Volunteer Spotlight: Sam Schleman

Posted by Joanna Leefer

Sam Schleman

Sam Schleman does not take retirement lying down. While many people consider retirement as a time to relax, Sam has done just the opposite and has become one of the vital forces behind the scenes at JewishGen.

Over the past five years, Sam has coordinated the Hungarian Vital Records Project.

At any one time, Sam will have between 100-125 people from eighteen different countries transcribing records. In the time he has been on this project, about 400,000 records have been transcribed. Prior to this project, Sam worked on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR), compiled Borislav Forced labor lists, and transcribed Hungarian vital records.

Despite all these translations, Sam speaks no Hungarian. He admits he has picked up a lot of words from working with the records, but admits he is sometimes accused of mispronouncing Hungarian “…worse than anyone alive.”

Sam became interested in his roots about 8 or 9 years ago when out of the blue, he received an email inquiring if he had relatives who had lived the Bronx. The woman who wrote explained her grandmother had lived in the same house with a "Nathan Schleman." Sam had never heard of him and neither had his sister or cousins. He soon found out that Nathan Schleman was his great-grandfather! From that moment on, he was hooked.

Sam Schleman lives in Malvern, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. He has been married for 41 years has three grown children, two grandchildren, and Bruno, an enormous 190 pound Great Dane, “the gentlest dog alive.”

Before retiring, Sam was a management consultant specializing in solving business problems and in the management of projects, usually having to do with computer systems and/or operations improvement.

We are grateful that Sam has turned his problem-solving and management expertise towards working on JewishGen’s Hungarian Vital Records.

Sam, JewishGen thanks you for all your hard work!
If you would like to nominate a JewishGen volunteer to be spotlighted, please email us by clicking here. If you would like to join JewishGen as a volunteer, please click here.


  1. Mazel Tov, Sam. You have made an important contribution to Jewish genealogy.

  2. As a researcher with Hungarian-Jewish roots, I appreciate your hard work.

    Helene Kenvin
    Webmaster: Miskolc, Hungary Shtetlinks site

  3. Keep up the awesome job! It is very much appreciated.

  4. Keep up the awesome job! It is very much appreciated.

  5. As one of Sam's Transcriber Army, I have enjoyed getting to know Sam both long distance and once a year at the meeting of the H-SIG. He has always been encouraging and helpful in getting the work done. And Sam, thanks for wearing your conference t-shirt in the picture!

  6. A well-deserved recognition. We all have benefited by Sam's outstanding contributions.
    Ed Zwieback
    Long Beach

  7. Beverly J. RothmanApril 28, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    How wonderful that you are being recognized for your dedication. Congrats!

  8. Kol Ha Kavot Sam!

    Your are a great and most patient manager, always ready to help and guide the novice volunteer.


  9. Sam, how wonderful that you have been congratulated for your untiring efforts on behalf of JewishGen and the Hungarian data base. As a researcher for this project, I know full well how much time you put into this "labor of love." Mazel tov!

    Barbara Hartstein Gardner Wasser

  10. Sam, congratulation on being honored by JewishGen for your efforts on behalf of the Hungarian Data Base which has become your "labor of love." Mazel tov from a fellow researcher.

  11. Sam,
    Well done and well deserved. Thanks for your patience, your guidance and your kind encouragement. I'm proud to have been a part of the projects you led. Blessings on you and your family,
    Andy Roth

  12. As one of Sam's Aussie transcribers, I appreciate all the help he has given me to get the jobs done. He is doing a great service for present and future researchers. One day we'll meet in person!

  13. I enjoyed working on the database. Thank you Sam for all your hard work and your support of my attempt at transcription:)

    Deb Holman

  14. Hey this is great!!I was glad to see this email and I agree with the comments made.I like to bug Sam and He knows it but I am back and its awesome to see this spotlight.Well deserved Blessings from way down under.Kiwi Girl.

  15. Congratulations Sam! You truly deserve the recognition for all of your efforts. I know I appreciate all of your hard work as I'm sure many others will now and for years to come.

    Ruth Gartenberg


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