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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Looking for Jewish Records

Marcia asked:
I've been following the interesting questions and have one of my own. I've been trying to find marriage information about my paternal grandparents. Hit the brick wall. I've contacted, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, looked at the indexed records to no avail. I have found them on a number of US Census records and think they were married in 1887 in Philadelphia, PA. Pretty sure about the place. I was hoping the marriage license would give some other information about them. They came over single at the time around 1882-1884 from Hungary. We feel fairly certain they arrived at the port of Philadelphia, PA. Grandfather's name on his naturalization cert reads: Mores Schlessinger. Later the spelling on all other documents is Morris W. Schlesinger. Grandmother's name is Rose Braun or Rosa Braun. She may have also used her middle name of Rachel. They were probably married in a Philadelphia synagogue. Thank you for any help or steering me in the right direction.

OliveTree Answer: Hi Marcia. I'm afraid I am not very familiar with Jewish records and this is when I wish I had Guest Responders standing by!

I do have an idea though which I hope will help you. You say that you found Morris' Naturalization Certificate. I found his Petition to naturalize online on Footnote.comicon but not his actual certificate. He petitioned in Pennsylvania in September 1895 but before 1906, the declaration of intent generally contains more genealogically useful information than the petition. Petitions before 1906 usually show only a name, former allegiance, and date of naturalization. The declaration may include the alien's exact date of immigration into the United States. Have you found his actual declaration?

I would also look for Synagogues in the area where you know Morris lived. Check for any records of his children's births as well as his marriage. Have you been to JewishGen website? If not you should go as you may find some help there. There is a Hungary database as well as many other genealogy records and help.


  1. It does not matter if the couple was Jewish or not - if they were married in Philadelphia in 1887, the records are now available online at the FamilySearch Records site at

    I did not find a match, however, based on the names above. But the questioner should know that many Philadelphia couples were married in three other places for various reasons: 1) Media, PA (Delaware County), 2) Camden, NJ, and 3) Elkton, MD. Those three spots were "hot spots" for Philadelphia couples that didn't want to wait the necessary time to get a license. Just a suggestion!

  2. Thanks for the help. I have my grandfather's final certificate of naturalization and a copy of the Footnote certificate. I will try the other cities suggested.

  3. Hi Marcia - But do you have your grandfather's Declaration of Intent to naturalize? It usually has more information than the Petition which is what has online.

  4. To Genealogy Blogger: I don't have the Declaration of Intent. I don't have any idea how to find it. I have the petition from Footnote and the lovely final cert. There were many changes in the rules for obtaining citizenship over the years and I am wondering if an intent cert was required then.