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19 August 2014

New Zealand, Archives New Zealand Probate Records, 1848-1991

Familysearch has just published a collection of probate records held by Archives New Zealand for the time period 1848-1991. The records come from various courts throughout New Zealand. The published collection has over 2.7 million images, however the images for probates issued during the past 50 years are not available for viewing.
The collection is very easy to use as it is name search able. Searching for the name Cohen, there were 158 different probates for that name. The record below is for Siegmund Cohen, whose will was probated in 1903 in the court of Wanganui. The index information (shown below) gives all the vital information.

The original record can be found by clicking on the "View the Document" linked located in the upper right corner. The wills are very easy to read and in the case of Siegmund Cohen give a lot of good family information. The record below is page one of the will which gives the name of his wife, Mathilda,  the names of their four sons,  Maurice, Louis, Edward and Leon, and their sons.

Page two of the will also provides the names of his two daughters, Clara and Lena. This collection may not have as many Jewish families as a European collection but it does give great help to those with ancestry in the Pacific.

13 August 2014

Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907

For those with Jewish ancestry in the State of Maine, one of the newest collections at Familysearch will be of great benefit. That collection, Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907, contains over 1.8 million images of birth, marriage and death records from Maine. Also included in the collection is a complete name index which makes it a lot easier to search for your family.
The records in the collection come from 2 sources, the State Board of Health, Division of Vital Statistics and the State Archives. The collection is divided into three parts, Vital Records Prior to 1892, 80 towns, Vital Records, 1892-1907, and Delayed returns for births, deaths, and marriages, 1670-1891.The records themselves, are very easy to understand. The 2 examples shown below, are a birth and death.

The marriage records are slightly different, they are actually a two part document. The first part is a simple record of the marriage. The record below is for the wedding of Max Cohen, a 37 year old widower, and Rebecca Povich, a 30 year old widow. The marriage took place on 16 November 1903 in Ellsworth, Maine.

This marriage record provides very good information, however the second part of the marriage record adds even more vital information. The document below, gives the information on the parents of both the bride and groom. With that information and due to the fact most of these records are during the census years, it makes it possible to locate the families in the various United States censuses.

As with all of the collections at, these records are available for free from any computer.

05 August 2014

IAJGS 2015 Jerusalem, 6-10 July 2015

The 2014 IAJGS conference in Salt lake City, was another very successful event. Now its time to start looking ahead to the 2015 IAJGS conference to be held in Jerusalem. Follow all the upcoming news about the conference at Hope to see you there.

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.