Jewish Genealogical Society
January 1, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 10 a.m. – Joann Weiser, “Everyone Has a Story”
Sunday, February 21, 10 a.m. -- Victoria Fisch, “Jews of the Gold Rush – Who Knew?”
Sunday, March 21, 10 a.m. -- Liz Igra, “Connections Small and Grand: A Better Understanding of the Holocaust”
Notes from December 20, 2009 Meeting
President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order. He mentioned that Avotaynu is publishing the second edition of Sephardic Genealogy.
Information on the 2010 international conference, to be held in Los Angeles July 11-16, is available at www.jgsla2010.com. Several of our members have already indicated they plan to attend and hotel reservations can now be made.
If you have not yet paid your dues for 2010, the $25 check can be given to treasurer Allan Bonderoff at the next meeting, or sent to him c/o the Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street #116, Sacramento, CA 95825. The dues help us buy books for our library, provide travel expenses and small honorariums to our speakers, and more. Any additional sums you may wish to donate are always appreciated.
Allan advises us that as of December 20, we have $1,214.39 in our account.
Our December program featured Ron Arons of Oakland, speaking about “Mapping Madness.” He presented a similar talk at the 2009 Philadelphia conference.
Ron talked about historical map collections as well as online mapping sites. For historical maps, the New York Public Library has a large digital collection – check out http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm . There is also the David Rumsey Collection – www.davidrumsery.com. The University of Texas has a map collection as well as the Library of Congress. For eastern European maps, www. Feefhs.org., also Avotaynu (www.avotaynu.com).
Ron says www.HistoricMapworks.com has wonderful maps, but charges about $30/year. For British historical maps, try www.alangodfreymaps.co.uk. Also check out Cyndi’s List for maps as well.
Online mapping sites include Google’s map site (www.maps.google.com )
With Microsoft (and a Microsoft account), you can put up to 10 pushpins in various locations simultaneously (to show cities or locations of relatives); the Google world allows you to do more.
Microsoft also has a bird’s-eye view feature allowing you to see in four directions from a particular location.
Microsoft has drawing tools built in where you can construct your own map, then send the url to people.
Ron notes that with Google maps, if will tell you which side of the street has odd numbers, which has even. Google has 3-D maps of buildings and also street views of various cities in the U.S. and Europe.
Ron said he happened to be in Sonoma when the Google mapping car was taking photographs, and was able to get into a photo, which he showed us.
With www.panaramio.com, this is a Google site where you can upload photos and videos of different locations.
Ron did a Microsoft vs. Google test for eastern European maps, involving Suwalki, Poland. His conclusion? You really have to use both.
Ron also pointed out Steve Morse’s one-step tools for various maps at www.stevemorse.org.
Other mapping tools include Microsoft Map Cruncher, which will put two maps together, superimposing the old on the new. Also www.names.whitepages.com and www.Muckety.com will do maps related to surnames (whitepages) and relationships among individuals (muckety), tying people of interest together.
And there’s even www.madoffmap.com, for those who want to see a searchable map of the 8,000 victims of Madoff. (Ron also showed us a Google image of his former penthouse in Manhattan. Don’t forget, Ron is the author of “The Jews of Sing Sing.”)
IBM’s Many Eyes – http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/ -- you need an IBM account for this and the data you upload is not private.
Want U-2 reconnaissance photos? Type in the National Archives site (NARA) for College Park, MD and then German aerial reconnaissance photos. The photos are expensive, $50-75, and you have to have the coordinates of the town you’re looking for.
There are several sites dealing with Sanborn maps (cities mapped by Sanborn), including www.proquest.com, www.lib.berkeley.edu/EART/snb-intr.html, for libraries with Sanborn map collections, and a site for ordering Sanborn maps, which Ron says are quite expensive: www.edrnet.com/sanborn/htm.
A recent travel article in the Washington Post focused on Kiev – here’s the link:
Visiting Kiev, the capital of Ukraine and a cradle of Russian culture
See you Sunday, January 17.
- November 6, 2015Upcoming MeetingsSunday, November 15, 10 a.m. -- "Ask the Mavens" -- Email or Bring Your QuestionsSunday, December 13, 10 a.m. -- "30 Years. A Birthday Cake -- and the Wrong Family!" -- Jeremy FrankelOctober 18, 2015 Meeting NotesPast President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order in Victoria's absence. He announced that contributions in the name of the late Bob Wascou would been made to the Moldova Special Interest Group in his name, and that his name has been put up on the Wall of Honor.The next meeting, November 15, will feature "Ask the Mavens." Email questions that have stumped you to Mort or Victoria to be addressed at the meeting.October 21-22 is a virtual genealogy fair sponsored by the National Archives (archives.gov) -- two all-day programs with classes.Teven Laxer mentioned an upcoming program at Mosaic Law on November 3, in memory of Yitzhak Rabin on the 20th anniversary of his death.October Program -- Susan Gilson MillerSusan is a professor of history at UC Davis and teaches courses in Jewish studies. She spoke on "Jews in the Moslem World."She said public outreach is not only her pleasure, but her responsibility.She teaches a class "Jews of the Non-Western World," focusing on Afghanistan, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and China.Susan said Sephardic Jews can be traced back to 1492 with their expulsion from Spain. There is a Spanish dialect, Ladino, for Sephardic Jews, "a kind of Spanish Yiddish," she said. It can be traced back to the 15th century.There are also Mizrahi, "Jews of the east," who can be traced back at least 2000 years in Morocco.There was a migration of Jews to India, and then the second great migration occurred during World War II, when Jews fled to the Far East, including Shanghai.Susan's current research:Susan is currently focusing on Jews who left Europe and went to North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia). She asked how many had seen the movie "Casablanca," and said the first five minutes focus on the North African city."I'm thinking a lot about refugees and people fleeing -- if you're reading the newspapers today, Muslim and Christian refugees are leaving Syria and Afghanistan," she said. "There are lessons we can take from the past."She recalled the refugee crisis after World War II, and the displaced persons camps."There are many comparisons to today. And fences going up where there were no fences before, borders have appeared where there were none before."With differences in culture, languages and religion, there is a lot of xenophobia -- the parallels to the past are there, Susan said.She said that in France, four generations after the Algerian revolution, people still find themselves on the outside of French society.Jewish/Muslim connections in the Muslim world are very deepSusan said the Prophet Mohammed made a place for Jews, noted in his revelations from God. "We will keep you under our umbrella." Jews did have to pay taxes and were restricted from riding horses, carrying swords."The world for Jew in Arabic means protected person," Susan said.In 15th century Morocco, the first Jewish quarter was created, she said, although we don't know exactly why. "All the major cities have Jewish quarters, not ghettos -- they are neighborhoods, with Jewish butcher shops, etc."If you go to Morocco today, you can visit it -- also in Istanbul, Tunis."Susan said Jews flourished in Islamic society. In the 19th century, the Jewish community was discovered by Europeans, "living in the middle ages." Numerous organizations were founded, such as the Alliance Israelite Universelle in 1860, to rescue these Jews and teach them western language and modern math and science."Before, they studies the Bible, Talmud, learned their father's craft.""Suddenly, there was an intellectual revolution," Susan said. "Jews now had aspirations to and wanted to emulate Western ways -- there was a big difference between them and their Muslim neighbors."In the 1930s, Susan said, the Jews were now looking westward and were dissatisfied as second-class citizens in an autocratic society.With the creation of a Jewish community in Palestine, the Jews began to fight with Arabs, and this resounded back to other Arab countries. During the World War II years, Susan said, this became acute.After the war, with the knowledge of the Holocaust, many Jews went to Palestine, and the Jewish population grew by leaps and bounds.In the 1950s, the Jews were culturally still very mid-eastern, and still today, identified as a part of a Sephardic migration, close to the life they left behind."One of the best sources is people who lived through this and can talk about their past," Susan said.She said Iran now has the biggest Jewish community in the non-western world, with about 20,000 Jews in Teheran. "They keep their heads down -- Jews in Persia were treated very badly by the dominant Islamic group." Susan said they weren't allowed to go out in the rain, for example, as the rain would drip off their bodies and pollute the streets.In Turkey, Susan said, the Jewish community has shrunk with the growth of Islamic groups, but those left are wealthy and there is a lot of intermarriage.In Cairo, there are just a handful of Jews left; in Iraq, none left -- they were expelled in 1948-49.In Syria, until very recently there were Jews, with Rep. Stephen Solarz helping people to get visas.In Lebanon, a few Jews.Important communities by numbers are in Morocco, with many Jews in Casablanca, and also Tunisia.Half of the French Jewish population is now of North African origin.And up to 1942, ships arrived with Jewish refugees with visas; after 1942, no.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From Avotaynu's E-Zine, October 25:Finding our Roots Third Season Begins January 5
The third season of Finding Your Roots will start on January 5, 2016. The new season will feature numerous celebrities including Patricia Arquette, Lidia Bastianich, Richard Branson, Donna Brazile, Ty Burrell, LL Cool J, Mia Farrow, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear, Maya Lin, Bill Maher, Julianna Margulies, John McCain, Julianne Moore, Azar Nafisi, Bill O'Reilly, Shondra Rhimes, Maya Rudolph, Gloria Steinem, Kara Walker, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.
Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University continues as the show’s host.
Genealogy Roadshow Third Season To Start May 17, 2016
PBS will premiere the third season of Genealogy Roadshow, May 17, 2016, according to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter with participants from Boston, Providence, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles. The program’s website shows they are also filming in Ft. Lauderdale on November 1 and Albuquerque on December 12.~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A 23andMe genetic test revealed that this man's father was adopted — and it changed his life
Bill Crede with his daughter, who was the first in the family to take 23andMe's test.Until his daughter had her DNA sequenced for a college course, Bill Crede had no idea his father had been adopted."She came back 16% Ashkenazi Jew, and we didn't know of any Jewish people in our family, and that particular thing is what spurred me on to get tested or get the test done," he told Business Insider. "So I sent my saliva off."People who use genetic tests, in this case from 23andMe, send in a sample of spit. Then, 23andMe's labs isolate the DNA in the sample and scan it for single genetic variations that are linked to specific traits like hair and eye color, susceptibility to certain diseases, and ancestry.When Crede got his results back, he saw that he was about 33% Ashkenazi Jewish. That's when Crede's mother spilled the beans and let him know his father had been adopted, which forever changed the way he looked at his family history.Crede, his daughter, and soon three other members of the family all took 23andMe's consumer genetics test to find out more about their genetic makeup.Crede, his wife, Luz Vasquez, and their daughter all took the genetic test before 23andMe had to stop providing the health report section of their test in November 2013.But, for Crede and Vasquez, the health portion was not nearly as important to them as the genealogy portion. Consumers such as them could be part of why two years later, 23andMe, which just announced they had raised $115 million in a recent funding round, is a thriving $1.1-billion company.23andMe spokesperson Andy Kill told Business Insider that, based on a survey question, the company estimates that about 5-6% of everyone who takes their test are adoptees. (He doesn't know how many people find this out for the first time as a result of 23andMe's test.)After seeing Crede and her daughter's results, Vasquez decided to try the test herself, mainly to figure out more about her ancestry. The test told her her background was a mix of Spanish, African and Mayan ancestry, which she had expected.While Crede was pleased to learn more about his ancestry, Vasquez came away a little disappointed in the lack of specificity with her results.She wanted to know more about her Puerto Rican identity, namely where in Africa her ancestors had originated before they arrived in Puerto Rico. Though, she said, "I found out I was related to half of Puerto Rico."Katarzyna Bryc, a population geneticist with 23andMe told Business Insider in an email that it's still working to make its ancestry test more specific."We have several initiatives in place working on getting data that will help us more finely map ancestry," she said. "We are always exploring new statistical methods to leverage the data we do have."Vasquez said the only thing she found surprising in her results is that people can contact you after, so fifth cousins started to reach out. Soon, she said, "My inbox was all of Puerto Rico." So far, she hasn't made any contact with the people who have reached out to her.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our next meeting, Sunday, November 15!
- Lydia RamseyOct. 17, 2015, 11:00 AM