Snyder/Gouline/Highstein/Bass - 2021 New Year Genealogy Letter

 Happy New Year Family,

As I mentioned in last year's genealogy letter I co-taught a three-day class on Jewish Genealogy in June for my Temple, Beth Ami. Unfortunately, it was taught over Zoom because of the pandemic, however class went extremely well and I received wonderful reviews.  Based on our performance we were invited to teach a 1/2 day class to our local Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington.  I'll also be solo teaching a 4 evening class for the Vitality Society in January. (, thanks to a referral from our cousin Canter Daniel Singer of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan. 

I'd like to welcome Dan to the family, he is my 5th cousin 1x removed through the Highstein, Krieger, Shenker, and Khazen family-line as his Father's Singer family name was changed from Khazen a few generations back. Dan was nice enough to include me in a Zoom genealogical family meet-up this summer.

I'd also like to welcome Ellen Davis to the family. Ellen is a member of Beth Ami and we've been exploring how we are doubley related. DNA shows that her Mother (nee Bass) is related to my Father; and my Mother is related to her Father.  We have yet to figure out common ancestors, but we'll keep digging. 

Finally, I'd like to welcome Mark and Robin Wolff. Robin and I have been exchanging emails about the Bass family. Mark is the Grandson of Meyer Bass, who is the son of Louis Bass, Lena Bass Snyder’s Grandfather.  Robin has helped me fill in many of the relatives from Louisville, Kentucky.

The 2020 IAJGS conference in San Diego became virtual. Despite this group not being an Information Technology organization, it was the best put together virtual conference I attended this year. I attended a number of conferences and hands down this was the best. They had breakout rooms and everything, including some game-nights and happy hours. The 2021 conference will be in Philadelphia, unless it also goes virtual.

I've continued to participate in Kremenets District Research Group and am planning on implementing a facial recognition research page composed of Kremenetsers. KDRG also recently published a hard-copy of the Kremenets Yizkor Book available through JewishGen (, mine is on order and I hope to have it shortly.

Vilkija has been added my list of ancestral towns; it located in Lithuania on the Nemenus River not far from Kaunas. Carol and I visited Vilkija when we were on our Eastern European tour (see pictures). This was the birthplace of Moshva Tamshe and Iosel Tamshe my 6th and 5th G-Grandfathers and possibly Reiza Tamshe Kreiger, G-Grandmother of Celia Krieger Highstein. 

Also added to my family tree were Ajzik Barbas and Khaya Barbas Shkurnik my 4th G-Grandmother and her father from Kremenets, G-Grandmother of Rachel Ochs Gouline.

Dan Singer recently shared with me the publication "Jews on the Map of Lithuania: Birzai - Preserving Jewish Heritage and Historical Memory" (, although mostly in Russian, there is an English summary. The document includes a map of the Birzai Cemetary with half of the 1600 headstones transliterated. The only person I've found, so far, was an in-law relative of the Bass family. I'll continue looking, as surnames are not on these headstones, so I need to validate through parentage and date of death.

As of this writing, I've documented 92 direct ancestors, going back up to 9 generations. My tree has 3823 people, including ancestors, their cousins, and links to cousins who have helped my expand my ancestry. 

I'd like to reiterate that if anyone has or plans to do DNA analysis, I'd appreciate your sharing with me as it helps in validating my research and often helps in tracking down cousins who may have genealogy information to help me out.

Lastly, if anyone wants to do a Zoom share of my research, I'm more than happy to walk you through pieces of our shared family history. Just send me a request.

Love to All and Please be Safe,



Researching: Snyder, Highstein, Bass, Bashes, Musicant, Khait, Shenker, Kreiger, Paliukar, Zaidel, Kats, Tamshe, Altschul, and Khazan. 

In Lithuania: Birzai, Pasviten, Linkova, Pasvalys, Krekenava, Pumpėnai, Pakruojis, Varniai and Vilkija.

Researching: Gouline, Galon, Oks, Gertsberg, Shkurnik, and Barbas

In Ukraine: Radyvyliv, Lutzk, Kremenets, and Zholudsk.

Photos from Vilkija, Lithuania (Michael and Carol's tour)