have ever had the pleasure of attending.
Well, now the time has come for the Solomon family to get together again. Word is out that on the 7th and 8th days of June 2015, the Solomon and Associated Families will gather at Wesley College in Melbourne. A new website is now available to fill in all the details. It can be found at

If you are a Solomon or had family that married into the Solomon's, or just want to meet some great people, make your plans now to attend. It will be a wonderful weekend.

16 May 2014

South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895 - 1972

In South Africa, the birth, marriage and death records are held by the National Archives, on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs. In 1894, the registration of births and deaths was made compulsory and the record keeping itself began in 1895. These registers are available up to the early 1970's. 

Now, the Civil Death records for the Cape Province of South Africa, have started to be added to the Historical Records collection at FamilySearch.  As of 16 May 2014, the collection contains over 2.2 million records, however only about 11,000 have been indexed at this point.

 A simple search of the collection shows the quality of the information provided.  I knew that Leah Cohen died on 2 Jul 1954 in Cape Town. Using that information, I found the entry below that also gives me her age and her last place of residence, the Cape Jewish Aged Home. The information also provides the Family History Library Film number (1,796,463).

 I was further able to click on the link to view original document. By doing so I was able to view the original record of her death. In that document (below) we also find out that Leah Cohen, was born in Russia. We also find that she is a widow and that her maiden surname was Gradner.

This record should be most helpful more many families. As so many of the Jewish community of South Africa were from places such as Russia, Lithuania and England, their impact is very far reaching. As always these records are available free at

07 May 2014

IAJGS 2014, World War 1 Stories

We are now less than 3 months away from the 34th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, which will be held in Salt Lake City from the 27th of July through the 1st of August. As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War 1, one of the main themes of the conference will be its affect upon our ancestors. As part of this, conference organizers are encouraging all to upload there own stories to the conference website.

What a great opportunity for all of us to share the stories of our ancestors, of their struggles and hardships, as well as their determination and survival. What a great chance to keep their stories alive.

22 April 2014

Knowles Collection Updated - Records of 1,000,000 Jews

In August of 2007, the Knowles Collection first went live as a search able database of genealogical records of the Jewish people. At that time the collection was made up entirely of records of the Jews of Great Britain.That introduction of the collection contained the records of about 7,500 Jews. Those first records came from making a computerized record of the Mordy Collection, the wonderful work compiled by the late Isobel Mordy, before her death in the 1980's.
From that first day, the collection continued to grow, but remained solely a record of the Jewish people in the British Isles. As time passed that database grew to contain the records of well over 100,000 Jews. At that time, five additional databases were added to give coverage of the entire world. The collection now consisted of the 6 databases that it has today.
New records continued to be added. These consisted of vital records, synagogue records, civil records, probate, census and family histories. The family histories have been donated by families from throughout the world, all wishing for their records to be preserved. I am extremely grateful to all who have added their own records. The six databases now consist of records from almost 2,000 different sources.
 The six databases that make up the Knowles Collection have now been updated. Thanks to the work of so many people the combined collection now holds the genealogical  records of over 1,000,000 Jewish people. Each of the 6 databases has grown considerably over the years. The amount of people contained in each database is as follows;

  • Jews of the British Isles              191,000
  • Jews of North America               393,000
  • Jews of Europe                           360,000
  • Jews of South America and Caribbean   21,000
  • Jews of South Pacific                              21,000
  • Jews of Africa, Orient and Middle East   37,000

Even after so much growth, an amazing amount of records continue to be submitted to the database. These records will be added as quickly as we can. Of the records now being added a large number of cemetery transcriptions from all parts of the world are included. With those records added to everything else already published, it truly has become a collection that covers the world. The collection is available at the community trees section at The link in the top right corner of this blog will help you access those records.
Thank you to all for your help, and may we never forget our ancestors.