Join us next Sunday the 15th
Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento
Sunday, November 15, 2009, 10 a.m. Albert Einstein Residence Center.
“My Grandmother’s Suitcase: Unpacking Generations of Secrecy”
Jim Van Buskirk of the Bay Area will be the November speaker. Shortly after publishing an essay exploring his mysterious lifelong attraction to Judaism, Jim was told a secret by his mother: “You are Jewish.” She showed him his grandmother’s suitcase filled with photos, letters and documents. Jim continued to look for answers to his family’s history. His audio-visual presentation is adapted from his memoir-in-progress.
After working as program manager of the Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library for 15 years, Jim is currently Book Group Coordinator at the Jewish Community Library. Jim's essays have been featured in various books, newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts and Web sites and he is working on a full-length manuscript of his family memoir. Jim has co-authored "Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area" and "Celluloid San Francisco: The Film Lover¹s Guide to Bay Area Movie Locations."
Join us next Sunday to hear Jim's presentation.
From the Nov. 1 Avotaynu E-Zine by Gary Mokotoff
Arthur Kurzweil To Be “Genealogist in Residence” at Annual Conference
Arthur Kurzweil, author of the pioneering book on getting started in Jewish genealogy, From Generation to Generation, has been designated “Genealogist in Residence” for the 30th annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in July 2010 in Los Angeles. Kurzweil will give two hands-on workshops, “Climbing Your Jewish Family Tree” and “Holocaust Research: How and Why to Locate Information about What Happened to Your Family during the Holocaust.” He is an amateur magician and will perform his show “Searching for God in a Magic Shop.”
You can sign up for the Los Angeles conference newsletter at http://www.jgsla2010.com/about/sign-up-for-the-announcements-newsletter/. There is also a conference blog at http://www.jgsla2010.com/blog/2009/10/conference-firsts-from-iajgs-2010-conference-central/.
Trip to the Candy Store – Reflections by Gary Mokotoff
I just returned from my annual trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the place I affectionately call the “candy store” because of all the genealogical goodies that are in the Library. This year, researchers in the group came from Australia, Canada, United States and Venezuela. The most significant discovery was by a regular on these trips, Ignacio Sternberg of Caracas, who found his parents’ marriage record in the Jewish records of Chernowitz (now Chernevtsy, Ukraine).
For those readers familiar with the Library, they have replaced their microfilm printers with a computer network based system that uses scanners. Images can now be saved directly to a flash drive or printed. Copying to a flash drive is free and printed copies of the documents cost only five cents (10 cents for 11x14 copies). Previously they cost 23 cents. A 2GB flash drive can be purchased at the Library for only $9.00. The network system also supports printing from the Internet be it genealogically relevant material, e-mail or boarding passes.
David Lebovitz of Chicago, another veteran of the annual trips made by Eileen Polakoff and me each October, shared with the attendees the advantages of keyword searches using Ancestry.com. Some of the data fields provided by Ancestry results are not part of the search parameters. Using the keyword option causes any data field for the keyword. Lebovitz used it to search the U.S. Immigration Collection to locate any immigrant from one of his ancestral towns.
I took advantage of the Footnote.com site to copy naturalization records for a number of people in my family history. Rather than print them, I copied them to a flash drive (and backed up the data on the laptop I brought along). For someone who claims his “genealogy is done,” I came home with 37 documents, mostly from Footnote.com.
Next year’s trip will be from October 14–21, 2010. Eileen Polakoff and I act as consultants, lecturers and social event planners. Additional information about the trip can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/slctrip.htm.
See you next Sunday the 15th!