June 30, 2011
Monday, July 18, 7 p.m. -- "Organizing Your Research, " Marian Kile
On Monday, July 18, 7 p.m., the group will hear from Marian Kile on "Organizing Your Research." Marian will show how to set up a simple system to complete and file documents that allows easy access. She'll also provide tips on how to store electronic images for convenient access.
Notes from June 20, 2011 Meeting
President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests.
Mort mentioned upcoming genealogy programs, including the Nevada County Genealogical Society's 18th annual genealogy seminar to be held in Grass Valley August 27. For more information on the one-day seminar, call 530-346-8909.
Sacramento's Central Library continues to offer genealogy programs, including several set for weekends in September.
Saturday, October 15 is this year's Family History Day at the State Archives. We'll have a booth and are looking for volunteers to help staff it for an hour or two. For details, go to www.fhd2011.blogspot.com
Art Yates shared that he'd attended the recent Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree, held this year at the Marriott in Burbank. Art said it was "bigger, more professional than I thought" and offered 6-8 lectures each hour. He attended one presentation by Lisa Louise Cooke on The Genealogist's Google Toolbox.
Officers for the Year Ahead:
Burt Hecht presented the nominated slate of JGSS officers proposed for next year. They are:
Victoria Fisch, president
Sue Miller, Burt Hecht, vice-presidents for programs
Julie Lavine, treasurer
Susanne Levitsky, recording secretary.
Bob Wascou moved that the slate be approved by acclamation, which was done. The new officers will take their positions in July. Mort Rumberg was thanked for his several years of service as president.
June Program -- Steve Morse on DNA and Genealogy
Steve Morse returned to Sacramento and provided an updated version of his DNA and Genealogy presentation, followed by a more advanced lecture. His basic lecture is available on his website at From DNA to Genetic Genealogy.
Steve said he focused on this topic so he could follow other lectures that touched on DNA. He began with a short history of genetics, including Gregor Mendel (1865), known as the Father of Genetics.
Genes, Chromosomes and DNA --
Traits are determined by genes that are located on chromosomes that are composed of DNA.
Mendel -- One gene of each pair from each parent's genes are not blended -- one is dominant.
Every human has 46 chromosomes -- the X and Y determine sex.
DNA -- each strand consists of four repeating bases (A,C, G, T). Bases on two strands are paired up; "junk" DNA is in between. Junk DNA is a DNA sequence for which no function has yet been identified.
In all 46 chromosomes, about three billion base pairs define you-- every trait in your body, your full DNA sequencing.
Proteins are a sequence of amino acids.
How we inherit chromosomes -- autosome inheritance, chromosomes 1-22
x chromosomes shuffled
male line -- Y stays intact, woman's X shuffled
Mutations are good, says Steve:
every male has identical chromosomes to Adam. They go directly from father to son intact.
Mistakes happen -- that's a mutation. Two kinds, in Steve's terms:
1) SniP-- very rare event, once in all human history. Change of a single base pair.
2) StiR -- Short Tandem Repeats -- change in how often the base pair sequence repeats.
SniPs can trace migration; StiRs are not at all common, once in every 500 events (births).
"Who's Your Mommy?" Steve asks.
The mitochondria -- the "energy bars" of the cell -- don't change from generation to generation.
Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother only. It's useful for tracing early migration, less useful for determining a tie to a common ancestor.
Steve talked about the Anastasia mystery in the Russian royal family. He says Prince Philip has the same rare DNA mutations as the exhumed bodies of the Romanovs murdered in 1918. One son and one daughter (Anastasia) were missing -- someone claiming to be Anastasia was determined she was in fact not, due to her DNA, which didn't match Prince Philip's.
Steve also talked about other DNA applications, including the Genghis Khan Dynasty and Thomas Jefferson's descendants ( and the slave Sally Hemmings).
Re Genghis Khan, one in 12 men in the Mongolian empire carry a common Y chromosome. The lineage goes back 1,000 years.
Re Thomas Jefferson -- he fathered several children with Sally Hemmings, confirmed with DNA testing.
Down Syndrome, Sickle-Cell Anemia, Tay-Sachs, Hemophilia
Down Syndrome is found in all populations-- it involves an extra copy of chromosome 21.
Sickle-Cell Anemia -- Involves chromosome 11, recessive gene and a SNiP mutation. The carrier does have an advantage against malaria, so didn't die out.
Tay-Sachs -- Involves Ashkenazi Jews, Louisiana Cajuns, French Canadians. Chromosome 15, with 90 different mutations identified. The Ashkenazi and the Louisiana Cajun mutation are the same.
Hemophilia -- more present in men than women, involving the X chromosome. Gene F 8 or F 9. Women need to defective genes to be infected, men need only one.
There is one section on DNA, and a paper on "From DNA to Jewish Genealogy."
The second part of Steve's presentation focused on "Genealogy Beyond the Y Chromosome, Autosomes Exposed."
He talked about mitosis -- cell division, and meiosis, reproduction.
The further apart genes (or other markers) are on a chromosome, the more likely they'll get separated. If two markers are separated one percent of the time, they are said to be a distance of one centimorgan apart.
With centimorgans, you can:
-- map the genome
Unraveling the human genome involves determining which genes are on which chromosome and where, and determining the "normal" DNA code for each gene and then determining the DNA variations (sequencing).
-- find your ethnicity
Examining the autosomes can tell what mixture there is of certain ethnicities, such as European, East Asian, Sub-Saharan African and Native American. This requires having a good estimate of the DNA sequence of these populations.
-- find your cousins
Steve says to follow the autosomes from generation to generation. In each generation the autosomes get blended; the maximum length of an unblended sequence of DNA is less and less with each successive generation.
Two descendants of the same ancestor will share some of these unblended sequences, but the further removed they are from the common ancestor, the less common sequences there will be. So the maximum length of the common sequence (in centimorgans) can be used to determine what level cousins they are.
Regarding the current trend for DNA testing, Steve says "I just don't know."
Other items from various sources that may be of interest:
Tombstones become equipped with technology
WASHINGTON - Imagine being able to find out everything you need to know about a long lost relative - pictures, video and complete life story - equipped with nothing but a smart phone.
"The possibility that many people can make sure that your story, the story of your life and your contributions and your ancestors, lives on is huge," Curt Witcher, manager of Indiana's Allen County Genealogy Center, said.
It's now possible thanks to a new device called a memory medallion.
It's a small granite disk with an RFID microchip that attaches directly to a tombstone.
Just use your phone or computer to enter the URL and six-digit code and learn about the deceased person's life, genealogy, pictures, video, and even a map with the grave's location.
"There's space for all kinds of data, and we know it'll only get better. One of the neat things from a consumer point of view is that the price continues to drop," Ron Stanley of R&T Monuments said. "Headstones or monuments just have a name and a date. Now there is a choice."
"I see in the future, many genealogists, and even non-genealogists that just want to leave something of themselves for their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I see it really catching on as something that can live on after you're gone," Witcher said.
The applications can extend far beyond a cemetery.
Imagine them on monuments, landmarks, in museums and at libraries.
(Copyright © 2011 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)
From the June 26 edition of Avotaynu's E-Zine:
New Website: Canadian Heritage Jewish Network
A new website, Canadian Jewish Heritage Network, identifies “the resources of the major organizations involved in Canadian Jewish archival preservation, beginning with two Montreal partners, Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives and the Jewish Public Library Archives.” See details at http://www.cjhn.ca.
Most significant to genealogists is a component that focuses on genealogy-related records. It is located at http://www.cjhn.ca/en/family-history.aspx. Includes is information extracted from:
• Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS) client name lists from 1922–1952
• Jewish Colonization Association individual farm settler reports from Western Canada and Quebec (1906–1951)
• Translated Yiddish obituaries from the Keneder Adler (1908–1931)
• Hebrew Sick Benefit Association of Montreal's membership book listings from 1897–1925
Pier 21: A Gateway for Canadian Immigration
If you're planning to visit Nova Scotia this summer, you might find the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax of interest. It was a major immigration gateway,1928–1971.
Pier 21’s museum includes oral history, story and image collections. Until October 31, they are open seven days a week from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Additional information about the facility can be found at http://www.pier21.ca/home.
ShtetLinks HTML Coders Needed
One of the valuable resources at the JewishGen site is ShtetLinks, which consists of hundreds of pages of information about ancestral towns where Jews lived (and in rare instances still live). This information was compiled by family historians during their research. To include this information,, volunteers are needed with the technical knowhow to create web pages. There is always a backlog of town sites to be created because of the lack of these volunteers. To assist in the project, contact Susana Leistner Bloch, the site’s coordinator, at bloch@....
JewishGen is in the process of renaming this portion of their site from ShtetLinks to something more globally appropriate. Shtetl is the Yiddish word for “village” and it only applies to the towns of Eastern Europe.
French GenAmi Has English Version of Website. The French Jewish Genealogical Society, GenAmi, now has an English version of its website at http://www.genami.org/en/. This includes guides to French research. The 2012 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Paris from July 15–18.
Lithuanian Internal Passports. An additional 3,835 internal passport records, 1919-1940 have been added to the All-Lithuania database. They are from the towns of Panevezys, Siauliai and Ukmerge. Information about the project can be found at
From the San Francisco Bay Area JGS' Zichron Notes, some websites of interest:
Recent Map Additions at the Polish Military Geographic Institute Web Site
New is a large set of Austro-Hungarian Empire maps. Because of the maps’ excellent quality and detail, the file sizes are large and may take several minutes to download. Many other European maps from the 1700s onward are also available.
Student Class Lists from Vienna
A school in Vienna has posted student class lists from 1900–2009. Many Jewish names appear in the earlier years. Notations for the classes of 1938 and 1939 reflect the growing crisis.
BELARUS -- Memories of Oshmyany and Its Jews
Dov Peled, a Holocaust survivor born in Oshmyany, Belarus, has recently uploaded several videos he has compiled about Oshmyany and its Jews.
HUNGARY -- Book Detailing the Magyarization of Names 1800–1893
This compilation of name changes lists a few details such as occupation and children’s names. The bookc an also be browsed, searched, and downloaded from Google books at http://books.google.com/books?id=_GoUAAAAYAAJ.
LATVIA -- Latvia 1940 Telephone Directory
Searchable. Besides telephone numbers, many entries include occupations and street addresses. To facilitate manual searches, there is a locality index at this link to the start of each locality’s section.Searching the full text of this directory can yield
information that would be difficult to find by merely browsing by surname. For example, you can search by occupation (rabins) or street address (“stabu 61”).
May 2011 Page 12 Volume XXXI, Number 2
Guide to Jewish Materials Stored in Latvian State Historical Archives
The first stage of the Guide has been completed, a
103-page PDF document.
Online Lithuania News http://VilNews.com/
This e-magazine hopes to be one of the most comprehensive online resources for Lithuania.
Kaunas Draftee Lists up to 1916: Surname Frequency
In addition to information about the person being drafted, they provide details of parents and siblings; often the name of the regiment is given or the family’s street address. The list covers draftees registered at Kaunas but they came from many towns, as this was
a time of considerable movement to the cities.
Marijampole, Lithuania, Soldiers 1937–1940
Aid allocation data and personal files of the recipients have a wealth of family information. Translated and available to members of the Suwalki District Research
Group (DRG), they are arranged in alphabetical order .With the military service information, a researcher can contact theCentral Archive in Vilnius and obtain
the complete military record of the former soldier.
NETHERLANDS -- How to Get a Mid-1940’s Marriage Record from the
First try http://www.genlias.nl/, where you may find where they were married. If Genlias doesn’t tell you, try http://www.allegroningers.nl/ or http://www.thematis.nl/.
If you find the information via Genlias, you can order the files. The site will show you the instructions.When you receive the order, you’ll usually have only the huwelijksakte, the marriage record. There you can find the names, occupations, dates and places of birth
of the couple, and their parents’ names, ages, andoccupations. You’ll also see the witnesses and their relationships to the couple. For the whole file with
all huwelijksbijlagen (“attachments”), you’ll have to contact the state archive of the province where they married. To find the province for your ancestor’s city
or village, go to http://home.planet.nl/~pagklein/almanak.html. Contact for the state archives for each province is available at http://www.familiemolema.nl/archief.htm. Another good resource (in Dutch) is http://www. voorouders.net/links.
but between 1808 and 1825, Christian and Jewish records were mixed.
Use the right menu to navigate and search for “Urzad Stanu Cywilnego” for 1808–1825.
Also see World: African Cemeteries.
Kanczuga Discussion Group
The goal of this new group is to cut down on duplication of research efforts. Available now in the Files section of the group is a Certificate of Incorporation from the First Kancziger Aid Society (alandsmanshaft) in 1902 in New York. All those with
family from Kanczuga are welcome to join the group.
Krakow, Poland -- Krakow Family Trees Web Site Update
More than 700 families and 70,000 individuals listed.
From Avotaynu's June 19 E-Zine:
Jewish Genealogical Trip to Salt Lake City
For the 19th consecutive year, veteran Jewish genealogists Gary Mokotoff and Eileen Polakoff will be offering a research trip to the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City, October 27-November 3, 2011. To date, more than 300 Jewish genealogists from around the world have taken advantage of this program. The group size is limited to 40 people.
The program offers genealogists the opportunity to spend an entire week of intensive research at the Library under the guidance and assistance of professional genealogists who have made more than three dozen trips to Salt Lake City. Each attendee has access to trip leaders every day—except Sunday when the Library is closed—from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Library for on-site assistance and personal consultations.
Social events include a Sunday brunch for camaraderie and discussion of successes (and failures); attendance at the Sunday morning broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and informal group dinners each night.
Additional information can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/slctrip.htm.
English Outbound Passenger Lists Online
Yet another fee-for-service company has indexed outbound UK passenger lists. They are available at http://www.genesreunited.co.uk. The lists include people onboard ships departing British ports for long-distance voyages from 1890 to 1960. It is also available at findmypast.com. An advantage to users of having more than one company index a set of records is there are always errors in extracting records. Independent extractions mean an error in one may not be reproduced in another.
Genes Reunited was launched in 2003 as a sister-site to Friends Reunited.
See you at our next meeting, Monday evening, July 18.