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200Next meeting a week from Sunday, the 16th

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    May 8, 2010


      Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento


      Sunday, May 16, 2010, 10 a.m.


      Handwriting Analysis – Leslie Nye


      Leslie Nye is recognized as a noted speaker and trainer in the area of graphanalysis, handwriting analysis for personality assessment.  She has facilitated a number of presentations for regional and national audiences.  In 2006, she was recognized with the highest award of the International Graphoanalysis Society – Graphoanalyst of the Year.


      Leslie has more than 30 years of successful business experience with large corporations.  She continues to work part-time in her own business, Incite, while holding a full-time position as the career advisor for DeVry University in Sacramento.


      The May 16 meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright St., Sacramento.


      From Avotyaynu’s E-Zine by Gary Mokotoff


      JewishGen Has Information on 5,600 Communities
      Would you believe JewishGen has information on more than 5,600 Jewish communities throughout the world? Its goal is to have 7,000 communities identified by the end of this year.

      The information provided about each town includes location (latitude/longitude), a map, alternate names, a list of nearby Jewish communities, and a list of other resources that have additional information about the town.

      A complete list of communities can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/communities/trees, but it is organized by province within country. It is easier to locate the site for a particular town by using the search feature at http://www.jewishgen.org/Communities/Search.asp. When the result is displayed, click on the JewishGen icon in the “Modern Town & Country” field to display the information about the town.

      The search engine will accept any of the names for the town. For example, the major Polish city of Kraków, can be found by searching for Kraków (Polish), Krakau (German), Kroke (Yiddish), Cracow (English), Cracovie (French), Cracovia (Spanish/Italian), Krakov (Rusian, Czech, Slovakian), Krakiv (Ukrainian), Krakkó (Hungarian), Krakova (Latvian), plus other known variants: Krako, Krakoy, Krakuv.

      Random U.S. Directories and Lists

      A posting to the JewishGen Discussion Group identifies a site where there are a number of digitized city directories, yearbooks, censuses and other reference books. It is located at http://www.evendon.net/PGHLookups/HomePage.shtml.

      The directories section includes city directories for random years and cities. Cities include
      Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York and Pittsburgh, but there are many others. Go to the site to view the complete list. Those directories I viewed are also indexed. Some of the directories are Jewish directories.

      There is a sprinkling of high school and college yearbooks and alumni directories. The military records are mostly from before the 20th century. The small books collection includes an 1898 Jewish UK Business Directory.

      Immigrant Databases on WorldVitalRecords.com
      WorldVitalRecords.com has added three
      U.S. immigration databases to its collection. They are “Germans to America,” “Russians to America” and “Italians to America.” These databases were originally published in book form many years ago. The databases are available at http://worldvitalrecords.com by subscription.

      Each of the passenger records may include name, age, town of last residence, destination, and codes for passenger's sex, occupation, literacy, country of origin, transit and/or travel compartment, the name of the ship, the port of departure, date of arrival and the port of arrival. Most of the records are of passengers arriving in
      New York, although there are some records for the following ports: Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia.

      Germans to
      America. This series consists of records of 4,048,907 passengers who arrived at the United States 1850 through 1897. About 90 percent identified their country of origin or nationality as Germany or a "German" state, city, or region


      Russians to America. This series consists of records of 527,394 passengers arriving in the United States 1834 through 1897 who identified their country of origin or nationality as Armenia, Finland, Galicia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Russian Poland or Ukraine.

      Italians to
      America. This series consists of records of 845,368 passengers who arrived at the United States 1855 through 1900. About 99 percent identified their country of origin or nationality as Italy or noted one of the Italian regions.

      Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names and Their Variants
      One of the fascinating aspects of Ashkenazic Jewish history is its given names. According to A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names by Alexander Beider, all the thousands of these names derive from only 735 root names. I would never have thought that my mother’s Jewish name, Tserl, is a variant of Sarah.

      The Dictionary is a 728-page tome that is the definitive work on the subject. One reason for its large size is that the first 300 pages are a detailed description of the origin and evolution of Ashkenazic given names. It was Dr. Beider’s doctoral thesis when he received his second doctorate from the Department of History at the Sorbonne. (His first doctorate was in applied mathematics from the Physio-Technical Institute of Moscow.)

      Last year, AVOTAYNU editor Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus was struggling with the weight of the book and realized that only a portion of the book is necessary for genealogists to evaluate given names, so she suggested to Dr. Beider that a “handbook” be created as an alternative to his major work.

      This is the origin of the book Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names and Their Variants. The Handbook consists of the indexes to the identified 15,000 given names presented in three sections: names as they appeared in the Latin alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet and Hebrew alphabet. The body of the Handbook provides a description of each of the 735 root names plus a tree-like structure of all the name variants that shows exactly how they were derived from the root name.

      The book Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names and Their Variants is only $29, 232 pages and softcover. It can be ordered at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/Handbook.htm. Aa an example, the entry for the feminine given name Yentl can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/YentlHandbook.pdf.

      Jewish Genealogical Trip to
      Salt Lake City
      For the 18th consecutive year, veteran Jewish genealogists Gary Mokotoff and Eileen Polakoff will be offering a research trip to the LDS Family History Library in
      Salt Lake City from October 14-October 21, 2010. To date, more than 300 Jewish genealogists from all over 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—at the Library for on-site assistance and personal consultations. There is also a three-hour class on the day of arrival introducing the participants to the facilities and resources of the Family History Library in addition to a mid-week informal group discussion of progress and problem-solving. For those new to genealogy, a beginners’ workshop on the first morning of the trip will introduce them to the wonderful world of Hamburg immigration lists, U.S. passenger arrival lists, naturalization records and census records.

      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.

      - - - - - -


      Genealogy sleuths get aid from websites

      3 major sites offer DNA testing, census records to dig up your family heritage

      By Candice Choi of The Associated Press

      NEW YORK — Genealogy is hot again.

      Shows such as “Faces of America” on PBS and “Who Do You Think You Are?” on NBC are renewing the country's fascination with family histories. And unlike when the TV series “Roots” aired in the 1970s, consumers now have numerous tools to dig up their ancestral pasts.

      Web sites that enable you to research your family tree or submit to DNA testing can be costly, however, and the results likely won't be as dramatic as shown on TV. Also, services can be limited depending on your family heritage.

      Here's a look at what three major sites offer.


      How it works: A monthly subscription gives you access to 4 billion public records, including Census records from 1790 to 1930.

      To help wade through the database, start by filling in a family tree with whatever information you have. If you punch in a grandparent's name and approximate date of birth, for example, the site turns up public records that may be matches.

      Users can make family trees public too, so those created by others will turn up in a search if you share a common relative.

      When testing the site, a colleague with a common Irish last name quickly uncovered new information on her family. Within a few minutes, she found a photo of her grandmother that a relative had uploaded, as well as a Census record on her maternal grandfather.

      How much your own search digs up will depend in part on how long your family has been in the country.

      Records from outside the
      U.S. cost extra and largely come from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

      The site has considerable records for African Americans, including documents from the Freedman's Bank and Freedmen's Bureau, which were set up for freed slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Records from before then are much sparser, however.

      Cost: $19.95 a month or $155 a year for
      U.S. records. If you also want access to records from outside the U.S., it's $29.95 a month or $299 a year. It's free to set up a family tree and add your own photos and documents. If you cancel a paid subscription, access to the site's documents is cut off, but you keep your family tree and any information uploaded.


      How it works: DNA samples are generally used to identify your deep maternal or paternal ancestry. The tests don't provide a breakdown of your ethnic background. Instead, they trace single lines of DNA passed from generation to generation. So even if you know your family is predominantly Irish, you might learn the lineage on your father's side traces back to Scandinavia.

      Because only men carry a Y chromosome, women can't get paternal lineages tested on their own. However, they can trace that side of their family by having a male relative tested. The testing process is fairly simple. You get a collection kit to scrape the inside of your mouth with a cotton swab and mail the sample back. Results come back within several weeks.

      At FamilyTreeDNA, samples are matched against a database of 190,000 men and 110,000 women. For paternal lineage tests, you get a breakdown of individuals who matched your DNA by country. So you might find that the majority of your matches are of Italian descent.

      The test for maternal lineage looks at what's called your mitochondrial DNA. A basic mitochondrial analysis provides an idea only of broader regional roots, although a fuller analysis can narrow results down to countries.

      Anyone who buys a test gets an online account to access and interpret the results. You can also opt to make your name and e-mail available to those who match your DNA.

      The number of matches you get will vary depending on your background. Those with English, Irish or Scottish ancestry might get several dozens of matches because those ancestries are well represented in the database. The site has about 3,000 to 4,000 samples from
      Africa. Other groups, such as Asians, may turn up few or no matches.

      The site guarantees your privacy, www.familytreedna.com/privacy-policy.aspx.

      Cost: It's $169 for the paternal lineage test. The basic maternal lineage test is $149, or $299 for a more detailed test. There's a $4 postage fee.


      How it works: As the name implies, the site is tailored to African Americans. Its database includes 25,000 DNA samples from the African continent, with an emphasis on the Western and Central regions where the slave trades drew from.

      Individuals can test their maternal or paternal DNA to see if either comes from African ancestry. If so, the test tells you the present-day countries and ethnic groups that are a match. About 65 percent of those who get their paternal lineages tested find they are from African ancestry, while 92 percent of maternal lineages trace back to

      Results include a printout of your DNA sequence, an African country reference guide and an online account so you can connect with other members. The company guarantees your privacy; cheek swabs sent to labs contain no personal ID information.

      Cost: $349 for either a maternal or paternal lineage test, or $300 each if you get both. The site runs specials throughout the year too.


      See you Sunday the 16th!