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227March Genealogy Notes

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Mar 3, 2011


      Jewish Genealogical Society

      of Sacramento



      March 3, 2011


      Upcoming Meetings:

      Sunday, March 13, 10 a.m. -- Robinn Magid, "On Data Safari in Poland "

      Sunday, April 17, 10 a.m. -- Susanne Levitsky, "French Connection"

      Sunday, May 15, 10 a.m. -- Janice Sellers, "Newspapers Online"


      Notes from February 20, 2011 Meeting

      President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order.  He mentioned upcoming genealogy programs to be held at the Central Library. For more information, call (916) 264-2920.

      On April 16, the German Genealogy Society will hold a one-day seminar.  Details on their website, www.SacGerGenSoc.org.

      The Family History Center will hold its sixth annual seminar on March 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Professional genealogist Lisa Lee will be one of the speakers.

      October 15 is the date for this year's Family History Day at the State Archives.  For details, go to www.fhd2011.blogspot, or call (916) 487-2090.  We'll have a table along with the Bay Area JGS, and will be looking for volunteers as the day gets closer.

      Mort mentioned that Marv Freedman is at home after some surgery and would welcome your calls.  Art Yates mentioned that Lester Smith is in the hospital, but hopes to be released shortly.  We hope both Marv and Lester are doing better.

      Root Cellar is holding a writing contest, deadline April 30.  First prize is a one-year membership to Ancestry.com.

      The Bay Area's Ron Arons is looking for people who have relatives who've been in jail or prison.  He's searching for records.

      February Speaker: Steve Morse

      One-Step Web Pages:  A Potpourri of Genealogical Tools

      Steve Morse returned to do an encore presentation about his one-step web pages, a set of tools he began developing about ten years ago.  It started with the Ellis Island site, which was difficult to use.  "So I put together my own form, Searching the Ellis Island database in one step."

      Now Steve can claim about 200 different tools in 16 different categories. He showed us a number of them during his presentation, more powerful tools for searching databases.

      Ellis Island Search Form -- White Form, for searching 1892-1924.  "It's my search form plus the Ellis Island search engine and database."

      Gold Form -- 1892-1924.  --"This is my own search form and my own search engine."  He noted that Sacramento JGSS member Gary Sandler did a lot of the work with him in developing this form.

      "This is the only search form where you can put down a traveling companion."

      All New York Passenger List, 1820-1957 -- "This is my search form plus Ancestry.com's search engine.  It does require a subscription."

      Steve advises that you "don't put down everything you know.  If anything doesn't match, it won't tell you about it."

      He showed an example of former New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (whose wife was Jewish).  "If I spelled his name correctly, I would have lost the other hit."

      Steve also suggests "using peripheral vision," anything that will give clues and open the door for more research.

      Two Tools To Find Ships --

         -- One step white or gold form, although have mislinked several forms

         -- Go to One-Step Ship Lists Form 

                   Can search by arrival date, get microfilm frame

                   Can access microfilm via the One-Step Manifests Form

      One-Step  Immigration Triangle:


                                       passenger names


      ship arrivals                                            microfilm rolls


      To find out more about the ship, and get pictures, there are 11 different sites.


      Steve's two big sections are for Ellis Island and the U.S. Census


      New York Passenger Arrivals

               Before 1820, no manifests

               Before 1855, no processing, passengers just walked off the ship

               From 1855- 1890. Passengers arrived at Castle Garden

               1890-91 - There was a barge office, while Ellis Island was under construction

               1892--1897 -- Ellis Island

                1897- 1900 - Barge office, Ellis Island closed due to fire

                1900- 1924 -- Ellis Island

                After 1924 -- special cases only.

      Steve said ships actually docked in Manhattan , and ferried passengers to Ellis Island .

      And, "name changes did not occur at Ellis Island , so you have to know the old name."


      Two Castle Garden databases --

           Ancestry.com -- includes all manifests, images, 1820- 1957

          castlegarden.org -- free, does not include manifests, claims to cover 1830-1897

      Steve says that if you put your mouse over the passenger name in the Castle Garden browser, you'll see a passenger ID number at the end -- you can then enter the number before or after.


      U.S. Census and Soundex --

      When a name search fails, you can search by address.  They're organized by enumeration districts:

      1900/1910, 1930/1940.  They skipped 1920, but you can convert the 1930 ED to 1920 version.

      For changed street names in 200+ cities, including Sacramento , there is info, aided by research done by Joel Weintraub.  If you send Steve a half-dozen changes for a particular city, he'll add your city to his list.

      Soundex is the code associated with a name -- names that sound the same.  "You can benefit from a 'sounds-like' search," Steve says.

      The American Soundex Code is used by the National Archives.  There is also the Daitch-Mokotoff Code, particularly useful for Jewish names.

      New York Census -- there are now name searches for the 1905 census, but for the most part it is an address search.  You convert the address to an Assembly District/Enumeration District.

      Birth, death and other vital records  -- some good websites:



      Private Eye (a long list of stuff for free)



      For deaths, best source is the Social Security Death Index-- the one-step website ties in with this for various use.

      If you want every possible database, go to Cyndi's List, Steve says.  His website provides tools for using particular databases.

      Also on his website:

      --  a "relativity calculator," to tell you what the relationship is between two people, whether it's a first cousin once removed, or what.

      -- calendar for sunrise/sunset times

      -- Hebrew alphabet, virtual keyboard where you can copy and paste.

      -- Miscellaneous one-step sites, such as the one for eBay.

      "More Google searches go to my latitude/longitude pages than anything else," Steve says.


      From the Feb. 27 Avotaynu E-Zine by Gary Mokotoff:

      Genealogy Webinars
      Genealogy webinars (web-based seminars) are a popular way to become educated in aspects of family history research. Here are some examples:

      Elise Friedman will continue her webinars on DNA and genealogy with six programs in March. Most are associated with the products of Family Tree DNA at
         • Tuesday, March 8 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 1: Y-DNA
         • Thursday, March 10 - Starting and Managing a Family Tree DNA Project
         • Tuesday, March 15 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 2: mtDNA
         • Tuesday, March 22 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 3: Family Finder
         • Thursday, March 24 - Conquering the Paper Monster [How to organize your genealogy data–Ed.]

      Cost is $10 each, except for the free beginner webinar on March 1. Additional information, including registration, can be found at

      Southern California Genealogical Society is offering webinars at no charge. There will be two in March:
         • March 5. Social Networking – New Horizons for Genealogists. How social networking is being used by genealogists and family historians of all ages.
         • March 16. Tell Me About When You Were a Child. Learn how to prepare, schedule, and conduct an effective family history interview

      Previous webinars are archived and available to SCGS members only. Additional information can be found at

      For other webinars, Google the keywords “webinars genealogy.”

      Tenth International Conference on Jewish Names
      The Tenth International Conference on Jewish Names will be held at
      Bar-Ilan University in Israel on March 22, 2011. The complete program of lectures and discussions is shown at the Israel Genealogy Society site at http://tinyurl.com/4lddwqn

      A sample of the talks include:
         • Jewish Names in the Modern World
         • The Notion of "Jewish Surnames"
         • Sepharad and Exile
         • Different Sources of Personal Names
         • Names in Eastern and Western Jewish Communities
         • Names in Modern Israel
         • Jewish Toponyms

      NARA Plans Budget Cuts
      Those planning to attend the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Washington, D.C., this summer may find that the National Archives and Records administration is running a leaner operation. Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has issued a statement that he plans to reduce the staff of the
      NARA’s library facilities in their main building and College Park facility. Additional information can be found at http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2011/nr11-80.html.

      Ferriero, in another statement, indicated he will be closing the
      NARA facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.. These reductions are in response to across-the-board budget cuts by the U.S. federal government. NARA’s budget is being cut by 8.2%.

      Who Do You Think You Are? Renewed for Third Season
      Based on viewer interest in just the first two weeks of its second season, the
      version of the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? has been renewed for a third season. NBC states the show has had seven million viewers overall in its first two weeks, making it NBC's #1 Friday series so far this season in total viewers.

      Influence of Ancestry.com on the Public’s Perception of Genealogy
      We are all aware of the tremendous impact Ancestry.com has had on greater access to the records of our ancestors. But there is another impact the company has had on genealogy: the public’s perception of family history research.

      For much of my genealogy career I have had to give a long explanation to people regarding what genealogy is all about. A typical response was something like “Oh, you mean family trees.” I was recently asked by a person what I did as an occupation, and when I said “genealogy publishing,” the response was “Oh, you mean Ancestry.com.”

      The great amount of advertising Ancestry.com has done and the show Who Do you Think You Are? has changed the public’s perception of genealogy from a hobby for little old ladies in tennis sneakers to a legitimate pastime for millions of people.

      Ancestry.com’s financial results for the year 2010 show the growth of interest in family history research. The company reported that their subscriber base grew by 31% compared to 2009. More significantly, the fourth quarter of 2010 represented more than half of this growth. They expect the number of subscribers to grow to 1.5 million by the end of the first quarter of 2011 and to 1.7 million by the end of this year. The report showed advertising and marketing expense was up 53% compared to 2009.

      Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the
      Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands located at http://www.joodsmonument.nl/?lang=en is a memorial to more than 100,000 Dutch Jews murdered in the Shoah. Information about each individual includes name, date and place of birth, date and place of death and the address where they lived. In some cases, additional information is provided such as familial relationships. A search engine allows you to search on any of the data fields. There is provision to add additional information about the person.

      A description of the website can be found at


      See you Sunday morning, March 13 – Robinn Magid on research in Poland.

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