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250Genealogy Update -- Meeting Oct. 16

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Oct 9, 2011

      Jewish Genealogical Society
      of Sacramento
      October 9, 2011
      Our next meeting -- next Sunday:
      Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento
      Sunday, October 16, 2011, 10 a.m.
      Jews of India -- Yael Numark
      Yael Numark is a Sacramentan born in Mumbai (Bombay) who'll discuss the legacy and history of India's Jewish communities.  Yael says many of the same Jewish traditions found throughout the world would be found in Mumbai's eight synagogues, although there are also traditions specific to India.  The written record of Jews in India goes back to the 1700s.
      Program Notes, September 19 Meeting
      President Victoria Fisch welcomed members and guests. 
      A few announcements: The Central Library in Sacramento will hold more genealogy classes, including a Beginning Genealogy class on October 22 for 1 to 2:30.  Other topics are scheduled in the months ahead, including Steve Morse on the 1940 census in January.
      Gesher Galicia has a new database -- http://searchgeshergalicia.org
      Family History Day at the State Archives is Saturday, October 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.   We will have a booth and it's not to late to volunteer an hour or so to staff the booth.
      Victoria noted we havea DVD of the "Who Do You Think You Are" episode with Gwyneth Paltrow, if you'd like to brrow it.
      Teven Laxer has donated a flash drive with the audio portions of speakers from the Washington D.C. international conference, approximately 150 workshops.
      There will be a Sacramento Archives Crawl October 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. -- the first annual event featuring 22 local archives and special collection libraries.  This is in celebration of National Archives Month.
      Our next meeting, Sunday,October 16, is the same day as the CongregationBeth Shalom Food Faire.  Bob Wascou advises members to come to the meeting, then stop by the Faire.   Of interest this year is an apron reading "From Generation to Generation" which can be purchased for $18 and pre-ordered (along with food items)  The website is www.foodfaire.cbshalom.org
      Our program for September was presented by Victoria Fisch, on "Secrets to Searching on Ancestry."  She took members to an online view of Ancestry, seeking details about member Abraham Spivak's uncle, Harry Cohn of Chicago.
      Victoria will send out notes on her presentation to ensure a comprehensive overview.
      A few items of interest:
      Russia Opens First Jewish History in Russia Museum
      There are English subtitleson this site; http://tinyurl.com/3ecbbck.  Original Url:
      From Avotaynu's October 2 E-Zine:
      Jewish Cemetery Restoration Projects in Eastern Europe
      There are many projects which involved a group of individuals working toward restoring the Jewish cemetery in a town in Eastern Europe. Two organizations are attacking the problem at the country rather than a town level.

      Lithuanian Jewish Heritage Project is working with the Lithuanian government to restore Jewish cemeteries in that country. Their goal is to bring together students from North America and Western Europe with youths from Eastern Europe to restore Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. They plan to map and index cemeteries; add plantings to the property; recover, clean and reset fallen tombstones; and erect commemorative monuments. Annual upkeep of the cemetery by local residents will create community involvement over the years. For details:t http://ljhp.wordpress.com.

      Poland Jewish Communities Restoration Project (PJCRP) has similar goals, in this case, to involve the youths of Germany and Poland in the restoration of some 1400 cemeteries and fencing of mass graves in Poland. They have already restored and rededicated cemeteries in Losice, Ozarow, Tarlow and Wachock. Recently they met with the mayor of Polaniec committed to funding the restoration of the Jewish cemetery there. PJCRP claims this is the first time that a town in Poland has ever funded restoration of their Jewish cemetery. Their website is at http://www.pjcrp.org/menu_eng.html.

      Dead Sea Scrolls Online
      Google, the company, has made a number of significant contributions to Jewish causes. One of the cofounders of Google, Sergey Brin, who is Jewish, may be behind these efforts. In 2009, he personally gave $1 million to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), an organization that has assisted, for more than 100 years, Jewish immigrants to relocate in the U.S. Brin emigrated from Russia when he was six years old. After the donation, HIAS created a slogan “If it were not for HIAS, there might be no Google.”

      Last year, Google partnered with Yad Vashem to make available 130,000 photos and documents in the possession of Yad Vashem.  Now Google has partnered with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to place the Dead Sea Scrolls online.  It includes an English-language translation as you place your mouse over a portion of the text. Details at  http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/.

      Canada Gazette (18411997) Now Online
      Library and Archives Canada has made issues of the Canada Gazette (1841–1997) available at its website. Often referred to as the official newspaper of the Government of Canada, the Canada Gazette has been an important instrument in the Canadian democratic process for 170 years. For additional information about the project and access to the search engine:  http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/canada-gazette/index-e.html.
      GenealogyBank.com, which claims to be the largest and fastest-growing provider of newspapers for family history research, has added more than 134 million newspaper articles this month. Its newspaper collection now contains over one billion genealogy records from 1690 to the present day. The U.S. newspaper archives collection now offers over 5,700 newspapers from small towns and big cities in all 50 states to search for family history. A list of newspapers by state can be found at http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/newspapers/sourcelist

      1940 Census to Shed Light on Our Ancestors
      To be released in April 2012; Depression’s impact on nation included in tabulation.
      ·         By Don Harrison
      Christopher Zarr of the National Archives speaking at the Gaelic-American Club in Fairfield on Sept. 10. 
      If you’re seeking more information about Aunt Tillie or Uncle Charlie, help is on the horizon. The 1940 Federal U.S. Census will become available to the public – electronically – on April 2, 2012.
      “This was called the first modern census,” said Christopher Zarr, an education specialist for the National Archives and Records Administration, on a recent morning at the Gaelic-American Club in Fairfield. His seminar, sponsored by the Freamh Eireann Genealogy Group, attracted 60 people.
      For the first time, respondents were asked their highest grade of school completed (instead of whether they were able to read and write). People were asked to indicate the “amount of money, wages or salary received” in 1939. To determine migration, respondents were asked to state their address as of April 1, 1935 as well as April 1, 1940. 
      “The major goal was to gauge the effect of the Great Depression on the nation,” Zarr explained.
      How different life was for Americans in 1940. The U.S. population was 132,164,569 (or less than one third of the 2010 count of 308,745,538). The life expectancy for males was 58.1 years, for females 61.6 years. The average annual salary in 1940 was $1,368. But a gallon of milk cost 14 cents.
      In Europe and Asia, World War II was under way. The U.S. was committed to its policy of isolationism, but Axis military successes in both sectors were prompting Americans to rethink their posture toward the war.
      Some Depression-era inquiries were included among the 34 questions asked of all 1940 respondents. For example, “was he at work on, or assigned to, EMERGENCY WORK (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.)?” For youngsters in the audience, those abbreviations pertained to Work Projects Administration, National Youth Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps – three New Deal programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt that provided unskilled manual labor jobs to unemployed men (and some women) during the Depression.
      Other questions pertained to occupation and industry. “Some of the unusual occupations in 1940,” Zarr pointed out, “were ham sniffer and whistle tester.”
      Approximately five percent of the population was asked supplementary questions, 16 in all. In the category “Mother Tongue (or Native Language),” the respondent was asked to name the “Language spoken in home in earliest childhood.”
      Another subset in this grouping, though, would be deemed sexist by today’s standards. “For All Women Who Are or Have Been Married,” each female respondent was to answer:
      ·         Has this woman been married more than once? (Yes or No)
      ·         Age at first marriage?
      ·         Number of children ever born? (Do not include stillbirths)
      Why weren’t men asked the same questions? Don’t ask.
      The 72-year delay in releasing our nation’s census was implemented in 1952 for reasons of privacy. That’s when the census director and the U.S. archivist agreed that population schedules were to be transferred to the National Archives “with the provision that they remain closed for seventy-two years after the enumeration date for each census.”
      Zarr’s employer, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), was created in 1934. It’s headquartered in Washington, D.C., although Zarr works in its New York regional office on Varick Street in Greenwich Village.
      “We’re the nation’s recordkeeper. We have the custodial care of federal agency records, according to the U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 2),” he explained.
      Prior to the NARA’s formation, governmental agencies could maintain their own files. As one might guess, some files were lost or misplaced through the years. “Basically the entire 1890 census was lost in a fire,” Zarr said.
      The sheer volume of the NARA records is measured in cubic feet. “We have approximately 100,000 cubic feet of documents,” he said. “That equates to an estimated 10 billion pages of documents, including maps and charts.”
      Zarr was employed as a high school history teacher in his native New Jersey when he learned, quite by chance, about his current position with the NARA being available. That was about three years ago. As education specialist, he informs the populace about the records in the National Archives and how to access them.
      "They're great resources for family history people," he said.
      The 1940 census will be released online on April 2, 2012. Visit http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940.
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      Auckland89.4FM 1080AM  New zealand
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      Genealogy enthusiasts to spend night in library
      23/09/2011 6:04:00
      By Juliette Sivertsen
      Around 60 family history enthusiasts are set to spend the night locked in at Auckland Libraries research centre to study their ancestry.
      It's for the annual Karen Kalopulu Family History Lock-In.
      Library staff and volunteers from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists will be on hand to help people track their family history.
      Auckland Libraries Family History Librarian Seonaid Lewis says it's wonderful to see moments of discovery.
      "People's heritage becomes more important to them as they get older, I think. And being a young country as well, we're always conscious that we came from somewhere else," she says.
      Ms Lewis says some participants bring a blanket and pillow for a nap while others keep going with the help of plenty of caffeine. She says there's a big appeal to spending all night in the library.
      "The ability to be able to sit down and focus on researching your family history outside of library hours when they don't have to share perhaps with other researchers who are researching other topics," she says.
      Ms Lewis says the kettle will be going all night with coffee and tea, as well as pizza at midnight and snacks to keep them awake.
      Descendants visit Annapolis, talk about George, laugh at themselves
      By EARL KELLY, Staff Writer   Capital Gazette Communications
      Published 09/25/11
      The National Society of the Washington Family Descendants came to Annapolis this weekend, starting their visit at the Old Senate Chamber in the State House.
      http://www2.hometownannapolis.com/photos/110925washington.jpgBy Laura-Chase McGehee ­— The Capital National Society of the Washington Family Descendants member Peggy Mathis, her husband Jim Mathis, both of Williamsburg, Va., and society member Sandy McDonough of Dallas get a closer look at their ancestor Gen. George Washington’s address to Congress as he resigned his commission after the American Revolution.
      It was there that Gen. George Washington returned his commission to Congress at the end of the American Revolution.
      Some of the group said they are interested in the contributions their great ancestor made, while others said they are interested in genealogy, generally.
      One even confessed to tracing her dog's ancestry back to the Civil War.
      When Washington resigned his commission and handed power back to Congress on Dec. 23, 1783, he ensured that the new nation would be led by civilians. Elected leaders were to serve at the will of the people, and not to be militarists ruling through force and fear.
      Many historians consider Washington's unprecedented act to be one of the most important events in modern history. As State Archivist Dr. Edward Papenfuse told the group during their tour late Friday, "It is a sacred place, so far as I am concerned."
      One witness who wrote about the Dec. 23 speech by Washington stated: "The General's hand which held the address shook as he read it." Also, "there was hardly a member of Congress who did not drop tears."
      Yesterday, as Washington's descendants went on a guided trolley tour of Annapolis, Dr. Ron Reece, a dermatologist from Redding, Calif., said he has thought long and hard about what his ancestor did.
      "It's the difference between America after its revolution, and France under Napoleon," Reece said.
      After the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte installed himself in power and forced the nation to bow down to him. Washington, on the other hand, bowed to Congress at the end of his resignation speech, walked out of the Maryland State House, straddled his horse, and rode home to the life of a planter. He tended his fields and minded his business interests, until called upon to help build a stronger government and serve as president.
      Reece, 55, said he marvels at how the Founding Fathers were so well read, and how much they knew about governing.
      "America is an idea," Reece said, "the idea that people can rule themselves. ... The idea was a flowering of the Enlightenment that was blooming in England."
      The National Society of the Washington Family Descendants has about 300 members, about 50 of whom attended this year's annual meeting. Some said that tracing their roots has become a passion.
      "It means absolutely nothing to my family because nobody is interested in genealogy or history - when I start talking about genealogy, it clears the room," said Valencia, Calif., resident William Campbell, who descended from Washington's sister, Betty Washington Lewis.
      "There's a line between an obsession and a fascination, and you get into genealogy and you blow through that line in no time," Campbell said.
      Indeed, some members of National Society of the Washington Family Descendants may have crossed the line.
      "I have even researched my Labrador retriever's roots back to 1860," said Lee Woody, president of the Washington descendants association. "She traces back to a super chief that belonged to August Belmont III that lived in Easton, Md."
      After saying that, Woody laughed at herself.
      Whether their passion is genealogy or George Washington, the descendants who came to Annapolis went on tours of a number of sites, including the Hammond-Harwood and Chase-Lloyd mansions.
      At Chase-Lloyd House, tour guide Carol Kelly told the group that Samuel Chase was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Washington appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court.
      Kelly then talked some smack as she pointed to a Palladian window, and said that critics consider it the finest example of such a three-piece window in America.
      "That would make it nicer than the one at (Washington's home) Mount Vernon," Kelly said.
      A few of the group laughed, and some gave her some gentle boos.
      George Washington never had any children, and all members of the National Society of the Washington Family Descendants trace their ancestry back to other members of the family.
      The group holds its annual convention in places that had some connection to Washington.
      It was only the second time the National Society of the Washington Family Descendants held its annual meeting in Annapolis, which served as the nation's capital in late 1783.
      Washington often came here on business and traveled through town on his way to Philadelphia. He also liked to gamble in some of the inns and watch horse races at what became Parole.
      It's likely, judging from the descendants who came to Annapolis this weekend, that Washington would be happy with his relations.
      One older member of the group told how she went back to college in her 50s and went on to earn two graduate degrees, including a Ph.D.
      Campbell, the descendant who has come to love genealogy, said his family has worn the nation's uniform in nearly every war the country has fought. He had nine ancestors in the Revolution, Campbell said, as well as ancestors in the War of 1812, the Civil War and World Wars I and II. Campbell served in the Vietnam War, but said his family doesn't have anyone serving now.
      The youngest person at the convention, Jennifer Goode, is 22. The Austin, Texas, resident said she was using this trip East to look at graduate schools.
      Goode wants to study foreign affairs, and she thinks that helping end poverty in Africa would be a great contribution to humankind.
      The General, always one to look at the big picture, likely would agree.
      See you next Sunday morning, October 16!