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17 March 2015

The Knowles Collection has moved

In the summer of 2007, a new group of records appeared on the FamilySearch Community Trees Website. This database, The Knowles Collection, contained the records of a small section of  the Jewish people of the British Isles. That original set included less than 10,000 people.
Over the last eight or so years, I have been so lucky to have witnessed the incredible growth of the Knowles Collection. What was once a single database, has now grown to be six individual databases that now contain the genealogical records of almost 1.2 million Jewish people. Those databases and the number of people contained  in them;

                          The Jews of the British Isles  208,349   
                          The Jews of North America  489,400
                          The Jews of Europe  380,637
                          The Jews of South America and the Caribbean  21,351
                          The Jews of Africa, The Orient and the Middle East   37,618   
                          The Jews of the South Pacific    21,518     

While I have received many notes from those who have been able to find family names and in some cases link together with distant cousins, I have also heard from some who have had a hard time finding the collection. Well, hopefully that will no longer be an issue. This past week the Knowles Collection has moved to new location which should make finding it and searching the collection much easier. It is now located under the Genealogies tab on the front page of FamilySearch.org. The following steps should help in your search.

1. From the main page of FamilySearch.org, Click on the search tab which will give you a drop down box containing five areas. Select Genealogies. (BELOW)

2. This will take you to the main search page. Once on this page you can search by entering the name you are looking for and at the bottom of the page selecting Community Trees (Below). 

3. The results that are returned include Hugh Charles Knowles, the son of Charles Julius Kino and his wife Louise Essinger (Below) . The family changed their name to Knowles before the birth of Hugh Charles.

4. By clicking on the name in blue, the complete record is given of Hugh Charles Knowles (Below). The area on the left of the page provides the basic information as well as a list of sources and notes for the record.  The center of the page is the individuals pedigree, which can be extended for more generations, or made to show the children. The top Yellow band gives the name of the collection the record came from, in this case it is the Knowles Collection, Jews of the British Isles.

I do believe that by moving the collection, far more people will be able to find their families. I am most grateful to all who have donated their own records to the collection.This databases will be updated as often as needed. I hope this continues to be a valuable resource for all those looking for their Jewish families.

09 March 2015

New Brunswick Provincial Marriages 1789-1950

In March of last year, I wrote about the New Brunswick Death records that were made available on the FamilySearch website. Now this past week the New Brunswick Provincial Marriages, 1789-1950 have also been added to FamilySearch. The collection, which as of today includes over 255,000 images, provides some great information for people researching their Jewish families. Starting with a basic search page (shown below), I have entered the surname Cohen.

The name Cohen returned 586 entries, of which the first part of page 1 are shown below. 

I chose the second entry, the marriage of Israel Cohen to Freda Jacobson in 1903. Upon clicking on the name Israel Cohen, I was given the basic information for  this marriage (Below).

We now have most of the vital information on the bride and groom, including their ages and the names of their parents. Also, the number of the microfilm that was the source for this information is shown, #2,320,202. By following the View the document link the researcher can then view the original record (Below).

05 March 2015

Australia, New South Wales, Cemetery, Military, and Church Record Transcripts, 1816-1982

This database, which is really a mixture of a few different types of records is now available at FamilySearch. As of today their are over 160,000 images of cemetery transcripts, various military records and Church records. The original collection is the work of Clarice (Taylor) Cubbins who passed away last year. For those researchers with Jewish ancestry the cemetery transcripts will be the most useful.

The collection is very easy to use.  As I always try to use the same surname when doing a beginning search, I entered the name Cohen in the search box and had 235 results returned. The first page of those results is below. 

I selected Rosa Cohen from the list. The results page (below) gave me most of the vital information, such as age at death and location of the burial.

To see if anything else could be gathered from the original source I followed by clicking the "View the Document" tab. I was then able to view the original, which came from FHL Film # 1363955. That original (below) also provided me with the names of Abraham and Sophia Cohen, the parents of little Rosa.

23 February 2015

Canadian Headstones

This past week FamilySearch has added another database of records supplied by a partner website. In this case the database is a name index to the headstone transcriptions made available by www.canadianheadstones.com. According to the CanadianHeadstones website, they have over 1 million headstones available online.
In searching the database at FamilySearch, I entered the surname Cohen into the search box. I was informed that over 1,000 records were returned. The image below shows the first page of those results.

From the list I clicked on the name Florinda Cohen. The database provided me with all the information contained on the website.

By following the link to the partner website, located at the right of the above image, I was then taken to the website which provided me with the actual image of the headstone (see below).

For those with Jewish family who may have been in Canada, this is another great resource. Many thanks to the CanadianHeadstones website for making these records available for free through FamilySearch.

02 February 2015

Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959

Slightly over a year ago in this blog, I wrote about the Kelly Street Historic Jewish Cemeteries of Indianapolis, Indiana. These cemeteries filled the need of the growing Jewish community in Indianapolis. That community, which  consisted of 8 different congregations, came into being in 1856. The records of those cemeteries, which are now also part of the Knowles Collection, is a wonderful source for Indiana Jewry.
Now, another great source for the Jews of Indiana is available at www.familysearch.org. That collection, Indiana Marriages, 1811-1959, which was indexed in partnership with the Indiana Genealogical Society, now contains over 1,100,000 images. These records come from all Indiana counties, except for Howard, Johnson and Montgomery.
The images, which are name search able and available for free are of very good quality. The example below, is the marriage record of Abe Karp and Dora Cohen, who took out the license on 17 Jul 1913 and were married 3 days later on 20 July 1913. The information about the couple is amazing on this form. We not only get their dates of birth, but also parents names and addresses.

30 January 2015

Knowles Collection Updated

The 6 databases that comprise the Knowles Collection have now been updated on the FamilySearch Community Trees site. The collection now contains genealogical records for over 1.15 million people.
The databases and the number of people contained in each are;

  1. Jews of Africa, Orient and the Middle East         37,618
  2. Jews of the British Isles                                        206,330
  3. Jews of Europe                                                      380,629
  4. Jews of North America                                         489,400
  5. Jews of South America and the Caribbean          21,351
  6. Jews of South Pacific                                              21,518
The entire collection can be viewed for free by visiting the FamilySearch Community Trees site.

Once at the site (shown above), click on Advanced Search and it will lead you to the following screen.

The top box says all trees. By clicking on the arrow located at the far right of that it will give you a drop down menu of all the trees. In that list the 6 Knowles Collection databases can all be found (see below). 

The increase in records comes from many sources, most notably burial records, civil registration records and an amazing number of family trees that have been submitted by families. My deepest thanks to all those who have helped this project.

27 January 2015

Holocaust Remembrance Day

For those who were killed for being Jewish, and those killed for helping try to save them.


Holocaust Remembrance Wall, Boston, Mass.

Raoul Wallenberg Memorial  London, England

23 January 2015

The Jews of Algeria

Even though the Jewish history of Algeria dates all the way to the first century of the Common Era, it wasn't until the 14th century that Jews really started arriving in the country. Those 14th century Jews were Sephardic Jews fleeing Spain and the persecutions there. About 100 years later those fleeing the Spanish Inquisition also fled to Algeria.
Many of these Jews who fled the Inquisition, made their way to the port towns of North Africa. There were large Jewish communities in places such as Algiers, Bejaia, Mostaganem and Oran. Later they also settled more inland, in places such like Costantine. During the 1500's and 1600's the Jews from the city of Livorno in Italy started arriving in Algeria.
These Jews, who were traders and businessmen did very well trading between the business centers of Europe and their new home in the Ottoman Empire. It was in the middle of the 19th century when life began to change for the Jews of Algeria.
In the 1830 there were about 15,000 Jews in Algeria, most still in the coastal areas. More than a third of those lived in Algiers, which was about 1/5 of the population of the city. This was the time of the French Conquest. At first the government allowed the Jews and Muslims to keep their own laws and courts.
In 1841, this began to change and the Rabbinical courts were placed French jurisdiction as were the Algerian courts. In 1845, the French further reorganized and appointed French Askenazic Jews to serve as the Chief Rabbis in each area, ruling over the Sephardic Jews. They were to be loyal to France.
This began to change the relationship between the Jews and the government of Algeria.
Just prior to World War II, the Jewish population of Algeria was about 125,000. This had grown to just under 150,000 by the early 1950's. Algeria gained its independence in 1962, and almost immediately the government started harassing the Jewish community. It sanctioned them and denied them some of the rights they had which had helped them economically. Because of these actions over 90% of the Jewish population immigrated to France. In 1994, a terrorist group announced its plans to eliminate the entirety of the Jewish population. This led to the majority of the remaining Jews to flee to Israel and the closing of their synagogue in Algeria.
With most of the population fleeing to France and Israel, there is not a great amount of records of the Algerian Jews coming to the United States. There are a few however, such as this record which shows Jacob Benarroch, who states that he is a Hebrew, born in Algiers, Algeria, who arrived in New York on board the ship Pannonia on 16 Apr 1913.

There are also not a great deal of Algeria specific genealogical records of the Algerian Jews. However, there is a great website for finding the Jews in the Civil registration records of Algeria. The website Genbriand Chronotheque Genealogique has the Civil Records for Metropolitan France, Overseas Territories and Old French Colonies. This includes Algeria.

The sit is easy to use. The site allows you to research the civil registers from 1830-1912, using the form included.

I performed a very simple search for all records for the surname Cohen. There were almost 5,800 entries returned. The image below shows the first of 290 pages of results. Once the entry is identified, if you click on the icon just to the right of the entry number, who can view the original record.

The image associated with the first entry is located below. This should be a great help for all researchers with French or Algerian ancestry.