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18 September 2017

Rosh Hashanah 2017


A beautiful sunset as seen from the steps of Yad Vashem, gives us hope for the incredible year ahead. May it be a year of peace, joy and happiness to allyour families. HAPPY ROSH HASHANAH everyone.

The Census Records of Denmark

In September of 2016, I wrote in this blog about FamilySearch adding the database of the 1911 Census of Denmark to their online collections. This database, which at the time only had about 440,000 images, showed what could happen when all interested people work together. The original images were provided by the National Archives of Denmark, the name index provided for by MyHeritage and the database hosted at no charge at FamilySearch.org.
Since the time of that article, the databases containing the Census records of Denmark have continued to grow. This is a continued benefit of the joint efforts of MyHeritage, FamilySearch and the National Archives of Denmark. While a year ago the 1911 Census contained 440,000 images, today it contains over 2.7 million. The number including in the other census years are shown below.


The records themselves, while all a little different are very easy to read and understand. Even without a knowledge of the language, researchers should find good success in finding their families. I few example of the other years are shown below.

1860 Census of Denmark

1890 Census of Denmark

1916 Census of Denmark
Hopefully with the continued efforts of websites and archives working together, we will continue to see great record collections made available for researchers.

06 September 2017

Society For Crypto-Judaic Studies Annual Conference Philadelphia, PA Nov 5-7, 2017

The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS) founded in 1991 has become the leading society for those researching the history of Sephardic Crypto-Jews. As part of their society, they come together once a year to allow all interested parties to work together to further the studies of Crypto-Jews. This year will be their 27th conference. The 2017 Annual Conference of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 5-7. For more information visit www.cryptojews.com

31 August 2017

The Touro Synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island

In a post in January of 2016, I talked about the Jewish history of Rhode Island. In the post I talked about the Sephardic Jews, many from the Caribbean who settled in Newport, and made it a very important place for the Jewish people.  This past week I had the honor of being able to visit the synagogue and take a tour of this beautiful historic building. The synagogue was completed in  1763, making it the oldest existing synagogue in North America. The pictures below, give a small glimpse into the historic treasure.


12 August 2017

IAJGS 2018 Warsaw, Poland 6-10 August


The 2017 IAJGS Conference was a great success and much was learned. Now its time to turn our sights ahead to the 2018 Conference to be held in Warsaw, Poland from the 6th to the 8th of August. Please make plans to join us there.

17 June 2017

Louisiana Deaths, 1850-1875, 1894-1960

The state of Louisiana has always been an important place for the Jewish people. With a major port and being a natural link to the Caribbean area, many early Jewish families in the United States can tie their own ancestry to the records of the state. Now, FamilySearch has added over 800,000 death records to its free collection.
This database, Louisiana Deaths, 1850-1875, 1894-1960, includes an index and the images of Louisiana death certificates. The records from 1850-1875 are for Jefferson parish, while the other years include the statewide records. Doing a search for the surname Cohen yields almost 700 records of death. Included in those was the name Littman Cohen who died at the age of 76 in 1876. The index is shown below;


The information includes the names of parents and spouse, as well as the place of birth and death. This is all of the information that came from the original death certificate (shown below)which is also included in the database.


This is another great source for those with family ties to Louisiana and as usual is available for free at www.familysearch.org.

10 May 2017

The Jews of Burma (Myanmar)

Recently, I have had the opportunity to take another look at a most interesting family, the Battat family.  It was almost 6 years ago when I was first introduced to their history and I found it amazing. At that time I was given access to a collection of records that I called the records of the Battat Family of Iraq. This collection had histories and documents that traced the family through the lands of Persia, which is modern day Iran. Now, this same family is taking me on a journey to another area of the world, Burma.
The history of the Jews of Burma is much different than that of Iran, and it covers a much shorter time frame. The first Jew to be recorded in the records of Burma, was Solomon Gabirol, an 18th century commander in the army of King Alaungpaya, however the first group of Jews didn't start to arrive until the mid 1800's.
It was at this time that Jewish families like the Battat's, most of whom were from India and Baghdad, first started establishing communities in Burma. These groups, who were mostly merchants, established businesses dealing with cotton and rice trading, and prospered under the British rule in places such as Rangoon and Mandalay. It was during this time that the Jewish population peaked at around 2,500 people. However, this all changed in 1942.
With the Japanese invasion of Burma in 1942, the Jewish community began to leave the country. With the Japanese and the Nazi's being allies it was not a place that the Jews felt comfortable being, so most fled to India. Later those who had stayed immigrated to Israel and the United States. The family of Ezekial Moses Battat and his wife Sally, had actually left even earlier, in 1931.

The family of 10 arrived in New York on 4 November 1931 on board the SS Olympic. At the time of the Petition for Naturalization in March of 1934, the family had established their new home in San Francisco, California. The 1940 United States Census (shown below) shows the births of the children all in Burma.


The Jewish population of Burma today is probably well under 100 people, but hopefully the traditions they established will now be carried on by the descendants of those families that once flourished there.

01 May 2017

Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) in Israel Happy Birthday Israel


HAPPY 69TH BIRTHDAY ISRAEL

David Ben-Gurion, who was the first prime minister of Israel, publicly read the Declaration of Independence of Israel on May 14, 1948. According to the Jewish calendar, this was the fifth day of Iyar, the eighth month of the civil year, in the year 5708. The anniversary of this date on the Jewish calendar is known as Yom Ha'atzmaut and usually falls in April or May of the Gregorian Calendar.