September Genealogy Notes
Jewish Genealogical Society
October 3, 2007
Family History Day -- Saturday, October 13
We'll have a table and are still seeking volunteers to help staff it for an hour or two. If you're interested, please e-mail Bob Wascou at robertw252@.... Below is some information about the day's activities:
Saturday, October 13, 2007
8:30 a.m to 4 p.m.
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street, Sacramento
(Light Rail stops here - get off at the Archives Plaza stop)
Classes and admission are free. Some new and special speakers are scheduled to appear. This year's program includes:
Steve Morse, author of the famous "1-Step" Internet search tools, . Ron Arons, presenting Internet searches "Beyond Steve Morse's Website," Sue Roe with "Female Physicians in Colonial America" and "Preparing Papers for Lineage Societies," Melinda Kashuba, author of "Walking with Your Ancestors: A Genealogist's Guide to Using Maps and Geography," Lisa Lee, presenting "Neat Search Tips and Tricks for Ancestry.com," and . Everett Ireland, with a class on the under-utilized, non-population census records.
More reasons to attend:
** Preservation Lab Demonstrations **
** Tours of the Archives **
** Society Displays **
** Free classes all day **
** For the full schedule, visit www.sacvalleygenes.org **
October is California Archives Month. For directions to the Archives and more information on Family History Day and other Archives Month events, visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/archmonth2007.html
Family History Day is co-sponsored by
September 24 JGSS Meeting Notes
President Burt Hecht called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests. He announced the results of a recent poll of members, regarding the day meetings should be held.
8 voted for the current Sunday/Monday combination
11 voted from Mondays only
16 voted for Sundays only
No action was taken, but Burt said a later start time on Sundays might be explored.
Mort Rumberg provided an overview of upcoming speakers. October 15, Pam Dallas will talk about beginning genealogy research. "Often the basics hold the clues" for successful research, Mort said. November 18, Carol Baird will discuss German Jewish genealogy, and in December, Aaron Kornblum will talk about the Western Jewish History Center based at the Magnes Museum in Berkeley.
Burt asked members to volunteer their time at the Family History Day event at the State Archives Saturday, October 13. We will have a booth, and speakers will include Steve Morse and Ron Arons. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 10th and O streets downtown, with a light rail stop right in front of the Archives.
"It's a lot of fun and the lectures are fantastic," Mort said, recalling last year. Burt asked those volunteering to bring a keepsake of genealogical interest.
Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer's report. We have $1,908.15 in our account.
Burt mentioned that he's currently volunteering on Project Nanaimo, involved with indexing passenger lists at various Canadian ports. The lists are on microfilm but have not until now been indexed. "If you have a rudimentary knowledge of Excel, you can help out with the indexing," he said. For more information, check out
The speaker for the meeting was Gary Frohlich, a certified genetic counselor and patient care liaison. He spoke about "Our Heritage and Our Health: Genetic Conditions Among the Ashkenazim" and provided several pamphlets and a DVD for those attending.
Gary has been with Genzyme Therapeutics for 17 years. He started as a pre-natal counselor and estimates he saw about 26,000 pregnant women during that time.
He said Gaucher disease is the most common Ashkenazi disease, and the only one that you may have as an adult. All of the other diseases, such as Tay-Sachs, lead to death in early childhood. You may also know someone who has not yet been diagnosed with Gaucher's disease. In Los Angeles, there should be about 1,000 in the population there, but only 177 are currently known. He noted that September happens to been Gaucher Disease Awareness Month.
Gary provided a brief biology lesson -- each human has 23 chromosomes -- 22 plus an X or Y. All of the Ashkenazi diseases are enzyme disorders and males and females are affected equally.
With Gaucher disease, "we've actually manufactured the enzyme -- there is no cure but help to break down the products is the way it can be treated."
Mizrahi Jews never left the Middle East so they don't have the same gene pool as Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, Gary said. The Ashkenazi, from Central and Eastern Europe; the Sephardic, from Spain and Portugal.
He mentioned that Christopher Columbus' pilot was Sephardic, and they happened to sail for the New World the day before Jews had to be out of Spain. Descendants of the Spanish crew can be found in Arizona, New Mexico and the Four Corners region. "Their children today have Jewish genetic disorders, although they don't necessary identify with the religion."
The Ashkenazi, over a period of 1400 years, did not put down roots, Gary said. They were continuously persecuted and forced out of countries, with everybody relocated. "They have more genetic diseases than any other population on the planet," he said.
The Ashkenazi lived in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and other countries to a lesser extent.
The "Founder Effect" -- this refers to a person or a "founder" who carries a specific disease mutation. You don't know if you're a carrier. But due to large families, and marriage within the shtetl, over generations this led to a higher frequency of the original disease mutation.
These diseases are rare in other populations. But Gary said marrying a non-Jew does not get you off the hook, since they can still be carried in the non-Jewish population.
Gary also talked about the origins of Ashkenazi names.
There were patronymic names -- Gary Nathanson, son of Nathan.
Names relating to city of residence -- Berliner, Frankfurter, Landau
Names relating to occupations -- Goldschmidt, Fleischman (butcher), Schneider (tailor), Zimmerman (carpenter).
Descriptive names -- Klein, Roth, Kurtz (small, red, short)
Assigned names -- Plotz, Billig, Bauer (peasant)
Names purchased -- Feingold
Napoleon required Jews to buy their names -- if poor, they were assigned to them
Gary said there are eight million Ashkenazis left on the planet. 3.5 million, or 42%, are related to four women who lived between the 12th and 3th centuries in Middle Europe.
There are 11 diseases we can screen for, Gary said, whereas in 1973, the only screening was for Tay-Sachs (1 in 21 in the Jewish population are carriers, 1 in 50 in French Canada and 1 in 200 in the general population). Gaucher disease can be found in 1 in 15 in the Jewish population.
"You test the person who is most Jewish first -- if they are a carrier, then you test the partner," he said.
All 11 of the diseases, except Gaucher's, are fatal, most in early childhood. For Gaucher's you can replace the enzyme that's missing and continue to live. One in four people are carriers for one of the 11 diseases.
Every person has 6-8 genes which can produce disease, Gary said, but when you're related to each other, they could be the same 6-8 genes. All Ashkenazi diseases involve recessive genes.
"Tay-Sachs we've all heard of, but there's no orchestrated, committed, educational effort to bring everybody up to speed about these other diseases," Gary said.
"Gaucher disease is progressive, multi-systemic and debilitating -- fatty cells accumulate and break down certain organs, including the liver and spleen." Fractured hips are not uncommon -- one patient had seven hip replacements.
"You can diagnose Gaucher's with a simple blood test -- if diagnosed early enough, you can prevent bone disease and reverse organ involvement," Gary said.
He said in the Sacramento area, there are several doctors specializing in treatment of Gaucher's, including Dr. Seymour Packman at UCSF, Dr. Mark Lipson at Kaiser in Sacramento, and Dr. Billar Moghaddishi (sp?) at UC. Davis.
"Most physicians, if they're not Jewish, don't know about these diseases."
"I encourage you to share this information with all the generations that you can," Gary said. "Look back at your family trees and shake them a little bit and look at why those babies died."
Gary noted that breast cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancer show up in a higher percentage in the Jewish population than in the general population.
For Sephardic Jews, there are a few diseases as well:
Familial Mediterranean Fever
Glycogen Storage Disease
Glucose 6 phospate dehydrogenase (sp?) deficiency
For the Mizrahim, Middle Eastern Jews, there are seven diseases, including Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy (HIBM)
"No one sitting in this room has any of these Ashkenazi diseases except Gaucher's -- you would have already died, " Gary said.
Treatment for Gaucher's -- enzyme replacement therapy -- has only been available for the last 16 years. It costs about $200,000/year and is covered by insurance.
Last year, Gary said he did 90 presentations in Ob-Gyn offices to educate staff, not just doctors. "The doctor has maybe six minutes with you, while the staff has to answer all the questions," he said. "And I've in-serviced every Hillel in California."
"There are 19 of me in Los Angeles County; 2600 genetic counselors in the country."
Note from speaker:
Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to provide the program last night. I welcome ANY feedback
(positive or negative) about the program or comments made by those in attendance. Please
forward them to me at your earliest convenience.
For the free DNA kits contact:
Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
2480 South Main Street Suite #200
Salt Lake City, UT
or info@ smgf.org www.smgf.org <http://www.smgf.org/>
Gary S. Frohlich, MS, CGC
Certified Genetic Counselor / Patient Care Liaison
Phone: 310.471.0080 Fax: 310.471.8062 Mobile: 310.220.9673
Voicemail: 1.800.326.7002 x 19242 <Gary.Frohlich@...>
From the recent Avotaynu e-zine newsletter by Gary Mokotoff:
Remarkably Detailed Maps of Interwar Poland
From 1919–1939 the Polish Military Geographical Institute mapped all of Poland. Their efforts now have been placed on the Internet. The 1:300,000 maps are of sufficient detail that they even show the location of buildings. Interwar Poland extended north of Vilna (Vilnius), south of Stanislawow (Ivano-Frankivsk), west of Poznan and east of Pinsk. Introductory information about the project can be found at http://www.mapywig.org/viewpage.php?page_id=8. The index of maps can be found at http://igrek.amzp.pl/mapindex.php?cat=WIG300. Note that when you link to this page there is a pull-down menu displaying the words “Mapa Operacyjna Polski 1:300000.” Open this up and it displays other map series they have online for Poland including pre-World War I maps created in Germany.
There are also some 1:100,000 maps of principal cities and a list of 1:25,000 maps, but none of the latter seems to be online. This website mentions sister sites at http://mapy.eksploracja.pl which have very detailed maps of northern Poland (Pommerania and Gdansk, and http://mapy.amzp.pl/maps.shtml which has pre-World War I German maps of today’s western Poland, 1:25000. This last site has a search engine that will locate which maps at any of the three sites include a specific town. It is located at http://igrek.amzp.pl/search.php
UK Emigration Lists 1890–1939 Now Online
The British firm, FindMyPast.com, has now expanded its index of people emigrating from the UK to include the years 1890–1939. Plans call for including all passenger lists up to 1960.
It is a fee-for-service site. At no charge, the site displays the passenger's name, sex, year of departure, departure port, destination port and country. A transcript of the entry for a specific passenger costs five units. To get a copy of the actual page from the passenger list costs 30 units. You can purchase a minimum of 60 units for £6.95 (about $14). There are discounts for larger purchases.
A transcript adds to the basic information the exact date of departure, age, marital status, occupation, names of other persons traveling with passenger, name of ship and other information about the ship. FindMyPast.com has a number of other databases, such as 1841-1891 census data, military records, and vital records index books.
British Library Posts Jewish Collections for Eastern European Countries
The British Library has online their holdings for Slavonic an
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