March Genealogy Notes
- Notes from March 20, 2005
Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento
Vice President Burt Hecht called the meeting to order. Two articles were
distributed related to the new Yad Vashem database, including one about Teven
Laxer's father-in-law's family, about which he spoke in January.
Lester Smith gave a heads-up about the May 5 Yom Hashoah commemoration at
Mosaic Law congregation. He said the program handout will include a copy of the
page of testimony form from Yad Vashem. JGSS may be able to have a table in
the back, with a computer, to show people how to access the database site.
Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer's report – there is a balance of
It was noted that our listing on the IAGJS Web site was not updated.
Lester Smith showed off a new book in our library, the "Genealogy Gazeteer of
the Kingdom of Hungary."
Burt noted that our next meeting with be on Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m. , when
Jason Lindo will talk about the Conversos, or Hidden Jews. They are
descendants of Spanish and Portugues Jews forced to convert to Christianity during the
Inquisition. Jason himself is a Portuguese Converso and converted to Judaism
eight years ago. Burt said there is an excellent historical novel about the
Conversos, "The Last Jew," by Noah Gordon.
Art Yates reported on attending the meeting of the Sacramento Genealogy and
Historical Council, composed of about 20 active groups. They are making
donations to a memorial for Lorraine Green of the Family History Center. Art also
mentioned an upcoming LDS seminar May 7 in Rancho Cordova and a society
workshop May 21 at the Family History Center.
MARCH PRESENTATION: PAMELA DALLAS
Our featured speaker was Pam Dallas, who has spoken to us on several
occasions in the past. She provided a whirlwind tour of genealogy records in the
Pam provided a list of the types of records available, from adoption to wills
with many types in between.
Pam, who attended the February JGSS presentation by Steve Morse, said she was
among those from the Placer County Genealogy Society who met at the National
Archives in San Bruno to learn more about the 1930 census data. She said a
man in the back kept asking good questions about the census ... it turned out to
be Steve Morse (who has provided one-step access to the 1930 census on his
Pam began by discussing seven important steps for those beginning their
research. They are:
1) Interview all your relatives, no matter how close or distantly related.
2) Obtain vital records (birth, marriage, death) for all relatives starting
with yourself. "We assume too much about our family history – look at the
records, then evaluate."
3) Conduct research of census records for each family member, starting with
the most recent census and working back.
4) Consult published works at local libraries and through interlibrary loan.
5) Contact individuals and research families through correspondence and
e-mail to find out more information.
6) Record your info on pedigree sheets, family group sheets and in pedigree
7) Cite your sources – "genealogy without documentation is mythology."
Book suggestion – "Evidence" by Elizabeth Shown Mills, about $17, which is in
our JGSS library. "If I only had one genealogy book, this is the one I'd
have," Pam said.
In evaluating sources, Pam said there's no such thing as a primary source –
there is primary information and secondary information, derivative sources, and
direct evidence or indirect evidence.
For example, on a death certificate, there is the name, date of death, reason
for death –that is primary information. The rest is probably secondary
information – where the deceased was born, parents' names, maiden name, etc. So
the death certificate could be the original source but contain both primary and
She told the story about the enumerators from the 1910 census – they were
asked to go to each household three times, and if they couldn't reach anybody,
then to get what information they could from the neighbors. So you could find
information on the 1910 census, but the accuracy may be in question.
Collateral people – individuals related to you either by blood or marriage or
business relationship, social relationship or geographical circumstances.
Who did your relatives interact with – neighbors, business associates, enemies.
They could be the key to your research questions.
Pam said she was knew a relative was from Ireland, but didn't know more than
that. On a census record for the family, everyone was listed as from Ireland,
except one member who was listed as from "Galway." That gave her the clue
she needed to find more information.
Places to Search for Records? These includes state libraries, and each
publishes an index of their holdings, and also state archives and state historical
societies. Pam said she recommends that you join at least three societies:
1) a local group, giving you educational opportunities for research and a
library. The local group also serves as a support group, and is there to help
you celebrate your successes.
2) a national society that has an interest in your research
3) a society in the geographic area where you do most of your research.
"Nobody knows their records like they do," Pam said. She belongs to five societies
in Indiana, where many of her relatives are from.
University libraries are another source of information, often underused.
The Family History Library has a resource guide for every state, which you
can download from their Web site.
Another book recommendation: "America's Best Genealogical Resource Centers"
by William Dollarback.
Pam mentioned the Godfrey Memorial Library – www.godfrey.org which has
access to a lot of databases. The cost for the site is $35/year, and Pam says the
image quality is better than that of Ancestry. Among the databases is one
that includes those who've appeared in "Who's Who" editions.
Cemetery records – Pam urges researches to "see the tombstone, if you can."
She said it sometimes differs from the written record at the cemetery office.
"Just because it's written in stone doesn't make it true."
She mentioned the case of a man whose name is on the tombstone with his wife,
but his body isn't there. "Wife number 2 wanted him buried with her in a
Pam had a great tip for those cemeteries you may not be able to visit – she
sends a disposable camera, a postage-paid envelope and a small donation to the
cemetery office, giving as much information about the person and grave
location as possible. "I've never not had a camera returned to me."
And Pam says get a copy of everything you can from the cemetery office. She
says when she writes to cemeteries and funeral homes, she says she's
researching her family medical history (not genealogy).
Pam says on visits to cemeteries, she transcribes not only her relative's
tombstone, but those in the immediate area around her family.
Cemetery records are also held at the county, Pam says, including the
courthouse, coroner's office and county health department. Don't think just in terms
of the cemetery – she showed a copy of receipt for the transportation of a
The National Archives books on the 1920 and 1930 censuses has a list of the
countries the census enumerators had to choose from – the books are available
for $4.00 from the archives
(1930 Federal Population Census).
The later the census, the more information, Pam says. They have been taking
place evey 10 years since 1790, except 1890. There is a 72-year privacy law on
releasing of census information.
The Family History Center has microfilmed many of them. They listed head of
household, spouse. If it was not acceptable to be divorced, women may have
listed themselves as widows. Some directories list deaths for the year. Along
with listing businesses, many have maps. Information on whether property was
rented or owned may also be of interest to you as a researcher – the owner may
be a relative.
These can be excellent, and may tell what was on the body, who claimed it,
etc. When requesting death records, always request a photocopy of the original
record (rather than just the information). In the midwest and midatlantic
states, there is usually a data sheet on the deceased.
For Illinois records, there is a 1916-1950 Illinois Death Index, available
Sanborn maps – these were fire insurance maps – more and more are online.
Pam says UC Berkeley has an incredible collection that can be valuable to you
if you have the address of an ancestor.
Marriage records – get a photocopy of the original record. Most states after
1900 required a marriage application, which would have information of
World War I military applications – all males had to register, whether they
served or not. The Georgia office of the National Archives has an order form
on its Web site. If the person lived in a major city, you would want to know
List of dead or missing from all branches of service are online; in
California there is a Web page listing all those who served in World War II.
Naturalization records – married women were not required to file these on
their own until after 1922. Minor children were not required to submit if they
were under 21 when their parents were naturalized.
Obituaries – find as many as you can. Some may be longer than others because
more space available. Often can find names of married children.
Death records are filed in the geographic area of the death. If you die in
Seattle, the record would be in Washington state.
New York prison records – many are online.
PERSI— this is the Periodical Source Index. You can find it on Ancestry and
Allen County Public Library indexing program of worldwide periodicals. You
can search by title of article or surnames.
WPA – Work Progress Administration – workers transcribed "everything out
there," Pam says, doing inventories of county records, indexes and more. They
can be found at state libraries, state historical societies and the Library of
Congress. John Heisey did a book on the WPA's work, published by Heritage
NUCMC –This is a catalogue of manuscript collections by the Library of
Congress. www.loc.gov. There is an index of all names in the collections; you
can also search businesses and locations. You can find obscure collections in
places you'd never expect to find them.
Book recommendation: Ann Lainhart, "State Census Records," which is in our
Courthouse research: "Archival and Manuscript Repositories in California," by
Pam provided a handout with Web sites and a list of dozens of types of
records that can provide data for your genealogy research.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Jewish Genealogical Society
Software on Sale: Several members had expressed an interest in Family Tree Maker software … thanks to Bob Wascou for alerting us that Fry's Electronics has Family Tree Maker on sale for $9.99 until Tuesday, April 4 ($49.99 with a $40 rebate).
How much is that in today’s $$$?
This Web site has a handy Inflation calculator …. www.westegg.com/inflation/. You enter the amount of money, enter a year from 1800 to 2005 and enter a second year to compare it to. This is way to measure the value of a house or inheritance (or a loaf of bread) against today’s dollars.
March 19 Meeting Notes
President Mark Heckman called the meeting to order and noted that elections for JGSS officers will be held in May. Mark is term-limited out, so candidates for president and other offices are being sought.
Art Yates presented a report of the activities of the Genealogical and Historical Council of Sacramento Valley, which has nearly $9,000 in its treasury. To find out more about the organization, visit www.sacvalleygenes.org. Speaking of Web sites, Art wanted to complement Mark Heckman on our own upgraded Web site. "It looks really great!" If it's been a while, check it out at: www.jgss.org
Art mentioned that the Nevada County Genealogical Society is filming all the land records for the county. And the National Genealogical Society conference will be held this year in Chicago, June 7-10.
Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer's report -- we have $1539.58 in our account.
Vice President Burt Hecht provided an overview of some upcoming programs. In April we'll return to our Monday evening schedule.
April 17, 7 p.m. -- David and Sonia Hoffman of Los Angeles will talk about their Grand Duchy of Lithuanian project, encompassing what was once Lithuania, Belarus and parts of Poland. The Hoffmans are translating and analyzing thousands of pages of census-tax records from the latter half of the 18th century.
May 15, 7 p.m. -- Les Finke, director of the Albert Einstein Residence Center, will discuss creating family documentaries on video.
June -- Pam Dallas will return to talk about researching in cemeteries.
July -- Researching in the New York City Area (in preparation for theAugust IAJGS conference)
This fall we’ll hear from Mark Heckman on his upcoming trip to Ukraine; there are also plans for a possible fall trip to the Magnes Museum in Berkeley.
Mark Heckman mentioned our library, which continues to grow from new additions. All can use the books on meeting days; members may check out books.
Mark missed the January meeting as he was in Los Angeles to speak to the L.A. JGS on the best software to use for genealogy. He passed around a copy of Family Tree Magazine's 2005 Guidebook, which lists the best Web sites and ten best software programs (www.familytreemagazine.com).
Our March program was a Genealogy "Share-athon," a round robin for members to share their roadblocks and successes. First up was Sid Salinger, who noted that his interest in genealogy began at age 16, when a genetics project in his biology class required a family tree. He showed off the original tree he made on 20 feet of shelf paper. Currently Sid is head of the Sun City Roseville genealogy group.
Sid said three of his grandparents were born in this country and he's been able to visit all their gravesites. But he's been stuck on finding documentation on his grandmother's family for Solomon Frohsin.
Sid said he's tried Google, Family Tree of the Jewish People and has found some Frohsins, all in Alabama and Georgia. He's contacted them but is still not able to link Solomon Frohsin with Louis Frohsin a generation above. He has birth and death certificates on all the Frohsins born in this country, but nothing on Solomon. Sid mentioned that the town his relatives came from is Brakel in Germany.
Suggestions from members to Sid: Contact the German Genealogical Society in Sacramento, also German Genealogy Web sites. Are there immigration records he hasn't yet checked?
A quick search of our library located five books on Jews in Germany that could be used as references.
Did Sid check synagogue records? Yes, he got some information. Philadelphia birth records? No, not yet. He said he had checked some city directories.
Sid could do a Google search for the name, or go to www.switchboard.com. The number of names would depend on how common the name is. Bob Wascou said Google gave him the name of a cousin he thought would be in the Philadelphia area but was actually nearby in Walnut Creek. Art said he got a list of phone numbers for a particular name and starting making calls; after a number of tries he hit one name that appeared to be a relative. Burt Hecht suggested the Jewish Family Finder where you can put in surnames; Les Malkin said "people keep finding me," and says he has a list of non-related Malkins
Ron Arons' talk a while back on "Using the Internet to Find Anyone and Anything" was cited. It's been posted on JewishGen and offers good tips for finding people. Check out www.jewishgen.org/jgsli/ron_arons_links.htm
One of the other suggestions was that Sid make a visit to the German town, to see what he could learn.
Sid noted that he took his son, a teacher, to Salt Lake City on a research tour a few years ago. Instead of being bored, his son was enthusiastic and hopes to find a way to work genealogy somewhere in his school curriculum.
Allan Bonderoff then described his brick wall. He is looking for information on his maternal grandmother whose name was Fiering. "I know she was here in 1901 and I have information from the 1920 census that mentions her husband, whose last name was Sakowitz."
Allan said he's done name searches and "all I find are Norwegians." He wonders whether "Fiering" was her "real" maiden name.
Some suggestions by the group: check the Avotaynu Web site for name searches; look in the bride's index, which goes county by county. Allan said there was no civil record he has found of the marriage and that relatives who had attended the wedding at one point had to testify to the marriage.
Other suggestions included finding the social security application, naturalization papers and 1910 census records.
Art Yates shared three databases online mentioned in Family Tree Magazine:
1) Massachusetts archives, immigration into Boston, 1848-1891
2) Rochester city directories, 1827-1930
3) North Dakota public death index, 1881 to present.
He also learned of the Ohio death certificate index, covering 1913-1944 and the Western States Marriage Record index. The latter doesn't cover every county; for example Sacramento is not included by El Dorado is.
Gerry Ross talked about her search for Poska relatives who settled in Lincoln, Nebraska before coming to Los Angeles. In going through boxes of family records, Gerry just this week found the original “delayed” birth certificate for her mother. The first was destroyed in a fire. Her grandfather had signed the copy she has and it lists the name of the town in Poland where he was from.
Les Malkin talked about the work he had done on the census of Rozki, in Poland, a copy of which is in our library. He also mentioned that if you “Google” him, you will find the research he did some years back on the Jews of China. And in our library is a CD from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies which features his many hours of effort, pre-computer, to document Jewish burials in Santa Clara County cemeteries.
Burt Hecht showed the ship’s manifest he got from London for the voyage of his father and grandmother from Glasgow to Montreal. But his uncle came to Canada in 1910 on a different ship. Marvin Freedman mentioned that many immigrants came to Canada through St. John, New Brunswick, including his relatives; Marvin is a member of the Jewish historical museum in St. John.
Mark concluded the meeting by suggesting we incorporate a 10 to15- minute segment of members’ success and/or roadblocks at each meeting.
JGSS Genealogy Notes, March 9, 2008
Burt Hecht called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests. He asked Vice President Mort Rumberg to give an overview of upcoming meetings, which include:
Sunday, April 13, 10 a.m., Glenda Lloyd, Effective Use of the Census
Sunday, May 18, 10 a.m., Judy Baston, Polish Ancestral Records
Monday, June 16, 7 p.m., Steve Morse, DNA
Monday, July 21, 7 p.m., Shelly Dardashti, Tracing the Tribe
Monday, August 11, 7 p.m. Unbrick that Wall
Burt announced that that the Folsom-Cordova Adult Education School has scheduled two genealogy classes in its Spring session, March 21- June 20. The courses are “Growing and Harvesting Your Family Tree” and “Ancestry and Internet Research.” For details, contact Lynn Brown at Lgbrown@....
Judy Persin donated old issues of Tolodot, a forerunner of Avotaynu, to our library. Iris brought in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, with an article on “How Do You Prove You’re a Jew?”
Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer’s update, “a wonderful report.” We have a balance of $2,328.73 in our account.
Librarian Mark Heckman said the library is almost completely computerized, with barcodes in each book. “We hope to have the system finalized by May.”
March Program -- Genealogy Jeopardy
Mark Heckman (Alex Trebek) introduces the game... Contestants Victoria Reed, Jane Paskowitz and Judy Persin await the answers...
Our March program featured a great take-off on the Jeopardy game show, the program of answers and questions. The focus was both general and Jewish genealogy information.
The six categories for the program were Personalities, Birth, Marriages or Death (identify the document shown), Come to Your Census, Immigration and Emigration, Basic Genealogy and Potpourri. Dollar amounts ranged from $100 to $600, depending on the difficulty of the answer.
Host Mark Heckman introduced the contestants: Judy Person, Jane Paskowitz and Victoria Reed and asked them to tell a little about themselves.
Judy said genealogy became an active hobby for her about 1980. She used to give talks about it and gradually gathered a group of interested people to form the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento in March 1989. “It’s like watching a child grow up.”
Jane said her interest in genealogy started when she married Rick. “His mother had nine brothers and sisters.” She said her research over the years has been fascinating.
Victoria said she loved to listen to family stories growing up. She learned how to research while trying to track down an uncle who joined the Abraham Lincoln brigade in Spain.
Mark designed the board just like the TV version, with varying dollar amounts.
A sampling of the answers and questions:
A. Catastrophe that destroyed the 1890 census.
Q. What is a fire?
A.. Chart that shows multiple generations of a family.
Q. What is a pedigree chart?
A. The proper term to describe your grandmother’s cousin’s son to you.
Q. What is a second cousin once removed?
A. This person was the founder and first president of the Sacramento JGS.
Q. Who is Judy Persin? (In 1989).
A. Where immigrants entering New York City were processed before Ellis Island .
Q. What is Castle Garden?
Victoria found both the “Daily Doubles.” Here is one of them:
A. Orphan trains were sent from this U.S. city to western families for adoption.
Q. What is New York City?
A. The celestial body on which the Jewish and Islamic calendars are based.
Q. What is the moon?
A. Term used for Jews from the Middle East.
Q. What are mizrahim?
A. The leading European port for emigration from Eastern Europe.
Q. What is Hamburg?
A. Large U.S. database in which 23,000 people were incorrectly listed as dead, according to a recent government audit.
Q. What is the Social Security Death Index?
A. The year of the 1st federal census of California .
Q. What is 1850?
A. The peak year of immigration through Ellis Island.
Q. What is 1907?
A. This rabbi is known as the father of Jewish genealogy.
Q. Who is Malcolm Stern.
A. From the 1880s to 1914, this country was second only to the U.S. and Canada as a destination.
Q. What is Argentina.
The FINAL JEOPARDY answer:
No one was born in England or the American colonies from September 3 to 13, 1752 due to an act of Parliament that did this.
Question at the bottom of the page.
Our winner was Victoria Reed; she and the other contestants received genealogy books as prizes.
The Jeopardy game was very well received and members asked that it be undertaken on an annual basis.
At the conclusion of the game, Burt Hecht asked those in attendance to share a little about their genealogy efforts. Among the information brought up:
-- the Daily Alta Californian is now online with a searchable database. It noted ships coming in to California during the Gold Rush, and has passenger lists. Dick Paskowitz says it’s a potential source if you’re trying to find the whereabouts of a relative who “went west.”
-- Marvin Freedman noted that the Holocaust Museum now has information from the International Tracing Service. It’s all done by e-mail, for free, but may take several months to hear from them. If you’re looking for information on someone who died in the Holocaust, you can access this information either through the Holocaust Museum or Yad Vashem.
-- Victoria Reed says she’s looking for someone who can translate a document she has in Hungarian, from the late 1800s.
-- Burt Hecht noted that the 1915 New York Census might offer information for those who can’t find relatives in the 1910 or 1920 federal census.
Watch out, "Dancing with the Stars"…
NBC is to make a U.S. version of the hit BBC genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are?," which will be co-executive produced by Friends star Lisa Kudrow.
NBC has ordered a series from its UK producers, who are researching the family trees of several interested celebrity candidates to see if they have compelling enough backgrounds.
"It's great storytelling, a journey of self-discovery for these celebrities and truly moving and life-changing," the NBC executive vice-president of alternative programming, Craig Plestis, told the Hollywood Reporter. "You often see a very different side of them."
The fourth year of the series in Britain launched last summer with it highest audience ever -- 6.8 million viewers -- tuning in. International versions of the format are also in production in Canada and Australia.
Final Jeopardy Question: What is the adoption of the Gregorian calendar?
It's Tax Time! Get tips, forms and advice on AOL Money & Finance.
Jewish Genealogical Society
March 29, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 10 a.m. -- Steve Morse -- Phonetic Matching -- An Alternative to Soundex with Fewer False Hits
Sunday, May 17, 2009, 10 a.m. -- Ron Arons -- The Musical “ Chicago ” and All That Genealogical Jazz
March 15, 2009 Meeting
President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order and welcome everyone. He shared some brief announcements.
Gene Tree -- www.genetree.com is celebrating its 30th birthday with a $30 discount for DNA testing. If you’re interested, there’s a code to use. And, in related news, Mort mentioned that the Family History Center will hold a program the evening of March 20 on “I had my DNA tested, now what?”
The Southern California Genealogy Jamboree will be held June 26-28 in Burbank . For details, go to www.genealogyjamboree.blogspot.com.
There was discussion about a possible trip to what some call the Ellis Island of the West, Angel Island . Burt Hecht said he read a Smithsonian article talking about its history.
Mort said there is a woman in the Campus Commons area who would be interested in a ride to our meetings, if someone lives nearby.
The Jewish Heritage Festival will be held Sunday, May 3, from 1 to 4:30 on the Capitol steps. We plan to have tables there with PCs set up, so we can assist people in checking the Ellis Island database for their relatives. Volunteers are sought to help staff our booth.
Treasurer Allan Bonderoff was honored by Mort and the JGSS members for the many hours of time he’s contributed behind the scenes, maintaining our books. He was presented with a framed certificate of appreciation and an engraved pen.
Bob Wascou noted that the book, “Google Your Family Tree,” suggests googling as a way to find possible relatives (something that was done in the old days by looking in phonebooks as you traveled around the country.)
And if you go to Steve Morse’s site, www.stevemorse.org, you can translate a family name or town into the Russian alphabet, and then paste that into Google. If you get some hits, you can translate them into English, often right on Google, or seek out native speakers (such as the Baptist Church in West Sacramento ). You can also do this with Steve Morse’s Hebrew translation site. Bob said he found a Russian site with a birthday reference for one of his cousins, which also gave him her age.
Susanne Levitsky mentioned that she has “Google Alerts” set up for a family name and for an ancestral town (and also the word “genealogy.”) Google sends you a link to anything that pops up for the word or words in your alert. Go to this url to set up an alert: http://www.google.com/alerts?hl=en&gl=
Before hearing from our speaker on his Ukraine trip, Mark Heckman showcased several books on the Ukraine in our library. They include books on Jewish cemeteries and mass gravesites, archival sources, A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire, a Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia , and more. “Some of these resources are not available on the Web,” Mark said.
Featured Speaker -- Allan Dolgow
Allan, one of our members, entitled his talk, “A Family Journey That Took 105 Years to Plan and Finally Take -- My Visit to Berta Chernomorskaya.”
Allan said his grandfather. Meyer Oxenhourn, came from the Ukraine to the U.S. in 1904, so he started his research with the Ellis Island database, looking up the Oxenhorn family. “Then, I had a problem finding the city, even though the city is listed.”
He said his grandfather came from Russia , although he’s listed in the database as Norwegian.
Ida Oxenhorn is listed on a ship’s manifest for 1907, coming from Kammener (Kammeny) Brod. Allan found three locations in the Ukraine with that name.
Allan remembered his grandfather talking about the faience (pottery) factory where he worked, so he used Google, JewishGen and the Shoah database to probe further. He posted his information on JewishGen and ended up receiving a newspaper article done by a journalist about the 80th anniversary of a pogrom in his grandfather’s town.
The journalist gave Allan some names of a former resident now living in Brooklyn .
His search of the Shoah database for Kamenny Brod helped him find an Oksengorn.
“My ‘aha’ moment was finding a Page of Testimony (in Russian) submitted by an 87-year-old relative in 2006.” Allan encouraged people to check some of the databases and resources again -- there may be new information added since the last time you checked. You have to keep going back.”
So Allan made contact with Berta, his
“If you’re fortunate to build a network where people can give you information, it took lots of time
So Allan made contact with Berta, his 87-year-old second cousin -- Berta’s grandfather and Allan’s grandfather were brothers. Berta wrote and requested he visit his “motherland.”
So he began planning a 10-day trip, which he took in August 2008. He flew from San Francisco to New York to Kiev . Allan showed pictures of the hotel as well as menus and prices -- not cheap. His room in Kiev cost more than $600 (although Allan used his Marriott points).
Going by car some 130 miles outside of Kiev to visit Kamenny Brod, where his mother was born, and Polonne, where his cousin Berta lives, “I felt like I was in a time machine, and I went back to a different century.”
Allan visited the museum at the faience factory where his grandfather had worked many years before. Some of the dishes manufactured in the past were on display.. “One plate put a lump in my throat,” Allan said, showing a photo of a dish with a floral design. ”I used to sit on my grandfather’s lap, and he was always drawing these flowers.”
Allan asked his cousin Berta if she’d ever received a letter from him Aunt Esther, who sent wrote repeated letters over the years to find out who in the family had survived the war and how they might be doing.
“Yes,” Berta replied, “we received many letters but under Stalin, you wouldn’t dare respond.”
Allan learned that Berta had been a surgeon in the Russian Army during World War II, working at a field hospital.
Allan was able to meet with Berta and her granddaughters and a grand-niece, and has added many branches to his family tree. He’s found relatives living in Israel , France , Russia , India and as close as Northridge in Southern California ..
“The whole thing is a collaborative effort. We have to rely on people in many different ways” to track down our roots.
What did Allan learn?
-- Be generous with your own time in assisting your network contacts.
-- Periodically recheck databases for updates.
-- Network with people who have a common interest.
-- Don’t rely solely on databases/
-- Use your imagination with facts you find -- Allan used the faience factory to narrow down the location of the town he was searching for.
-- Have patience.
Allan said Berta’s grandniece Natalia will be visiting Sacramento in May.
Below is a link to photos from Allan’s album, some of which were used in his presentation.
And here is a site with more on Ukraine :
From March 2009 Avotaynu E-Zine issues by Gary Mokotoff
Economic Downturn May Benefit 2010 U.S. Census
With the economic downturn, the new information is that there will be a complete census, because it will create an estimated 600,000 temporary jobs for persons who must track down those who did not respond the the mailing to all households. The total operation and analysis of the 2010 Census will cost more than $14 billion by the time of its completion in 2012, making it the most expensive head count in American history.
Chicago Jewish Newspaper Online
Digitized images of the Chicago Jewish newspaper, The Sentinel, are now online at http://hannah.spertus.edu:8881/R covering the years 1911–1949. The search engine includes an any-word index. When an image is displayed, the words searched are highlighted for easy location of the information sought. I was able to get the maiden name of a woman who married into the family from a 1930 engagement announcement.
Ancestry Adds 1940-Era City Directories
Ancestry.com has added to its collection more than 2,000 U.S. city directories for 1940 and surrounding years. Forerunners of phone books, city directories typically list head of household with address and occupation. New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia are not included. It’s possible there were no city directories for those cities at that time. The collection does include such cities as Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Hartford, Miami, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, San Diego and San Francisco. Although Los Angeles is not included there are directories for a number adjacent suburbs. The directories can be accessed at http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=1540.
Life Magazine Photos on Google
One the great photo news magazines was Life. It existed from 1936–1972, then intermittently until 1978 when it was a monthly until its demise in 2000. Google has obtained the rights to publish the magazine’s photos which are available at http://images.google.com/hosted/life. Searching the site for “Warsaw ghetto” produced 34 pictures. Dachau has 99 images, but Auschwitz only one.
The photos are not limited to the time period the magazine was published. The one illustration for Czestochowa, Poland, is a reproduction from a book of the siege of the town in 1605. All told, there are approximately 2 million photos. Search the collection using the names of ancestral towns or events important to your family history.
If you are interested in tracing your roots in Lithuania, Latvia, Eastern Poland close to Lithuania, or Belarus, now is the time to sign up. This year the group will be limited to 25 persons. The trip includes visits to various archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sightseeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetlach of interest. Margol and Freedman are very familiar with the archives, are on a first-name basis with the archivists, and know all the main places of Jewish interest. While this is a group trip, every effort is made to tailor the trip to your personal interests. Group members leave from their individual towns and come together in Vilnius on July 1, 2009.
For details and a full itinerary, contact litvaktrip@... or homargol@...
Salt Lake City Trip
For the 17th consecutive year, veteran Jewish genealogists Gary Mokotoff and Eileen Polakoff will be offering a research trip to the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City from October 22-October 29, 2009. To date, more than 400 Jewish genealogists from around 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 research at the Library under the guidance and assistance of professional genealogists who have made more than a three dozen trips to Salt Lake City. Each attendee has access to trip leaders every day except Sunday at the Library for on-site assistance and personal consultations. There is also a planned program that includes a three-hour class on day of arrival in addition to a mid-week informal group discussion of progress and problem-solving. For those new to genealogy, a beginners’ workshop 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 mid-week Sunday brunch for camaraderie and discussion of successes (and failures); attendance at the Sunday morning broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; informal group dinners; and group planning parties. Additional information can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/slctrip.htm
Avotaynu Offers Maps
Are you aware that Avotaynu sells 18th- and 19th-century maps of Central and Eastern Europe? The size of each map is 18"x24" (46cm x 61cm). They are reproductions of maps that were made during the period they cover. The maps are sold in groups—a few are sold separately.
The map groups are:
19th Century Austria-Hungary: East-Central Provinces 1844 , Hungary and Part of Siebenburgen 1825, Austro-Hungarian Empire 1875
Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia): Baltic States 1845 , Russian Baltic Provinces: 1914
Eastern Europe in World War I: Eastern Europe 1915, Carpathians, Romania and Part of the Balkans 1916, Russian Baltic Provinces 1914
Czechoslovakia: East-Central Provinces; Kingdom of Bohemia, with Silesia, Moravia and Lusatia
Poland: Poland 1799, Poland 1817
Russia: Russia in Europe 1845, Black Sea Settlements Prior to 1918, Russia in Europe (West) 1835, Southwest Russia and Kingdom of Poland-1860
Germany: Germany Circa 1760, Two Views of 18th Century Germany (2 maps); Map of Germany Divided into its Circles (1805); German Empire Circa 1875
More detailed descriptions can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/maps.htm
Preliminary Conference Program Now Online
A preliminary program for the 29th Annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is now online at http://www.philly2009.org/program.cfm. The conference is being held in Philadelphia from August 2–7, 2009.
A few of the new features reported by Mark Halpern, Program Co-chair are:
• Beginners’ Track of programs on Sunday
• Repository Fair: local archives, libraries and other institutions will answer your questions
• Attendance by the Director General of the National Archives of Romania as well as Archive officials from Ukraine and Vienna
• Opening Session on Sunday with Father Patrick Desbois as the keynote speaker. There will be the opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of "The Holocaust by Bullets"
• Lectures on state-of-the-art genealogy tools including Google and Facebook
• Programs and a workshop on Jewish cooking
ViewMate Returns to JewishGen
One of the valuable features of JewishGen is ViewMate. It is the tool that permits uploading images such as photos, letters, tombstone images or documents in any language and getting volunteers to translate or comment on the images. The function has not been available due to technical difficulties, but the problem is now resolved. Information about the service including instructions on how to upload images can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/ViewMate.
See you at our next meeting, Sunday, April 19.
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Jewish Genealogical Society
March 3, 2011
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:
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 (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 http://familytreedna.com.
• 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 http://www.relativeroots.net/webinars/
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 http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/JamboreeExtensionSeries2011.htm
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 U.S. 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 Netherlands
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 http://www.joodsmonument.nl/page/274281.
See you Sunday morning, March 13 – Robinn Magid on research in Poland.