Meet Martin Buckman

Martin Buckman has the enviable job of chronicling Jewish Baltimore.

For the past two years, this volunteer has been combing through birth announcements from the JMM’s collection of the Baltimore Jewish Times. He is putting together a database for the museum to help individuals search their family histories.

Martin is one of several volunteers compiling historical family data from these magazines. Eventually, the museum plans to create databases of weddings, b’nai mitzvahs and deaths for the local Jewish community to use.

For Martin, his search through old copies of the Baltimore Jewish Times, has become a labor of love. As he searches through old magazine copies, he is getting an insider’s look into the history of Jewish Baltimore for much of the past century. And he is coming face to face with some of his own memories growing up.

“I’m learning about the Jewish community as I go through the papers. I see bar mitzvahs and wedding announcements of my friends. During World War II, the magazine included a list of people who went into the service and I’m reading about my peers.”

“I see how synagogues have changed over the years; I’m reading about rabbis and cantors who are no longer alive,” he adds. “I’m looking at advertisements. Remember the Pimlico Restaurant? It’s funny seeing entrees advertised for $5 and $6.”

Throughout the process, Martin also discovered a number of interesting facts. For example, did you know Barbara and Howard were the number one names in Jewish Baltimore from 1928 – 1941?* This information, and information chronicled from weddings and b’nai mitzvahs, may help historians write about Jewish trends.

Meanwhile, the project has made Martin realize how much the museum has to offer.

“The museum is a rich depository of Maryland and Baltimore Jewish history,” he says. “Before I began, I didn’t realize it had these amazing resources for us to use.”

* The ten most popular female names from the 14-year era beginning in 1928 were (in descending order) Barbara, Elaine, Phyllis, Judith, Beverly, Lois, Harriett, Marcia, Ruth and Linda. The list of favorite male names was headed by Howard, David, Stanley, Robert, Louis, Barry, Edward, Richard, Joseph, Marvin, and Stuart or Stewart. During the four war years 1942 through 1945, Barbara was still the leading female name but the rest of the list changed somewhat to follow with Harriet, Susan, Linda, Ellen, Judith, and Marcia or Marsha. For the males, David moved to the top of a list that was sprinkled with some newcomers- Alan, Stephen or Steven, Michael, Richard, Barry, Howard, Robert, Harvey and Ronald.

After World War II, from 1946 through 1954, Susan rose to the top to become the favorite female name, followed by Barbara, Judith, Linda, Deborah or Debra, Ellen, Sharon, Nancy and Carol or Carole. Male names were dominated by Stephen or Steven, followed by Mark or Marc, Alan.

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