Navigating this Genealogy Rabbit Hole

Click each FAMILY NAME above for information and photos; if you are using a cell phone, click on the menu bars to reveal the family names.  There are sub-headings with much more material, including history, documents, photos and texts.

Click on images to enlarge them; some may open in a new window and clicking the image again will enlarge it further.

LINKS are in red and lead to documents, photos and/or articles.  On family pages, sometimes there are links at the bottom of the page that will take you to a page for a SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL; there you’ll find a DESCENDANT CHART at the bottom of the page and some photos.  There are also search and comment features on these pages in the side panel.

Clicking on the banner “Goldstein, Battalen, Challov and Ronen Families” at the top of any page will return you to the HOME PAGE where the BLOG is.

The blog page has a SEARCH feature in the side panel.  All other pages have the search feature at the bottom of the page.

I’ve been doing genealogical research for several decades and often feel like I’m falling down a rabbit hole:  solving one mystery only leads to several more tantalizing questions.  But, it’s so much fun and I’m excited to use this site as a way to share the information with family and friends.  I read Hebrew and Yiddish and have a certain facility with languages, and am familiar with Ashkenazi Jewish history, customs, religion and naming patterns.  I have been actively reading both Jewish and non-Jewish genealogical resources for decades (Avotaynu: the International Review of Jewish Genealogy and Arthur Kurzweil’s Generation to Generation, to name two) and have attended Jewish genealogy conferences and webinars.  I feel fairly confident that I can, for example, look at a name like Uszer written in Polish and know that it is the Hebrew name Asher with a Yiddish pronunciation, and that I have a reasonably decent knowledge of how the Partitions of Poland affected Jewish life in eastern Europe. This has been enormously helpful.  Nevertheless, there is plenty that I don’t know, as I discover all the time.

You’ll see names spelled a variety of ways; this is very common with family history.  Spelling was not as uniform as we now insist that it be and even in official documents, spelling of names and locations varies.  People also gave varying answers to the simple question, “where were you born?”  The answer can be the city or village, the district, the province (gubernaya in the old Russian Empire) or other governmental unit, or simply the country.  Sometimes the name is the Yiddish version.  Because Poland was part of the Russian Empire from 1795-1918 or so, some of our grandparents were born in Russia but lived part of their lives in Poland.  So inconsistency is not necessarily wrong, but it is common.  And sometimes, documents just have incorrect information.

NOTE TO FAMILY MEMBERS: I know my own story and that of my immediate family better than I know yours.  Please correct me and add information and stories that you’d like to share.  You can do this by leaving a comment or just send me an email.  If you have photos or other media you’d like to share, please send them and feel free to write your own stories!  And if a link to a document or photo doesn’t open, let me know; it means I haven’t linked it properly.

If you’ve landed here and aren’t sure if you’re related, use the “CONTACT US” tab to send me an email.