Posted in Dolger, Genealogy, Jewish Gen

Searching for Ida Gould’s vital records – across Belarus and Manhattan

I took some time away from my genealogy research – for gardening and birding in the summer months 🙂  When it got chilly again I came back and decided to get back in by going back to the basics – doing and documenting a vital record search for someone I was currently stuck on; Ida Gould, J’s maternal Great Great Grandmother (abt 1889- aft 1930).

Vital records include birth, marriage and death certificates.  These are important finds to frame research around a person but also can give you surprising clues to the next ancestor in the line! Birth certificates can give you date of birth, location of birth and parent’s name – including mother’s maiden name!  Marriage certificates – give you residence, maiden names and depending on location of marriage, parents name and origin.  Death certificates can give you parents’ names, residence at death, cause of death and exact date of death – all which are then useful to search for obituaries which can have a ton of information on someone’s life!

I find that it’s good to start by checking my expectations on what exists against a ‘Vital Records Chart’ that I keep in my research notebook from Family Tree Magazine – it lists the years when US states started recording state-level birth, marriage and death records.  Linked here


I know that Ida was born abt 1889 in Vitebsk, Russia (now Belarus).[1][2]   A lot of Jewish records have been digitalized, indexed and stored on JewishGen and/or in the Family History Library (a list of available Belarus records are listed on the FHL Research Wiki) .  I did a quick search on these two websites to see if I could find anything and nothing came up.  

I don’t feel very skilled yet in looking for jewish records in the old world (and have yet to identify any for J’s family), I also don’t have Ida’s maiden name, I’m not sure what the original spelling of Dolger was (it doesn’t come up in Jewish surname searches) and I don’t feel I have detailed enough information yet on where in Vitebsk they were from to search for records in Belarus extensively. Most of the microfilms available are organised by shtetl – which I have not identified yet for this family so will table this for now but will keep it on my list to explore as I get more familiar with these records.


I know that Ida came over around 1907 – possibly with her parents and siblings when she was about 18 years old.  We did not know if her parents did immigrate but I found a 1920 census with them living in New York with a young Hannah and a similar immigration year of 1906.[3]  I know Ida’s first husband was Max Coldofsky/Gould (he changed his last name to Gould in the US – we don’t know when).[4]  The family story is that Max was also from Vitebsk – there was a possibility they were married or knew each other there.[5]  It was also common for immigrants from similar areas of origin to arrive, live and meet in the same communities during this wave of immigration to New York.

I searched and found their marriage certificate index which showed me that Ida married Max Coldofsky on 18 June 1910 in Manhattan.[5]   The index on Ancestry did not show information on the actual certificate so I did a quick search on FamilySearch and found the certificate transcribed [6].  The transcription gave me names of their parents I had not seen before! Here is what I learned:

  • These two married in NY in 1910, therefore they both immigrated with their separate families before then
  • They were married with the surname Coldofsky – so we know Max changed the family name after 1910 to Gould
  • Max’s parents were listed as Wolf Coldofsky and Bluma Kislik
  • Ida’s parents were listed as Charles Dolger and Braena Sarvolsky.

While this was an exciting find, it put a little wrench in my research – Ida’s mother’s name here was different then what I had found on her sister’s Hannah certificate (which was Bala Zaralow that I wrote about last week here).[7]  Her father’s name was the same.  I’ve put on my list of things to do to go look at the original certificates at the Family History Library.  I have a little more work to do to figure out if Charles married again and/or if the sisters remembered different names for the same mother at the time of their marriage application – or if the transcription of the originals was just patchy.  

Max died in 1929 when Ida was 40 years old and I know she got remarried to Sam Epstein in Manhattan after his death.[5] I knew this information from interviewing J’s mom.   I looked for their marriage certificate and could not find it. I actually have not found anything connecting Sam and Ida so have put this on my list of things to ask J’s mother about over Thanksgiving – maybe he had a different name?


At the start of her death certificate search, I did not know when she died. I only know it had to be after 1930 as the last record I have for her is the 1930 Federal census when she lived with her son William, 19 and Jacob, 15 and was listed as a widow.[8] Nothing has come up with the names and dates I have for her after 1930 in New York

While I have a lot of information already to start looking for her parents, I think that I will continue the search for both her and her first husband’s death certificate by talking to J’s mom and going over the details she remembers on the year’s, dates and names at the time of her death (Ida potentially had 4 surnames in her life: Dolger, Coldofsky, Gould and Epstein).  The family story is that she may have committed suicide, the same as her first husband – having her death certificate may give us clues and/or help rebuild that story for the family.

Next Steps:

  • Talk to J’s mom about the details of Ida’s second marriage and the timeframe of her and her husbands’ deaths.
  • Look at the original marriage certificate at the Family History Library, along with what I can find for her siblings to review her mother’s name



On Family History Library Catalog  – place search

JewishGen Belarus Database


  1. Federal Census Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 17, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1216; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 1191; (separate pages indicate Ida with her family, and her parents Charles and Bessie in US)
  2. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942:  The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147 – Hyman Dolger, Ida’s brother lists Vitebsk as place of origin
  3. Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 1, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1183; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 16; Image: 1006 (the page for Charles, Bessie and Hannah showing Charles and Bessie immigrated around 1906)
  4. “New York, New York, Marriage Index 1866-1937,
  5. Pearlman Family Oral History and old family tree
  6. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch ( : 20 March 2015), Max Coldofsky and Ida Dolgor, 18 Jun 1910; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,503,747.
  7. Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1497; Page: 51A; Enumeration District: 1293; Image: 275.0; FHL microfilm: 2341232
  8. Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1497; Page: 51A; Enumeration District: 1293; Image: 275.0; FHL microfilm: 2341232
Posted in Belarus Genealogy, Dolger, Genealogy, Jewish Gen

Finding Bessie Zaralow – Clues from an old handwritten family tree

I found two new names that extend J’s maternal family tree! Charles Dolger and Bessie Zaralow, his Great Great Grandparents who immigrated from Vitebsk, Belarus around 1905 – formerly Russia [1][2][*]. I had hit a brick wall on this line – but broke through by studying a family tree drawn from the memory of J’s mother and researching the sibling names listed for our known ancestor on that tree (Ida Dolger, J’s Great Grandmother, b1889).[3]

I had started searching for the parents of both J’s Great Grandparents on this line – Max Coldofsky Gould (1886-1929) and Ida Dolger. We did not have any information on their parents’ names or really anything on their life before they were married and had their first child (J’s maternal grandfather William).  Since I didn’t have much on Ida I started with her siblings.  I knew from interviewing J’s mother and looking at an old hand-written family tree the names of Ida’s 4 siblings: Hyman, Hanna, Anne and Flora. [3]  

J’s mother’s memories included those of her Aunt Hanna who married Maurice Berry and had a successful dress shop in Brooklyn called Berry’s dress shop. She shared some pictures she had of this family along with the stationary she had from Hanna’s shop (Circa 1942). [4]  (Dress Shop Picture)

Stationary from Berry’s Dress Shop circa 1940s

I started with Hanna because I thought that she would more likely have left a document trail or be found in old newspapers since she had owned a dress shop.  I searched historical newspapers in Brooklyn and found Maurice’s obituary. This gave me his death date, his birth year, the correct spelling of Hannah (we had Hanna before) and their son’s name [5].  This was really helpful because my assumed birthdates for Maurice and Hannah were actually 10 years off and I couldn’t find any records on them.  I had been looking for them with a birth year close to Ida’s – who is actually 10 years older than her sister Hannah!  With the correct information on birth year I was able to find Maurice in the 1930 census.  

Maurice and Hannah
Hannah and Maurice Berry (1930s or 40s?)

Maurice is found in Brooklyn living on Nathan Street listed as a contractor in the dress industry. In his house is a Hannah Berry, Jerome Berry and a new name – Bessie Dolger, mother in law to the head of the house and listed as a widow.  The census also gives me an immigration year for both Hannah and her mother Bessie as 1907 [6]. I can assume that this is the same year Ida, our ancestor, came over as she likely was with her sister (Hannah) and their mother (Bessie). I also took the detailed information on Hannah and Maurice and found their marriage certificate which lists both Hannah’s parents as Charles Dolger and Bala Zaralow [3].  

1930 Federal Census Record

Citation [1]
I searched ‘Bala’ on the ‘ Given Name Variation Search’ option on Ancestry and found that Bessie is one form Bala was translated in the United States [7].  I’m excited now to get back to Ida with this information to search for her immigration records and maybe see if I can find anything more on Bala/Bessie Zaralow.  But this research already gave us an exciting new surname to  put on our family list!  

Name Insert

I think my next steps will be:

  • Ensuring I have exhausted the vital record search for the siblings
  • Research Hyman Dolger and family for any hints
  • Search immigration records based on dates found


  1. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch( : 20 March 2015), Maurice Berry and Hannah Dolger, 30 Jun 1923; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,914
  2. Confirmation of Vitebsk origin: Family documents and various records – see *below
  3. Family Tree Drawing 
  4. Berry’s Dress Shop Stationary
  5. Maurice Berry Obituary 1977: The New York Times. New York, NY, USA: The New York Times, 1851-2001; Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003,
  6. 1930 Federal Census; Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1497; Page: 51A; Enumeration District: 1293; Image: 275.0; FHL microfilm: 2341232
  7. Jewish Given Name Variations: Jewish Given Name Variations [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: This data is provided in partnership with

*Vitebsk, Russia – is also listed on Hyman Dolger (brother of Hannah and Ida) World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.  Vitebsk is a city and a gubernia in present day Belarus – formerly of Russia

*Featured picture – Ida Dolger Gould, possibly 1920s but date unconfirmed.  



Posted in Uncategorized

RootsTech Family History Conference – my experience & recommendations!

I went to RootsTech this year and had an amazing time learning, listening, meeting fellow genealogists, and spending time on my family history research – a full week to myself in the flow of genealogy.  RootsTech is the largest genealogy conference in the world held in Salt Lake City with over 200  learning sessions, inspiring speakers and an expo hall for Family History and Technology exhibitors.  Almost 30,000 fellow family historians, or as Steve Rockwood, CEO of Family Search called us ‘the Heart Specialists of our families,’ attended so you really were able to immerse yourself!  I missed my family but felt rejuvenated and rested when I came back. It was a nice retreat, genealogist style.  One of my favorite moments was after Lavar Burton (Roots, Star Trek) opened African American Heritage Day with a powerful message on strength, diversity and acceptance, he was presented with part of his genealogy by the FamilySearch researchers that he didn’t know about before.  Using newly digitalised African American Freedmen Bureau’s records (announced at RootsTech) they were able to find his ancestors who lived during emancipation.  It was an emotional discovery for him, in his words he found ‘his people.’  To lighten up the emotional tear-filled moment he asked the crowd of 30,000 thousand people ‘is this what you all do all day?’ We all laughed and said Yep!


The week was really jam packed with so much and I never got bored!  Here are a few highlights, memories and reminders for next year:

Some Conference Highlights

  • African American Heritage Day: Lavar Burton, Nkoyo Imambu and Genealogists Kenyatta Berry,  Sherri Camp, &  Melvin Collier  – beautifully discussed our African American Heritage in a way that remembered the atrocities of slavery but also recognized and honored how people who were brought here in forced slavery were significant contributors to our economy and also our culture – bringing ‘soul’ to America.  There where also some exciting announcements for those researching African American ancestors including the newly digitized Freedmen Bureau records to help break down the 1870 brickwall. Livestream recorded here.
  • CeCe Moore, Your Genetic Genealogist, a keynote speaker on the capabilities of DNA data.  This was entertaining, inspiring and exciting to hear about what we can do and will be able to do with DNA data for genealogy.  She contemplated and discussed the question ‘We know DNA passes down physical traits, but what else can it pass down?’  I decided to purchase a DNA kit after hearing her speak to at least start figuring out how to use the data as a genealogy tool after this. Her livestream recorded here
  • Jewish Genealogy learning opportunities. There were courses almost everyday to specifically help with Jewish Genealogy and a number of genealogists around to talk to and ask for advice.  JewishGen and IAJGS both had a booth in the expo hall as well.  Lara Diamond’s Where to Look and What’s Available for Jewish Genealogy helped me with making a list of records and places to search I had not thought of before. For example, she found a few important records for her family by asking Jewish historical institutions and museums where her ancestors lived if they had any un-indexed boxes of records in storage she could look at.   It was also exciting to hear about the efforts being done to rescue and digitize records in Eastern Europe that will be helpful for us to make family links before immigration.  This session was also live streamed here.   
  • GeneaBloggers has documented a summary of all the sessions that were livestreamed and where you can access them here. Livestreaming for select sessions reached over 100,000 households!

Here is a List of the Break-Out Sessions I attended:

Learning Paleography

Some Next Steps for me:

  • So much! I wish I had another week of vacation just to work on everything I learned!
  • Organize and analyze the documents and data from the Family History Library
  • Develop/modify Research Plans – I took a class on developing research plans and learned about a ton of new records and where I can find them throughout the week.
  • Focus on Naturalization Records hunt for immigrant ancestors
  • Download Google Earth Maps plus and start mapping our ancestors
  • Make a wish list of apps, resources and technology I learned about
  • DNA tests – Ancestry was selling DNA kits for half price, I picked up 2 to take the DNA plunge
  • Prepare for my next conference 🙂 I would love to attend IAJGS this year in Orlando, but not sure I can swing two conference in one year!


Reminders and Recommendations for Next Year:

  • Download the RootsTech App before the Conference and start marking sessions you would like to take – you can build a schedule in the app!
  • Try to leave space in your suitcase to bring stuff home and budget to buy things in the Expo Hall (amazing deals) – books, charts, family history memorabilia, historic maps, genealogy tools, DNA kits, children’s books, games, ect.
  • Be a part of the conversation and link up with others on Twitter using the #RootsTech hashtag.
  • Remember that booths like Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilySearch and Genealogy Gems also have 30 minute classes throughout the day in the Expo Hall.  The schedules at their booths.
  • Have back up classes in case yours is full (for sessions you are really excited about go 10-15 minutes early to get a seat).
  • Wear comfortable shoes, clothes and layers.  There was a coat check for 2 dollars, cash only.
  • Bring a phone charger, snacks, water, phone with camera, note taking supplies (you get a free RootsTech bag with registration).  There was also water and food for sale in the convention center.
  • There is a coffee stand in the convention center and a Starbucks right in front in the Marriott Hotel.
  • Do not miss the keynotes.  All of them were inspiring, well put together and great speaking. I even sat in the back and it was still amazing – everyone was on a big screen and you still felt the energy.
  • Go to the entertainment events at night even if for a little bit. There are fun giveaways and just fun to see the energy of your fellow genealogists together.  I was invited to a Friday Shabbat dinner with some other Jewish Genealogists and meeting them was one of my highlights!
  • Books that I saw in the exhibit hall were sold out by the last day (when I waited) some booths were offering free shipping though.
  • The Family History Library is so close – you can even go during the 90 minute lunch break and they were open until 9 pm. I recommend walking down there as soon as you get there to get familiar with it so you can take advantage of it through-out the week when you find time. I wrote a little about visiting the FHL at this link.
  • Try to stay organized by labeling and filing data from the FHL, notes and information, next steps, project ideas and handouts electronically as you go so that you aren’t overwhelmed when you get back (I used google drive on my phone to do this – I downloaded the handouts from the app directly there) it was a bit of a distraction to do this after every session but well worth it in the end
Posted in Genealogy, Jewish Gen, Michlosky, Poland

Family History Library Visit and Polish Ancestral Town Findings

I was in Salt Lake City this past week for RootsTech and took the opportunity to visit the Family History Library and found a few interesting items.

The Family History Library is the largest genealogy library in the world holding over 2 million microfilms of important genealogical records and about half a million books. It was founded in 1894 by the LDS church to help their members in family history research but is generously open to everyone to visit.

There is one floor filled with microfilms of US records ranging from vitals, church records, old newspaper, military records and other records that were saved and might be interesting for researchers looking for people born before 1930. There is another floor entirely full of genealogy books organized by each state and there is also an international floor in the basement with both microfilm and genealogy books – mostly in foreign languages. This is where I spent most of my time.  On the ground floor is the Family Discovery Center where you can look up immigration patterns on large screens, take pictures in your ancestors clothes, and even make your own video recording to include in your family tree. In total there are 5 floors.

I found a few missing vital records for our family tree in the US microfilm collection and was able to look at some interesting maps and books on the areas our families are from.  One of my favorite finds was a microfilm of the ‘Civil Registration of Jewish births, marriages, and deaths for Wiżajny, Poland from 1829-1880′. Wiżajny is where I currently believe the Michloskys are from. I haven’t confirmed this and am still looking for a record or source that places these surnames there.  I came up with this assumption by taking the name of a shtetl of origin I found for Jacob Michlosky in a history book and searched on JewishGen.   Present day Wiżajny, Poland (Vizhon [Yid]) was the closest match. I found the the civil registration records in the Family History Library by searching ‘Wizanjy’ in the place search option in the catalog and then clicking on Jewish Records under the findings list.

Unfortunately these documents were only in Russian and Polish and very tiny writing so I couldn’t search through them for a connection. But being able to look at them was still well worth the effort as you can see they are beautiful.  Knowing that they are there is also helpful.  I might try to take a Russian, Polish or Yiddish for genealogists course and maybe one day be able to look through them meaningfully for a Michlosky (our surname possibly from there) reference.

FHL Source for Wizanjy Jewish Vital Records
Some tips for visiting the Family History Library

  • If you are in Salt Lake City, make sure you set time aside to visit the FHL – both for research and the Discovery Center (30 minutes to an hour in the Discovery Center)
  • Ask for help! The people there are so nice and eager to help you – they will help you learn how to find microfilm, how to use the microfilm readers, how to save documents you find in the best format, and even give you advice on genealogical brick walls
  • Bring a USB – you can use their computers to save documents found on microfilm. You can also buy one there if needed
  • Bring bottled water
  • You can bring your own computer, but there are computers there to use (I did not need my own)
  • Try to come prepared with microfilm or books that you would like to look at.  This will save time and help you not be so overwhelmed.  You can search the Library catalog from home here
  • Look for and/or request your microfilm list when you first get there.  One of the microfilms I wanted (1 out of 10) was in storage and took a couple days to come in.
  • Bring your camera/smart phone and have a scan app on it – and charger!  
  • Also (which I did not know) there might be a Family History Library Center near you and you can request an interlibrary loan if you can’t make it to SLC!


FHL Family  Discovery Center – Where are your from?
Notes and Links

Posted in Genealogy, Jewish Gen, Pearlman

Pearlmans – From Russia to New Jersey to Pennsylvania

Meyer and Anna Pearlman 

Meyer Pearlman is J’s Great Grandfather.  He is the Pearlman immigrant who came over to America from Minsk, Belarus (then Russia) abt 1900.  Things I would like to know about Meyer:

  • Where in Minsk did he come from?
  • Information on his family in Belarus

Here is what I know now of Meyer [Myer, Max].  Myer was born on January 10, 1880 in Minsk Russia to Julius Yuna [Jacob] Pearlman and Ida Woodinski. [1] [2][3][4]I believe he came over between 1898 and 1900 when he was about 20 years old.[5] He was naturalised in 1915. [4]

His sisters and brothers were the following who also came over – Hannah Pearlman Margolin, Sam, Harry, Louis, Charles, Carl and Henry (unconfirmed).

He was married to Anna [Hannah, Annie].  Who also came over between 1897 before Meyer according to the 1910 census or with him in 1898 and was naturalised in 1915 according to the 1920 census.[4] Meyer and Anna married around 1903 – that year he was 23 years old and she was 20.[5] She was 15 years old in 1898 when she arrived, therefore I am making the assumption she came over with her family and was married to Meyer in the USA.[6]

Meyer and Anna had four children:  James Max Pearlman Stacey (1904-1961), Pearl Pearlman Epstein (1906-1994), Sidney Pearlman, J’s Grandfather (1910-1988), and Florence Pearlman Vitale (1917-19884).  Their first 4 children were born in Newark, NJ and Florence was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

In 1910, Meyer lived in Newark City, New Jersey where there was a community of 80,000 Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. He was 31 and lived with his wife Anna, 28. He was a laborer working in the Spring Beds industry and his wife stayed home.  They lived with their children Max, 6, Pearl, 4 and Celia, 3 months. They rented a house on Somerset Street. Meyer and Anna’s native tongue was Yiddish but they both spoke English.  Meyer most likely had family or community connections from Minsk in Newark and went there first before moving on to Wilkes-Barre.  It’s possible they attended one of the immigrant synagogues started in the rented quarters and he visited the Young Men’s Hebrew Association at some point. [7]  

1910 Federal Census Newark

By 1914, the Pearlmans moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where they lived until 1942. In 1905 there was around a total population of 1,800 jewish residents  in Wilkes-Barre with 4 synagogues and a number of education and social institutions.[8] In 1914, they lived on 58 North Sherman Street when the Wilkes-Barre Record reported that there was a case of Scarlet Fever in the Pearlman Household.[9]


By 1918, Meyer was living on 241 East Market Street.  He was 39 years old and was working as a Mechanic at Nelson Brothers.  Meyer was 5’4” and had blue eyes and dark hair according to his WWI draft card:[10]


In 1920, Meyer and Anna, 42 and 38,  still lived at 241 East Market Street with Max, 15, Pearl, 13, Sidney, 9 and Florence, 2.  They were naturalised citizens at this time.  The children were in school, Anna stayed home and Meyer worked as a Laborer in a Silk Mill.[11] He is also listed in the 1921 Wilkes-Barre City Directory as a grocer and in 1923 as a Laborer. [ 12]

1920 Federal Census Wilkes-Barre, PA
1921 Wilkes-Barre City Directory
1923 Wilkes-Barre City Directory

In 1922 it appears that Meyer bought 236 East Market Street which they lived in by 1925 when Meyer was 45 years old and was the Department Superintendent at Nelson Brothers, where his son Sidney, at 14 also worked at that time [13][14]

1925 Wilkes-Barre City Directory



By 1942, Meyer at 62 and Anna at 59 moved to Brooklyn, Kings, New York where their daughter Pearl Epstein lived with her family.  Meyer and Anna lived with Pearl at 567 Monroe Street, Brooklyn the same address that Martin Epstein and his parents (who also immigrated from Minsk)  lived at for over 30 years since about 1925 (according to census records under the Epstein family tree). [15] Meyer passed away in 1951 at 71 and Anna Pearlman died in 1950 at Sixty-seven. They are both buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queen’s New York.[16]


  1. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [Database online,] – note his WWI card has 15th January 1979
  2. Samson, Robert  Genealogy Research: Meyer Pearlman Genealogy Family Sheet’ Manhasset Hills, New York. 23 August 1992
  3. US Social Security Application. Meyer Pearlman. 10th January 1980
  4. 1920 Federal Census [Database online,]
  5. 1910 Federal Census [Database online,]
  6. The information I have from Robert Samson’s genealogy is that Anna and Family are from ‘Starin, Russia’ – I have not yet done any research on her family
  8. History of the Jews in Pennsylvania
  9. History of the Jews in Pennsylvania 2
  10. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. [online database]
  11. 1920 Federal Census [Online database,]
  12. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 1921 WIlkes Barre, PA; 1923 Wilkes Barre PA (both copied inserts)
  13. – The Wilkes-Barre Record – 22 Feb 1922, Wed – Page 8
  14. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995: 1925, Wilkes Barre, PA
  15. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [Database online,] – note his WWI card has 15th January 1979
  16. Meyer Pearlman Find a Grave
  17. Further Information to Confirm: There is another name for a child in the 1910 – Celia who was 3 months old during the 1910 Federal Census completed in April – putting her birth in February 1910 (is this Sidney?
  18. Currently looking for Naturalization Records
Posted in Belarus Genealogy, Genealogy, Jewish Gen, Pearlman

Finding an Elusive Maiden Name Through Social Security Documents

I got an amazing genealogical gift through the mail – a new surname for the family from Minsk, Belarus! I received the Social Security Application for J’s Great Grandfather, Meyer Pearlman, in the mail which gave me the maiden name of his mother, Ida Woodinski.  We believe Meyer (1880-1951), our immigrant ancestor, came over without his parents, Julius [Jacob] and Ida Pearlman who stayed in Minsk (then Russia) where they were born around 1845 and died between 1900-1910.[1]  I had requested the application from the Social Security Administration about 5 weeks ago. It was incredibly exciting to open and see new information, because I wasn’t keeping track of when it would come and I wasn’t sure if they would even be able to find it.[2]

The record was signed by Meyer Pearlman on December 1, 1936.  It gave me information on his address during that time, his employer and employer’s address, his birthdate, his place of birth (listed as Minsk, Russia), his father’s name and his mother’s maiden name.  We had seen most of this information before, but Woodinski was new! Woodinski could also be a variation of of Yiddish Budinsky, or Budensky. [3]  This find gives us a whole new line to look at and another possible way to link us to somewhere in Minsk.

The other interesting piece I found on this document to explore was Meyer’s father’s first name, Jacob.  I had his name as Julius Yuna Pearlman until we saw this document.  His name Julius came from genealogical research done by J’s Great Uncle 20 years ago so I will need to do some more digging and cross checking with both of the names.


US Social Security Applications – What is it and how to get it

The Social Security Administration grew out of the period after the depression in the 1930s – which began a call for change to support the Americans in times of economic shock, leading to the signing of the Social Security Act in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Social Security Act included several provisions for general social welfare as well as a continuing income for retired workers, aged 65 and older (a major issue of the depression being our elderly population was living on complete dependency and unable to work).[4]

Social Security poster; FDR Library Photo Collection [5]

I found my ancestors’ Social Security Application through two steps;  1) Searching for the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) where you might a social security number and then 2) Send in a request for their Application for a Social Security Number, Form SS-5 – which has all of this information I listed above!

You can search for a deceased person’s Social Security Death Index (SSDI) if they passed after 1962 on familysearch or ancestry sites.  The Social Security Act was passed in 1935, so any person alive after 1935 could have a SSDI and/or an application record.  The SSDI has limited information (it can be used as a proof of death) but you can take the Social Security Number listed on the SSDI and send away for the original Social Security Application that was most likely completed and signed by your ancestor.  A request for this document can be done through the Social Security Administration using a Form SSA-771 under the Freedom of Information Act.  This can be done online if you are sure you do not need a proof of death with your application.  The Social Security Administration is only able to send you documents for persons who are at least 100 years old along with proof of death and/or they are more than 120 years old.

Here are a few links that helped me::

Family Search  Summary of US Social Security Records for Genealogists

Social Security Administration Online Request for Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record


  1. Various census records of children who mother and father from Minsk Russia: 1910 Federal Census [Database online,]
  2. Social Security Application, 1936.  United States Social Security Administration Archives
  3. JewishGen search for potential matches
  4. History of Social Security Administration:
  5. FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 53-227(1733).(picture)
Posted in Genealogy, Jewish Gen, Michlosky

Bottling Whisky in 1880 Pennsylvania – Michlosky History

Dollar Weekly News (Wilkes-Barre) 7 May 1887

I found some entertaining newspaper articles from the 1880s about Jacob Michlosky (1852-1900), [1] J’s Great Great Grandfather, and one of his businesses.   Jacob immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe in about 1870 and lived in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.[2]   The first article I found was from 1887 (below) that discusses a court proceeding in regards to Jacob’s ‘Quart License Application’.[3]  The District Attorney  and City Attorney were his counsels and they presented evidence to show ‘the applicant was a proper person.’ Their argument also included information that Hungarians, Polanders and prominent people in town patronize his place and ‘bring their little jug’ to have it filled. Then there are two women who argue against him,  testifying that they have witnessed a lot of people leaving his place drunk! One of these women was Mrs. Hughes – who afterwards Mrs. Michlosky testified that ‘in fact’ Mr. Hughes had come in to get a quart of whisky but she didn’t give it to him because he had no money! Jacob also included in his testimony that he did not sell Liquor on Sunday except for one day when Mrs. Vanarsdale had the cramps.  The sub heading of the newspaper page was ‘The Women’s Temperance Union of that borough present in a body some lively and interesting testimony.’  There was a full page of articles about the temperance movement arguing against hotel, restaurant and quart license applications! It must have been a lively day at court! [3]  

I found another instance Jacob was listed under the Restaurant and Quarts applicant list.  The newspaper says that a Quart License is a license to ‘sell liquor buy the Quart and as bottlers’. [4] The newspapers  also talk about increased patronage, patrons going Jacob’s to fill up jugs.[5]  It sounds to me that he was running ‘jug house’ or bar at his home.  He did not have a restaurant license in 1887 but later his sons Joseph and Harry ran a restaurant – it could be the same place, the jug house could have evolved into a restaurant [6] (which later evolved into a successful banquet hall run by Harry and Joseph according to newspaper announcements[7]). I’m assuming our ancestor was running a neighborhood bar, maybe even a distillery where he lived in the Heights of Wilkes-Barre (the Jewish neighborhood at that time) in the time of the temperance movement.[4][8]

Wilkes-Barre Semi Weekly Record, April 1887 [4]
The Sunday Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA), June 1887 [5]
In doing a little research, I found out that bottling/jug houses/bars were common before 1900, as glass bottles were too expensive for whisky producers before the invention of automatic bottling machines.  Hand blown bottles were fragile and rarely used.  Instead, consumers would bring their own bottle, flask or jug to purchase whisky from the barrel wherever it was sold locally like the one pictured below (The same for other goods such as sacks for flour, barrel for lard, ect).[9][10]  I also read a few articles that mentioned that Pennsylvania was famous for its Rye before Prohibition (1919) and that whisky distillers survived during the time of the temperance movement and prohibition by promoting the drink as an important medicine – as in the article of J’s Great Great Grandfathers court proceedings.[11][3]    


  1. Jacob Michlosky, Holche Yoscher Cemetery; Hanover, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
  2. 1900 Federal Census Records; Year: 1900; Census Place: Census Place: Wilkes Barre Ward 9, Luzerne, Pennsylvania; Accessed Ancestry.Com
  3. ‘Granting License; Orphans Court, Saturday’ Dollar Weekly News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) 7 May 1887, Sat • Page 8
  4. ‘License Applications to run hotels, restaurants and to sell liquor buy the Quart and as bottlers.’ Wilkes-Barre Semi-Weekly Record – 22 Apr 1887, Fri – Page 5
  5. The Sunday Leader  (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) 19 Jun 1887, Sun • Page 8
  6. ‘Business Men’s Gossip’ Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) 28 Mar 1904, MonPage 2
  7. ‘Hampton Hall: Amusement Hall employees guest of their employers.’ The Wilkes-Barre Record  (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) 28 Dec 1914, MonPage 11
  8. Levin, Marjorie, The Jews of Wilkes-Barre : 150 years (1845-1995) in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania: Wilkes-Barre, Pa. : Jewish Community
    Center of Wyoming Valley, 1999.
  9. ‘History of Spirits in America.’ Distilled Spirits Council of the United States [Accessed November 2016] 
  10. Oatman-Stanford, Hunter. ‘Drunk History: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of All-American Whiskey’ 12 August 2015; Collector’s Weekly [Accessed November 2016]
  11. Veach, Michael.Dating Old Whiskey Bottles from the 19th Century.’ The Bourbon Review; 15 February 2016; 
  12. Note to do further research on Jug House and vario
    us articles on Tippling House and context of selling liquor in 1880s
  13. Note to do further research at the ‘Orphans Court’  and ‘Quarter Sessions’ records in Luzerne County, PA
  14. Notes for further research: in newspaper articles in 1888-1889 appears to be a rivalry with a A.Rush Pembleton, various incidences wgere each are witness against each other in liquor cases