August 5, 2013 Who Do You Think You Are? Alert -- Tomorrow night s program (Tues. August 6, 9 p.m.,TLC) -- will feature Chelsea Handler, who was raisedMessage 1 of 35 , Aug 5View Source
August 5, 2013"Who Do You Think You Are?" Alert -- Tomorrow night's program (Tues. August 6, 9 p.m.,TLC) -- will feature Chelsea Handler, who was raised Jewish in a family with a Jewish father and Mormon mother. She will apparently learn that her grandfather was a Nazi soldier during World War Il.Upcoming Meetings:Sunday, August 18, 10 a.m., Sacramento -- Gary Sandler on "Citations Made Simple"Sunday, September 15, Sacramento -- Elizabeth Rynecki, "The Paintings of Moshe Rynecki"Sunday, September 22, 2 p.m., Davis -- "Ukraine Scrapbook, A Journey of 105 Years," -- Allan DolgowNotes from July 21, 2013 MeetingPresident Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and mentioned upcoming meetings (see above). The Boston IAJGS conference is coming up August 4-9; Bob Wascou and Teven Laxer will be attending.On Saturday, October 12, Family History Day will take place at the State Archives. Victoria is chairing the event, whose theme this year is "Immigration and Migration." For $5, you can buy the syllabuses that include notes for each of the presentations.Mort Rumberg talked about his recent trip to Angel Island, which he described as "fantastic." He went on the historical tour of what has been called the "Ellis Island of the West," and strongly recommends it.The Sacramento Public Library is continuing its free programs.July SpeakerGena Philibert-Ortega: The WPA-- Resources for your GenealogyGena is the author of more than 100 articles in genealogy newsletters and magazines. www.genaphilibertortega.com . Her writings can also be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. She is also the author of the books, "Putting the Pieces Together" and the "Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra" (Arcadia Publishing, 2007). Gena serves as vice-president for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.Gena spoke about the Works Progress Administration of President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, later called the Works Project Administration.In 1933, she said one quarter of workers were unemployed. The WPA began in 1935 and lasted eight years, building bridges, sidewalks and other public works. The agency employed 8.5 million people.The WPA also made indexes for-- burials in cemeteries-- federal and state indexes,-- did Soundex index-- index to naturalized records-- index to newspapers-- inventories to records in county courthouses-- descriptions of manuscripts found in various libraries-- church christening records-- churches and synagogues -- historical recordsAlso,-- Historic American Building Survey, a pictorial record-- Federal Writers-- wrote American state guides, histories, America EatsYou can find these through the Library of Congress, "American Memory," as well as the National Archives site."American Memory" is composed of digital collections. You can browse by topics, but Gena suggests you put "list all collections" and review the list, clicking on the ones of interest.She says things are not always indexed by name, and you can search by place and time period."American Life Histories" -- these are manuscripts from the Federal Writers Project, 1936-40. There are 445 interviews from Texas, for example.There are copyright-free photos, such as those from Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. There is also a collection of 700 daguerreotypes.On the Library of Congress site --"Prints and Photographs"Flickr -- "The Commons" website -- photos with no copyright restrictions, from all over the world.Do not use the search box, Gena says. Instead, use the search box under the "mosaic" box, and just search "The Commons"National Archives:Record group 69 -- includes WPA records. Not a digitized collection, just telling you what's available.Online Catalogues:ArchiveGrid site -- explore the world's archives. Manuscripts, photos, letters, never published. Worldwide, but 3000 entries on the WPA.NWDA -- Northwest Digital Archives, northwestern U.S.OAC -- online archives of California. If the particular contents are digitized, there'll be an eye icon next to it.FamilySearchLibrary catalogue, and what been microfilmed. Can search by keywordVictoria says it includes the California Death Index beginning in 1903.Libraries -- There are state, public, private, academic and genealogical libraries; state and county archives, museums.To find them, Gena suggests using Libcat, (https://libcat.tamu.edu) for libraries in the U.S. Hosted by Texas A and M University.There is also the website for "Repositories of Primary Sources," which you can find via Google.Connecticut State Library - Gena says you can select the towns you're interested in; many photos.PERSI, or the Periodical Source Index can be searched on Ancestry, from the 1800s to today. HeritageQuest has it as well.USC Digital Library -- This has material from all over California, has WPA census cards from a 1939 household census. (No names, but described house, toilet, other details). There are also employee cards from those trying to get WPA jobs.DAR Library -- also has WPA records. "It just shows you how these things are all over the place," Gena says, "kind of a blessing and a curse."Books worth a look:The American State Guides, with major cities, includes history, timelines, maps, auto tours.America Eats -- The WPA sent writers and photographers all over, gives you a sense of social history during the days of your ancestors."America Eats, Food From a Younger Land,""The New Deal," Michael Hiltzik, a Los Angeles Times writer.From the New Deal era, Susanne mentioned that records of men in the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933-42) can be obtained through the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/civilian-personnel-archival/ccc-holdings-access.htmlYou can contact our July speaker, Gena Philibert-Ortega, via email at: yourfamilyhistory@....~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Gary Zimet | DPA/CorbisListed at $3 Million, Schindler's List Seller Looking for Qualified BiddersSchindler's list, which proved to be a life-saving document for more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust, is being auctioned on eBay at the modest starting bid of $3 million.The list, dated April 18, 1945, was created by Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi party who rescued Jews from deportation to Auschwitz by employing them in his factory. The document is 14 pages long and lists 801 male names, according to the eBay listing.The auction, which was launched at 9 p.m. ET Friday, gives pre-qualified bidders until July 28 to name their price for a piece of history. Eric Gazin of the auction house that has put the list up for sale, told ABC he needs to verify potential owners can actually front the cash."Some real deep pockets shop on eBay," Gazin said. "We feel this type of valuable needs to be exposed to a different type of auction."~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Genealogy Roadshow -- San Francisco -- to air on PBS this fall.New PBS show 'Genealogy Roadshow' visits SFRohan Smith, The ChronicleJamie O'Keefe was under the impression that her great-grandparents had met in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.Cecilia Chen's father had told her that their family was related to Chinese gangster "Big Jim" Chin, who was involved with illegal activities in Chinatown in the 1800s.Lisa Gates had always heard that she was related to James Marshall, whose discovery of gold in Northern California's American River set the stage for the Gold Rush in 1848."I think everybody has an impact on American history," she said.Gates, O'Keefe and Chen were among dozens of San Franciscans being filmed at the Old Mint Building for the new PBS television series "Genealogy Roadshow," where participants submit family legends and mysteries and a team of genealogists prove or disprove each claim, tracing family lines back hundreds of years in the process.The authenticity of the participants' family legends and stories will be revealed when "Genealogy Roadshow" airs in September. The experts comb through census records, examine birth, death, and marriage certificates, and search through ship lists and other historical documents in order to unearth a family's connections to history."When you go digging around, you never know what you are going to find," said Kenyatta Berry, one of the show's on-air genealogists. "Every family has a story.""Genealogy Roadshow" is structurally similar to "Antiques Roadshow," a PBS show where experts appraise and reveal the origins of antiques and collectible items, and is modeled after an Irish television program of the same name. So far, the road show has also gone to Nashville, Austin, Texas; and Detroit.The San Francisco episode was shot at the Old Mint Building, a place steeped in a rich history of its own. Active from 1874 to 1937, the Old Mint was once the most active mint in the country and at one point held one-third of the United States' gold reserves.
'Modern melting pot'"San Francisco is a modern melting pot in many ways," said Executive Producer Stuart Krasnow. "We were looking for places where people come together. It's a magnet for cultural diversity."For Gates, whose family seems to have so many legends and stories that they can barely keep track, a possible connection to history was the most significant and exciting aspect of the show. While Gates sat across an elevated table from Berry, who began to reveal what the show's team had discovered, six family members stood behind her. Her twin boys, age 7, were beside her as Berry displayed relevant census records and photographs.Chen became interested in her family history after studying Asian American studies in college."One thing that's fascinating about the United States is that people have different and diverse histories," she said. "The show can highlight the experiences of communities across the country and what people have to go through to be here today."O'Keefe is a fifth-generation San Franciscan, and her interest in genealogy stems from her passion for history. She does volunteer curatorial work at the San Francisco Fire Department Museum. "It's fun to be able to claim you have a tie to the earthquake," she said. "I hope (the show) inspires people to do more research and take an interest in themselves. You can have access in two seconds with the Internet."The producers believe that the show will have a broad appeal. "It's a great common denominator," said Krasnow. "We all come from some place. It doesn't exclude anybody. If you were born and have a burning question about your history, you qualify."
Ordinary peopleJosh Taylor, the other on-air genealogist for the television series, said that although connections to major historical events and figures are fascinating, he is just as interested in the stories of ordinary people."We have to peel off the covers of the stories that didn't make the history books," he said. "They might start by wanting to be connected to William the Conqueror or Mary Queen of Scots, but the unwritten stories end up being more interesting."Story producer La Monte Westmoreland, part of the team that decides which stories to pursue, said: "We try to paint your story in a larger context. It's family history, but it's also the history of where we are sitting."One of those stories is from San Franciscan Casey Robbins, who believed that she'd discovered a connection to Benjamin Franklin during her four years of genealogical research. "It would be amazing to find out that there's a little bit of American history in my tree," she said. "I told them I promise not to faint."Katharine Schwab is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: kschwab@...~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Social media help track property lost in HolocaustCati Holland poses for a picture at her house in the Israeli city of Hadera, Thursday, July 25, 2013. Holland found out from an Israel-based social media genealogy company that is using the Internet to help match property stolen by the Nazis to heirs of the victims she was eligible for compensation for her grandmother's Berlin store seized by the Nazis more than 70 years ago. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)MyHeritage CEO, Gilad Japhet poses for a portrait at the company offices In the israeli town of Or Yehuda, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. The rise of social media has offered new opportunities to track heirs and close the books on one of the darkest chapters of German history. One of the driving forces behind the new push has been Gilad Japhet, CEO and founder of Israel-based MyHeritage, a social media website with about 70 million registered users worldwide that lets individuals build their own family trees online.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)Cati Holland holds photos of her grandmother Recha Kirshner at her house in the Israeli city of Hadera, Thursday, July 25, 2013. Holland found out from an Israel-based social media genealogy company that is using the Internet to help match property stolen by the Nazis to heirs of the victims she was eligible for compensation for her grandmother's Berlin store seized by the Nazis more than 70 years ago. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)Cati Holland holds photos of her grandparents at her house in the Israeli city of Hadera, Thursday, July 25, 2013. Holland found out from an Israel-based social media genealogy company that is using the Internet to help match property stolen by the Nazis to heirs of the victims she was eligible for compensation for her grandmother's Berlin store seized by the Nazis more than 70 years ago. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER The Associated PressBERLIN — When Cati Holland checked her email a few weeks ago, she was surprised to find a message saying she was eligible for compensation for her grandmother's Berlin store that was seized by the Nazis more than 70 years ago.It wasn't spam or a phishing attempt or even a legitimate note from a German official working to track down victims and their heirs. Rather, it was from an Israel-based social media genealogy company that is using the Internet to help match property stolen by the Nazis to heirs of the victims."My grandmother told me so many stories about the store — about the beautiful dresses and fancy hats they made, the wealthy customers who wore them," Holland, 75, told The Associated Press by phone from Hadera, Israel."But we always thought everything had been lost after my parents fled the Nazis. It never even occurred to us to claim any kind of restitution. I was completely surprised about that email."Since the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945, Germany has paid around 70 billion euros ($92 billion) in compensation to the victims of the Holocaust. More than two million people have received lump sum payments or an ongoing monthly pension. The state of Israel has received around 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion), according to the German finance ministry.Part of the compensation was earmarked for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, a private New York-based organization that works to secure restitution for survivors and their heirs. Descendants can come forward to claim their family's assets until the end of 2014 if they find their original property on a recently released list by the Claims Conference, called the Late Applicants Fund.Over the years, the search for the heirs has become more complicated because most of the Holocaust survivors have died. Descendants also don't always have detailed knowledge of their family's former assets.But the rise of social media has offered new opportunities to track heirs and close the books on one of the darkest chapters of German history."We are only just seeing the huge impact that social media will have on Holocaust history," said Robert-Jan Smits, the director-general of the European Union's commission for research and design. "We are moving from dusty archives to digitized databases."One of the driving forces behind the new push has been Gilad Japhet, CEO and founder of Israel-based MyHeritage, a social media website with about 70 million registered users worldwide that lets individuals build their own family trees online.A few months back, Japhet read a report about the Claims Conference's list of over 40,000 buildings, stores and factories that could not be matched with their original owners. Japhet matched some names on the list to the millions of names that users had posted on MyHeritage's family trees online."I thought my chances of finding any of the names on the website of MyHeritage were not looking good since experts have been searching for them for decades. But I still wanted to give it a chance," Japhet said. "I chose some very rare names from the list and to my surprise the second name I put in was already a match."Japhet put together a team of five employees and had them write a computer program that automatically matches the names on the Claims Conference's list with those on the virtual family trees. So far, they have been able to match about 150 names on the list with names on the family trees. They expect to continue working on this project for several more months.In the case of Cati Holland, MyHeritage initially contacted her son-in-law Eran Karoly. He had posted a family tree which included Recha Cohn, Holland's grandmother and the owner of the Berlin store, which was located on the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm boulevard in the western part of the city. Holland's grandparents escaped to South America shortly after the Nazis took over in the early 1930s and ended up in Israel many years later.Holland filed an application for restitution to the Claims Conference and is now waiting for a response. The level of compensation depends on various factors, such as the value of the property and how many people will apply until 2014."I filled out the forms and sent in birth certificates and several photos," Holland said. The Claims Conference itself says it has "received hundreds of applications" for the Late Applicants Fund but can't say for sure how many of them were due to MyHeritage.Applicants who qualify for restitution will have to wait until the program's deadline on December 31, 2014, the Claims Conference's chairman Reuven Merhav wrote in an email.As for Japhet and his team, they have made clear to the claimants that they don't want any money in return for their efforts."In my emails to the users, I always write that we don't want any money for doing this, nor part of any restitution they will get," said Japhet. "We do this as a mitzvah — which in Judaism is a good deed."~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our next meeting, Sunday, August 18, 10 a.m.
December 3, 2013 Upcoming Meetings: Sunday, December 15, 2013, 10 a.m., Sacramento -- Lynn Brown : Preparing Your Eastern European Research Sunday, JanuaryMessage 35 of 35 , Dec 3 7:06 AMView SourceDecember 3, 2013Upcoming Meetings:
Sunday, December 15, 2013, 10 a.m., Sacramento -- Lynn Brown :"Preparing Your Eastern European Research"Sunday, January 19, 2014, 10 a.m., Sacramento -- Sasha Abramsky:Stories From My Family: From Siberian Labor Camps to London's Beth Din; From the Yeshiva to the Communist Party to Social Democracy.Notes for November 17, 2013 Meeting
President Victoria Fisch welcomed members and guests.
Dave Reingold talked about the Philippines typhoon, called "Yolanda" there, and said his wife's family were all okay. He said there is a small Jewish community in the Philippines, and donations may be made through the Jewish Federation with a notation for "Typhoon Yolanda" relief.
Treasurer Bob Wascou said that 2014 dues can be paid now -- $25 for the upcoming year or $300 for a life membership. Checks should be made out to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento and can be mailed to the JGSS care of the Einstein Center, #220, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento, CA 95816.November Program -- Steve Morse: One-Step Web Pages and a Case Study of Renee Kaufman
San Francisco genealogist Steve Morse returned to give a brief overview of the one-step pages on his website (www.stevemorse.org). ; He has 16 categories, more than 200 different tools on the site, and showed how you can do free research knowing very little, even with the wrong spelling of names.
He showed information he found for Israel Baline (later Irving Berlin), born in Mohilev, Russia. He showed a one-step took for ships' photos, where you can specify the name of the ship and have a wide range of sites to look at for photos, some free, some not.
He asked whether anyone recalls the ship "Carpathia"? Yes, it picked up survivors of the Titanic in April 1912, but "also brought my grandmother to the United States in 1913."
"My website has no charge, no required email address, no registration." He says he indicates if he links to a commercial site, and paid sites are just a small part of those he features.
His site includes one-step pages to census records, vital records, a birth database site and much more, including Montreal city directories, for example. For death records, he said, the Social Security Death Index is the best tool, "and I have a one-step tool on my site."
"I have a record of being blocked by most sites," he said, "so I only allow you to do two lookups per day."He said you previously could get someone's original Social Security application, but now they are blacked out if you don't tell them the parents' names in advance. It costs $27.
NYC birth and death records (through the Italian Genealogical Society site) are also available on his site.He said about a year ago the LDS Family History Library began emailing images to people, when you tell them the certificate number and roll number. "Email to Family Search photo duplication and it's free -- you can get something back as soon as a week later." See his website for how to get the FHL roll number.
"Never put down everything you know -- the record might be wrong, and if you put down what you think it is, you might get nothing."
He showed a search for details on Donald Duck, which turned up quite a bit, including nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie.
Steve's website also includes a relationship calculator, to show you how you're related to that cousin. He also has a Hebrew calendar, a site for finding sunrise and sunset times, for maps, and more. There is also a way to translate alphabet character sets.
For those without a paid subscription to Ancestry.com, he urged them to check their local libraries, as most subscribe.
In answer to a question about outbound ship records, for those going from the U.S. to other countries, Steve said the records didn't exist and don't exist today.
Steve then presented a Case Study of Renee Kaufman. He was asked to be a presenter in a memorial lecture series honoring Renee Kaufman, the sister of someone he went to school with.
Steve wanted to find out about Renee Kaufman, without asking the family. "What do I know? I know there's a lecture series in her name in Manhattan. I know the name of her brother, but when I started, I didn't even know her first name.""Google is your friend," Steve says. He googled the lecture series, found Renee's first name. "I put in her whole name, and up came a family tree."
So Steve learned her parents' names, found the father's visa to work in Mexico, and got birthdates through the Social Security Death Index. He learned more information through the 1940 census, found that her maiden name "Levkov" was recorded as "Revkov," and learned Renee's age at her first marriage.
In looking the 1940 census, Steve put in just three letters of people's first names. He found an entry for Leakos (instead of Levkov). He also thought his friend Jerome would not be listed in the census, as Steve was born after it, but in fact Jerome was 9 months old.
"I got Renee's parents' marriage date through the New York City Bride and Groom Index. There was a roll number, and from that, I could order a free photo duplication."
Renee's father's naturalization records were available (search NYC Naturalizations in One-Step on Steve's website), although not the date of his declaration.
For Renee's mother, he found her in the 1925 New York state census, and learned that she and her siblings had come to the U.S. first, and their parents followed later.
Steve learned additional family details from the 1910 and 1920 censuses, including a marriage between first cousins.
In the 1915 census, Steve found a record for a woman with Renee's mother's name, Ruth, listed as a prisoner at the State Training School For Girls, a reform school.
"It was not our Ruth -- this one came from England. I was unable to find our Ruth's 1915 census record."Steve encouraged those looking at census records to look at the preceding and following pages. He said families tended to live together, and you might find a relative close by.
Death notices and tombstones -- Steve found "Aunt Laura" as part of his case study, although there was no new information. He also noted that the birthdatabase.com site (one of his one-step sites), does not take people out when they die, and thus offers another source of information.
Steve's conclusion on the Renee Kaufman Case Study: "All of these records were found online -- it took me about four hours over two days to find this information. It's not magic."
He also cautions that names are never spelling correctly. Never trust a woman's age. And confirm records -- "or you could put your mother in reform school!"
Member Iris Bachman asked Steve -- "Why are we worried about the NSA when we've got you?!"
Following his presentation, Steve noted that he was recently contacted by Zeke Emanuel, brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and a major architect of Obamacare, about possibly assisting with the government's health care website.
MapOfUs.org Adds Historic Maps Dating Back To the 1700sAn Alabama-based company that provides a single source for old and new state and US maps has added new historical maps.Representatives with MapOfUs.org announced today that it now has historic maps from as early as the 1700s in its database.“This will allow us to be able to serve and help more people who need to have old and new state maps and maps of the United States as a whole,” said Brian Nichols, spokesman for Genealogy Inc., the parent company of MapofUs.org.“Starting in 1776, all of our atlases are scanned copies of the originals, with the original spelling of town names and counties allowing historians and genealogists to find the answers that they are seeking,” Nichols said, before adding, “For example, for 1776 the US map of Massachusetts shows the original names of many of the islands in the area, before they were shortened or modernized.”Nichols went on to note that that all of its maps are free for personal use only, and may not be reproduced for resale or distribution.Currently, MapofUs.org features maps from each state such as Washington showing interactive county formation map, Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) Roads and Highway maps, old Atlas maps, and map links.In addition each state page contains rotating animated maps showing all of the county boundary changes and all of the county boundaries for each census year for each year.Past and present maps of US, according to Nichols, are overlaid so that visitors to the website can see the changes in county boundaries, downloadable County D.O.T. Maps, and state Atlas maps.About MapofUS.org -- MapofUS.org provides a single source for old and new state and US maps.From recent Avotaynu E-Zines by Gary Mokotoff:
Ancestry.com and Associated Press Bring AP Archives Online
Ancestry.com has collaborated with the Associated Press to make 50 years of news stories—in their original wire copy format—available online. There are five collections. All can be found at http://ancestry.com/AP.
Associated Press, Name Card Index to AP Stories, 1905–1990. This is an index of every person who appeared in an AP report during that time period. The cards were updated when additional references were made for the person rather than creating a separate index card for every mention. For example, there were AP reports about the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in 1981. Persons mentioned in the reports are in the index.
Associated Press, Service Bulletin, 1904–1927. The Service Bulletin was an internal AP publication with the purpose of communicating the “General Orders” of AP’s General Manager. It is unindexed.
Associated Press, Stories and Newsfeatures, 1937–1985. This collection includes AP news stories (1937–1985), which were selected by news librarians for microfilming to create an internal news archive of more than 700 reels. The set was not meant to be complete but to include only those stories of national or international importance. I had trouble using the database. For the keyword field, the site stated “e.g., pilot or Flying Tigers.” Using either of these search parameters produced no results. Apparently the Subject field is mandatory. Searching for “Flying Tigers” with a subject field of “Aviation” produced results. Similarly “Guadalcanal” produced no results but “Guadalcanal” and the Subject “Navy” produced 2,627 hits.
Associated Press, Subject Card Index to AP Stories, 1937–1985. Similar to the Name Card index, except it is by subject. A single card may contain multiple reports on the subject. “Flying Tigers” produced reports of the famous American volunteer group as well as the airline with that name. Placing the two words in quotes produced results only for the volunteer group.
Vilnius Vital Records
Litvak-SIG has reported they have translated 110,824 records for the city of Vilnius and posted them to the All Lithuania Database at http://www.litvaksig.org/index.php/component/litvaksearch/?view=ald. Another 17,573 records have been translated and are available to qualified donors on the Vilnius DRG Shutterfly site. There are about 78,000 additional records to translate. You can make a contribution to the Vilnius District Research Group on the LitvakSIG website's contributions page at http://litvaksig.org/contribute. A list of surnames in the most recent batch of birth records (1901–1915) is at https://vilnius.shutterfly.com/surnames.
Another Collection of Holocaust Oral Interviews
The Oral History Division of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has 900 Holocaust audio interviews and transcripts in their archives. They include interviews conducted in the early 1960s when the reservoir of survivors—especially those who were adults during the war—was much larger and for many survivors these interviews were the first time they had given an account of their experiences. The website is at
New Towns Added to KehilaLinks Project
One of the valuable resources located on JewishGen is the KehilaLinks Project which contains information about individual towns throughout the world where Jews live or once lived. These sites were created by individuals who wanted to share with other family historians information about the town. The entrance to the site is at http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org. If you do not find your town listed and wish to create a site, contact the KahilaLinks volunteers as described at the site.
New towns added during October include (most from the Czech Republic):
Boskovice (Boskowitz), Czech Republic; Dresden, Germany; Hostice (Hoschtitz bei Wolin), Czech Republic; Kasejovice (Kasejowitz), Czech Republic; Kbel, Czech Republic; Kuzova (Wallisgrun), Czech Republic; Humpolec (Gumpolds, Humpoltz), Czech Republic; Liberec (Reichenberg), Czech Republic; Lomnice (Lomnitz), Czech Republic; Naseldowice, Czech Republic; Malinec, Czech Republic; Podivín (Kostel), Czhech Republic; Prcice (Pertschitz), Czech Republic; Prestice (Pschestitz), Czech Republic; Rousínov (Okres Rakovník), Czech Republic; Safov (Schaffa), Czech Republic; Stod (Staab), Czech Republic; Unicov (Mährisch Neustadt), Czech Republic; Usov (Märisch Aussee), Czech Republic; Vlci, Czech Republic; Vseruby (Neumark), Czech Republic; Vysoka Libyne (Hochlibin), Czech Republic; Wroclaw (Breslau), Poland
Group Trip to Lithuania -- June 17 to June 27, 2014.
For the 21st year, Howard Margol and Peggy Mosinger Freedman are organizing a group trip to Lithuania from June 17 to June 27, 2014. Included are visits to the various archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sightseeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl, or shtetlach of interest. All meals are included (except for one dinner and two lunches), the finest hotels (new and modern), modern buses, and much more. This year the group size will be limited to 25.
Details and a full itinerary of the trip can be found at http://www.litvaktrip.peggyspage.org or contact the tour leaders at litvaktrip@....
From the New York Times 11/17/13The GetawayTraveling to Find Your RootsJosh CochranBy CAREN OSTEN GERSZBERGPublished: November 15, 2013 Comment·It was lunchtime at the Outlaws’ Shack in Poiana Brasov, a mountain resort in Transylvania, and we were washing down chunks of kashkaval cheese and peasant bread with sips of tsuica, a Romanian plum brandy. At a neighboring table, a man picked up a red onion and bit into it as if it were an apple — something I had seen only my father do.Traveling to Romania a few years ago was a chance to see, firsthand, where my father, who had died two years earlier, spent his childhood. Armed with addresses I’d collected from my father’s sister, and accompanied by my three children, I felt the trip was a chance to experience my father’s heritage: to see his home and school, the local synagogue, the mountain resort where he learned to ski, and to eat the foods he spoke of longingly (though I refrained from biting into a raw onion).Prompted by TV shows, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” (whose new series started on TLC in July) and the new PBS series “Genealogy Roadshow,” a spinoff of the Irish hit, a growing number of people are traveling with their family tree in tow.While these shows bring heritage travel into your living room, the quick access to information offered by genealogical websites, like FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com is prodding many to research their family tree and then travel to wherever the branches may lead. Hubs of databases that include historical records, census lists, immigration directories and military histories, these sites provide a wealth of digitized information to help jump-start such journeys.Long-lost relatives are also getting together via social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. For example, in preparation for their trip to Cyprus, Irene Lane’s family used Facebook to network and make introductions to long-lost Greek family members. Ms. Lane’s mother told them, “ ‘We are coming and we’d like to see you,’ and they welcomed us warmly,” said Ms. Lane, the president of Greenloons, an eco-travel company in Vienna, Va.Tourism offices and governments have caught on to the interest in heritage-seeking travel. Ireland is now organizing gatherings (thegatheringireland.com) for people with Irish backgrounds. And after a successful run in 2009, Scotland is planning a Year of Homecoming in 2014 (visitscotland.com), inviting all those with Scottish roots to explore and celebrate their ancestry.People setting out to find their roots are often motivated by a desire for personal connection, said Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist who, in conjunction with Hagers Journeys (Hagersjourneys.com), will research and create ancestry adventures. “We’ve become this mobile churning society and there’s a hunger for this belonging,” she said. “Whether I go to the Ukraine or Slovakia, I get treated like family because of my name.”If you’re interested in making such a trip, you’ll need to gather as much information as possible. “Start with what you know, and that’s you,” said Diana McCain, head of the research center at the Connecticut Historical Society. She suggested noting dates — birth, marriage and, in some instances, death — for you, your parents and close relatives, as well as searching your attic for newspaper clippings, obituaries and diplomas. Glean as much information as possible from living relatives. Ask them to relate old family stories, and if they know of any distant relatives who may still live in your family’s native country.If searching for roots in the United States, you’ll need to determine where to find the records of births, marriages, deaths and property transfers, among others. Depending on the state and time period, it may be the county, town or state government or a combination of them that has the records. “Each state has unique resources,” Ms. McCain said, “and while there’s a tremendous amount of information online, there are vast collections of records that are available only on microfilm or in their original paper form in a government office.” Once gathered, the documents can provide an array of information about ancestors.If your travels take you to a non-English-speaking country, consider enlisting the help of a local bilingual guide who can do some groundwork before your arrival. Travel agents and tour operators can help find someone for hire; the Association of Professional Genealogists (Apgen.org) is another source for finding researchers.If you’re lucky, one of your relatives may have already done the research. For Tom Kosanda of Chicago, a financial consultant, it was his father who hired a researcher four years before Tom Kosanda’s trip to the Czech Republic to gather information about their lineage, rooted near the city of Ceske Budejovice. After learning that Austin-Lehman Adventures (Austinlehman.com) offered a bicycling trip in the Czech Republic, with a two-day stay in Ceske Budejovice, Mr. Kosanda contacted the company about visiting his relatives nearby. With some routing assistance from the trip’s guide, the Kosandas rode their bicycles about 20 miles to his family’s village, met with Mr. Kosanda’s Czech cousins and together they cycled to the villages where various relatives lived. They visited churches where kinfolk had married and finished the day at a castle. “It was a rare, bonding experience to meet people that are related to you, and be able to say that I came from there,” Mr. Kosanda said.Even if there are no direct family members to meet, travelers can still gain from strolling by former family homes and visiting local places of worship, cemeteries and living history museums.Last summer, I traveled with my two teenage daughters to Grenade-sur-Garonne, a village in southwestern France where my mother’s family lived before my grandparents were deported to concentration camps. Because my mother had taken me to the village previously, I was able to share specific stories and locations with my daughters, deepening their connection to their grandmother’s history.As we stood outside the home where my mother’s family had lived, I showed Nicole and Emily the trellised courtyard across the street where my mother played hide-and-seek. We walked to the village square, and stood on the corner in the spot where my mother stood as a 7-year-old child, watching as her parents boarded a truck that would transport them to the camps.Since my mother’s childhood stories had led us across the Atlantic Ocean to this tiny village, her granddaughters were able to experience a deep sense of connection to their past — something they never would have found on Facebook.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our next meeting, Sunday, December 15, 10 a.m.