Monday, January 8, 2018

Mystery Monday ~ Max and Gussie Levitt's First Child

Way back in the early days of this blog, I shared census records for my husband's great-grandparents, Max Levitt and Golda Segal in Woodbine, New Jersey. (See Mystery Monday ~ Levitts in Woodbine.)

Specifically, in the 1900 U. S. Federal Census for Dennis Township, Cape May County, New Jersey, I found the family of Max Levitt.

1900 U.S. Federal Census, Dennis Township, Cape May County, New Jersey; Roll: T623_960; Page: 18B;
Enumeration District: 113. Record for Max Levitt.

Max Levitt is listed as born in August 1868 in Australia (should be 1857-58 in Austria) and has been married for three years to wife, Rebecca (should be Gussie), who, in this census, was reportedly born in Russia in May 1877. (Her passenger list reports a birth year of 1869.)

The children living with them were Minnie (age 12), Rebecca (age 11), Davis (age 10), and Daniel (age 1, b. Dec 1898). The census indicates that the wife had given birth to one child, who was still living. It is logical that the wife's one child is Daniel and that the three older children were Max's from an earlier marriage.

My mother-in-law doesn't recognize Minnie or Daniel as siblings or half-siblings of her mother, Rose (not born until 1902), but perhaps Daniel died as an infant, so even Rose may not have known about him. (Minnie is still a mystery.) As I have shared previously, in the 1910 census, the family reports that Gussie had given birth to four children, and all four were living, so that makes one-year-old Daniel in the 1900 census even more mysterious.

Since George, the known oldest brother in the family, was not born until November 1900, this 1-year-old boy couldn't be him.

I recently found the New Jersey index to records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1848-1900 online at and I think I have partially solved this mystery. (Note that you do need to be at a Family History Center to view the images for births and deaths.)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

DNA ~ Grandparents and Grandsons

Earlier this year, both of my sons agreed to having their DNA tested. Because my autosomal DNA is primarily British Isles with a little bit of Scandinavia and West and Central Europe, and my husband's DNA is about 96% Ashkenazi, it makes it interesting to view our children's admixture (or ethnicity) results.

I always like to make it clear that with ethnicity results that they are estimates and can vary dramatically depending on the reference populations that the DNA is compared with, as well as the regional definitions used by the DNA testing companies.

In fact, where the majority of my DNA is British Isles with 8% West and Central Europe (according to FamilyTreeDNA), Son#1 shows 48% of West and Central Europe and no British Isles. Son#2 shows 43% West and Central Europe and 11% British Isles. Neither show Scandinavia. (This may have to do with the fact that my first DNA test was with AncestryDNA (in November 2011) and I transferred the raw data to FTDNA, and my sons tested directly with FTDNA.)

Because I have tested three of their four grandparents (my father, who would have been fascinated with all of this, died in 1993), I was able to determine how much DNA each son inherited from each grandparent. (See my parents-in-law ethnicity results as of April 2016 at One Jewish Family's DNA Ethnicity Results; since then, they have changed slightly as FTDNA has updated their database.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tuesday's Tip ~ Spelling Doesn't Count

I recently visited a Family History Center in order to view some images from that are not available to me at home.

Map of New Jersey highlighting Cape May CountyThe images I viewed were from the New Jersey index to records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1848-1900. Some were for my family in northern New Jersey, and some were for my husband's family in Cape May County, in the southern part of the state. (See the image at right from Wikimedia Commons for the location of Cape May County.)

Two years ago, I shared an image of the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) for my husband's great-grandparents, Max Levitt and Golda Segal. The Hebrew date translated to 26 October 1898.

Although these records are indexed at, I had not found the marriage record of Max and Golda in the index because their names were not what I expected. I had to browse the marriages year-by-year, looking for Cape May County, which, being sparsely populated at the time, made it not too painful.

Following is the page for the Index Register of Marriages in Cape May County, 1898-99:

Division of Archives and Record Management, New Jersey Department of State, Trenton. New Jersey index to records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1848-1900 (Salt Lake City, UT, USA,, 2017). Family History Library microfilm, #589818, Marriages Atlantic-Hudson v. 36 1898-1899, image 137 of 372. p. 124, line 59, Maik Levin-Lossie Siegel marriage, 26 October 1898.
The marriage of my husband's great-grandparents is the last one on this page, with a date of 26 October 1898.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sixth Blogiversary

This is blog post number 215 in six years of blogging here at A Jewish Genealogy Journey.

I didn't blog as much as I wanted to during this past year, but I did share several Wordless Wednesday posts, as well as a few Tombstone Tuesday posts. And, of course, blog posts about DNA are always fun to share, though they take quite a bit of time to write!

I want to acknowledge that I will not be blogging much (if at all) during the next couple of months. I am two weeks into the fifteen-week Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research program, which is taking up a lot of my time.

I look forward to taking what I am learning and applying it to my research and blogging. Thank you to my readers for staying with me; I do hope to return to regular blogging in the fall!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Hersh Handler, d. 1863

In early 2016, Radovan Sremac, a researcher from Serbia contacted me through JewishGen's family finder and provided me with some images from the local archives showing the 1882 marriage record for Aron Handler and Szali Handler, my husband's great-grandparents, and the 1900 death record for Aron Handler.

He also let me know that there is a Jewish cemetery in Ilok, Croatia, and he shared several photographs of gravestones from that cemetery. Just about all of the text on the gravestones is in Hebrew, but with the assistance of resources like JewishGen's Reading Hebrew Tombstones, Steve Morse's Deciphering Hebrew Tombstone Dates and people on Facebook groups: Tracing the Tribe and Jewish Genealogy Portal, that isn't too much of a problem. I thank these kind volunteers for their translation assistance!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Anna Gershman, d. 1909

Over two years ago, I connected with a DNA match of my husband's and we theorized that she and he were fourth cousins. See Connecting with a Segal Cousin.

A year before that, I shared a photograph of the gravestone of Simche Siegel (husband's 2x great grandfather) in Woodbine, New Jersey. See Tombstone Tuesday ~ Simche Seigal, 1919.

This fourth cousin recently obtained a photograph of her 2x great grandmother's gravestone in Har Nebo Cemetery, Philadelphia.

Hinde, daughter of Yehuda
Beloved Mother
Apr 20, 1909
Age 60 Years

This is one more fact to help confirm that Anna / Hinde (Segal) Gershman is the sister of Simche Segal/Siegel - both gravestones list Yehuda as father.

Thank you Jill for sharing this photograph with me.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

AncestryDNA Genetic Communities

I have already shared some information about AncestryDNA's newest feature: Genetic Communities at my other blog, From Maine to Kentucky.

Just for fun, I thought I would share my husband's Genetic Community. I'm sure you can guess what it is, based on the title and theme of this blog.

Yes, it's the Jews in Central Europe Genetic Community.