Family History Books

By Ann Rabinowitz

One of the interesting additions to the Mormon Family Search site is the family history books which have been scanned.  Going to the site,, one can plug in the search parameter of “Jew”.  Approximately fifty-one items pop up and each one of these will give a description and then one can view the scanned item.  However, despite being digitized, there are a few in this group which are limited to access at the Family History Library and a screen will pop up and let you know this.

A look at several of these family history books reveals a wide variety of unique topics and includes well-known works by Jewish genealogists such as Arthur Kurzweil as well as little known family historians and others.

Some of these books that can be found are as follows:

From Belarus to Cape Breton and beyond : my family, my roots by Lawrence Irving Gaum, 1938. 

The book provides information on the Gaum family who came to Canada from Kozhanhorodok, Belarus.  In addition, it discusses the Latucha/Goldstein and Marshal (Meisel) families.

The Hebrews in America, A Series of Historical and Biographical Sketches, by Isaac Markens, 1888.

Here, I found an interesting tidbit about the “demand for a new public place of amusement in the city of New York” which was met by the concomitant banning of the Yiddish Theater in Russia in 1883 causing professional Yiddish Theater troupes to flee to America.  This meant that in 1884, there was formation of the Russian-Hebrew Opera Company featuring Moses Silberman, Manager, and Joseph Lateiner, Composer.  The group, under the leadership of Moses Heine-Chaimovich, leased Turner Hall on E. 4th Street then took Folks Garden Hall on 113 and 113 ½ Street on the Bowery under a ten year lease which they renamed the Oriental Theater after the nearby Oriental Bank.  The theater held seats for up to 1,000 patrons and cost $0.25 to $1.00.  Their first performance was on May 23, 1884.

Members of the Russian-Hebrew Opera Company were such stars as Sonya Borodkin, Moshe Heine-Chaimovich, Abraham Schengold, Mrs. Moses Silberman, and Jacob Spivakovski, who came from such strongholds of the Yiddish Theater as Moscow, Odessa, Romania, and St. Petersburg.

“Township twenty-five : west of 2nd meridian, range 13, section 10” by Clara Schwartz Hoffer (1887-1975).

This tells the story of the 1905 homesteading experiences of, Clara Schwartz, a Jewish girl from Storozynetz, Bucovina (see JewishGen Yizkor Book link , and her husband, Israel Hoffer, from Kossowicz, Galicia.  They both left Europe on the same boat for Lipton, Saskatchewan, Canada, which was mainly in an unsettled remote rural area.  Further information on Lipton and its foundation can be found at:  and also:

“Eight Generations” by D.C. Vickers.

This book which mainly deals with a non-Jewish family tree, has three interesting references to Jewish families as follows:

JANE SUSANNAH LAULHE, (a Portuguese name, to be pronounced 'Loyle-yeh'), a Sephardi Jewish lady, dau. of Jacob Laulhe, by a dau. of Solomon de Castro (or de Castres) (of Dublin and London, d. 1740, s. of David de Castro, who d. at Leghorn on his way back from India c. 1700) by Rachel (m. Bevis Marks Synagogue, London, Sept. 1710), dau. of Abraham Bravo, an Anglo-Jewish poet.  Information about the Bravo and de Castro families will be found in 'The Jews of Ireland' by Louis Hyman (From Earliest Times to the year 1910), published by the Jewish Historical Society of England and Israel Universities Press in 1972 (See p.32).

DANIEL VICARS, of Ballyedmond, Queen's Co., Will dat. 13.4.1781, registered at Registry of Deeds, Dublin, July 1782, s. of Daniel Vicars of Castlegrogan and Ballyedmond (liv. 1753), who was nephew of John Mosse of Adnigall, Queen's Co. There is reason to believe that this Mosse family was of Ashkenazi Jewish Origin

SARAH BARKER, (m. Dec. 1736, d. 14-1-1775), dau. and co-heiress of Capt. George Barker, by Miss Switzer, of an Ashkenazi Jewish family connected with Braunsheim-in-Limburg, Germany.

“Austro-Hungarian Life in Town and Country” by Francis H.E. Palmer, 1903.

This book is one of a series of guides to various places in Europe.  It covers in vivid detail life in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was written at the turn of the century in a contemporary style which looks upon various ethnic groups in a picturesque manner very often using caricatures that were common at that time. 

If one uses Shift F3 and plugs in “Jew”, all the relevant references to them will pop up.  In addition to this book, one can find a number of other books by the same author including one about Russian life which has chapters on Jews: and others about Dutch, French and Swedish life as well.

“The Jews of Valencia and Tortosa and the Spanish Inquisition” by Betty G. Ventura, 2010.

The book covers the detailed archival research, particularly Inquisition records, conducted over a thirty year period regarding the Ventura family who lived during the 1300-1500 period in Spain and who later fled to Italy.  The book is of interest as Valencia and Tortosa were prominent places of Jewish settlement and livelihood in pre-Inquisition Spain.  

Looking at these examples of family history can give one ideas about how to write one’s own story or one can learn more about a particular family or place or something new altogether.  For instance, I particularly enjoyed learning more about the Sephardic research which was undertaken in the Ventura book above.  There is always so much more to learn apart from one’s own family!

1 comment:

  1. I just could not go away your website prior to suggesting that I really loved the standard info
    a person supply to your visitors? Is gonna be back often in order to inspect
    new posts

    my web site; how to lose weight fast


Comments are welcome. Please post responsibly.