Who were my great-grandmother's parents?
Did Zaide have brothers and sisters in Europe?
How did we get to America?
Bubbe's town was called something like...

What was once called the Iron Curtain made it impossible to do any significant family research regarding much of Eastern Europe.  Today, however, much is available with the help of researchers, archives and even online.  This is true, of course of US and other western sources.

So on one hand, there is much to be found, but on the other hand there are so many different places to look and many new sources come available every year.  Some sources are free, some charge for information and still others are accessible by subscription.  Many will give you a peek at no charge, but require a fee or a subscription for more detailed information or for the actual records.

American records that can lead back to Europe include passenger manifests, naturalization records, census records, birth, death and marriage records and more.  Knowing where and how to search is no small matter.

Many European records are available, but finding them can also be tricky, especially for the novice.

Family projects and town projects are often a  matter of stop-and-start, taking shape over months or even years as more sources beccome available and as new information leads in new directions.  Sometimes you can go back in time easily.  Sometimes that path is blocked, but the path to the brothers and sisters, the uncles and aunts and their descendants may be wide open.

I had one case where five brothers went to New York from Europe before WWI and none of their US records named their town of origin.  In the US, it was common to write "Russia" or "Poland" or "Galicia" and this was sufficient for the authorities. Eventually I found that one of them had named his birthplace on his WWII "Old Men's Draft" registration and everything took off from there.

Contact Israel Pickholtz, Solutions and you may be surprised to find records that still exist.

Can you show me how to do this kind of research myself?

Sure, there are things I can show you.  And some are worth your while learning, especially if it is a long-term project and you have the time to devote to it.

In other cases - depending on the scope of the project - it may be worth your while to collaborate.  You interview the relatives and gather the low-hanging fruit, but let me do the harder work, the things that require more professionalism.

Contact Israel Pickholtz, Solutions and let's see what we can do together.

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