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216October Genealogy Update

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Oct 31, 2010


      Jewish Genealogical Society

      of Sacramento




      October 31, 2010





      Upcoming Meetings:


      Sunday, November 21, 10 a.m.  – Glenda Lloyd, Maiden Names


      Sunday, December 19, 10 a.m. – Vivian Kahn, Hungarian Family Research




                                                        Meeting Notes for October 17, 2010


          (Thanks to Mort Rumberg for the October notes)



      President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order and made several announcements:


      Two newspaper articles about genealogy were circulated.  The first was about local people, relatives who reunited after 50 years of searching.  The lesson here: never give up.  The second article was about the genealogy of President Obama.  The article detailed his genealogical relationship on his mother’s side to several members of the opposing party – which brought some laughs.  There was also a nice interview in the Jewish Voice with Victoria Fisch, one of our members, concerning Jews of the Gold Rush.


      Mort introduced three new members:  Rebbeca Barfield; Joan Juranich; and Magit Alverez.  Welcome.


      There is an all-day genealogy event at the Family History Center on Eastern Ave., in Sacramento on November 16.


      Burt Hecht announced that he made several copies of Steve Morse’s previous talk on DNA in preparation for his upcoming DNA presentation on February 20, 2011.  The copies are available for review. The new talk builds on the previous one, so it might be a good idea to review the notes.


      Mort introduced Dale Friedman, our speaker for the evening.  Dale is a board member of the Bay Area Jewish Genealogy Society and discussed what “Jewish” in Jewish Genealogy is, and how his ancestors shaped him to what and who he is today.  He used personal examples and suggested research methods.


      Dale mentioned that his talk will focus on Eastern Europe and emphasized that this is not a strict how-to-do-it session.  There are many directions research can take --this is his approach.


      He began by showing several books that he considered useful in beginning research, and throughout his talk, presented others to emphasize points.  He also had a table display of books for review, many that highlight Jewish genealogy.


      A lot of our perceptions of our ancestors have been influenced by films such as Fiddler On the Roof, and other media -- stories, magazines, etc., which may be nice to see, but may not be very accurate.  They do, however, provide a glimpse of shetl life.


      This is the general road map he used and recommended while doing his research: 

                  Family interviews



      Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento


      What are your goals?  Is it to learn about general history or to define specifics of your family?  Setting goals will provide you with a deeper sense of self and enable you to learn who the people were who came before you.  It will help you find out where you came from, help identify who you are as a Jew and an American and give you a sense of history as well as help find relatives.


      Dale highlighted From Generation to Generation, by Kurzweil; and Finding Our Fathers, by Tottenberg.  He said Kurzweil mentioned two events that had a great impact on Jewish genealogy:

                  The Holocaust

                  Universal Migration

      Kurzweil said in his introduction, that he was tired of hearing about how Jews died; he wanted to hear about how they lived. 


      Rather than begin when our ancestors came to the U.S., Dale began his research in Eastern Europe.  He displayed maps of Eastern Europe that showed the constantly changing borders, including The Pale of Settlement – an area in Russia that Jews were permitted to settle.


      Jewish Records Indexing – (JRI) projects that record vital records (Birth, Marriage, Death).  He provided a review of how to use the JRI database using his family as an example when building his family tree.


      Cemetery research can be a genealogist’s best friend.  Old records are kept by the cemetery, and the names on the stones have prior generations.


      Pasports, Cadastral Survey Maps (cadastral maps have extraordinary detail down to specific buildings).


      Additional books:  The Galizianers, by Wynne; The Litvak Legacy, by Ozer.


      The average American Jew knows more about the Jews of Egypt 3,000 years ago, than about the Jews who came to America during the past 355 years.  (Sarna, Moment Magazine, 2009).


      Dale called this the Golden Age of Genealogy because so many archives are coming on line.


      Yizkor books contain a great deal of information on shtetl life as well as the inhabitants and what they were doing.  Use JewishGen to research who else is researching the shtetl you are interested in.  Often they will be happy to share any info they have.  Show images to other family members, it might trigger memories.


      Book: On the Road With Rabbi Steinsaltz, by Kurzweil.  We stand on the shoulders of past generations and move forward.


      Check for newpaper articles in The New York Times, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the Ohio Jewish Weekly Journal.




      Ellis Island passenger lists, ship manifests, naturalization records.


      In Judaism there is the concept of Shalom Bayit – Peace in the Home.  Dale’s relatives were Levite and Galicianers, so there was some animosity and constant bickering among them.


      Genealogy is history on a personal scale; it is a search for meaning – Kurzweil.


      To end his presentation, Dale provided a review of Jewishgen.org/shetllinks.


       - -  Mort Rumberg




      Some items of interest from the newsletter of the JGS of the Conejo Valley/Ventura County:


      Family History Museum Begins Free Book Series


      The first in the Museum of Family History’s ‘Read-A-Book’ Collection is now available to be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/2c4nzeg At the website you may see a short video, read a synopsis and/or download the book – for free. “Jacob’s Courage” by Charles S. Weinblatt is a coming of age historical novel that takes place in Salzburg as the Nazi’s enter Austria.


      Online Database of Looted Artwork


      Beginning Monday November 18 Holocaust survivors and their relatives, art collectors and museums can go on-line to search a free historical database of more than 20,000 art objects stolen in Germany, occupied France and Belgium from 1940-1944. The database is a joint project of the NY-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.


      The Claims Conference says about 650,000 art objects were taken, and thousands of items are still lost. The database combines records from the U.S. National Archives in College Park, MD.; the German Bundesarchiv, the federal archive in Koblenz; and French government records.To search the database go to: http://www.errproject.org/jeudepaume/



      31st IAJGS Conference Call For Papers


      The 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy hosted by JGSGW has opened the call for papers. The conference will be held August 14-19, 2011 in Washington DC at the Grand Hyatt Washington D.C. The website is www.dc2011.org. Anyone interested in presenting a paper should select the "Call for Papers" tab on the left side of the conference website; read the Frequently Asked Questions before selecting "Submit a Proposal" to begin the process. Each person may submit up to eight proposals.


      Ancestry.com Adds New Indexes


      Black sheep in the family? Among the databases now available at Ancestry.com are:


      Alcatraz, California, U.S. Penitentiary, Prisoner Index, 1934-1963


      Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S. Penitentiary, Name Index to Inmate Case Files, 1895-1931 (NEW)


      McNeil Island, Washington, U.S. Penitentiary, Records of Prisoners Received, 1887-1939 (UPDATE – MUG SHOTS ADDED)



      See you Sunday morning, November 21.

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