Jewish Genealogical Society
January 31, 2010
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 – Reflections from a Holocaust Survivor
Sunday, April 18, 10 a.m. – Daniel Horowitz, Facial Recognition Technology for Genealogy
January 17 Meeting Notes
President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests. He noted that new members will receive a copy of the “Introduction to Jewish Genealogy” book, as well as all the other benefits of membership. For continuing members, the $25 annual dues are due.
Coming attractions: Upcoming meetings will include our own Victoria Fisch February 21, on Jews of the Gold Rush, Liz Igra on March 21 on her experience as a Holocaust survivor, Dan Horowitz on April 18 on facial recognition technology, and on May 16, Leslie Nye on handwriting analysis.
Mort passed around information about classes being held at the Sacramento Central Library during January and February, including a January 24 class by Glenda Lloyd.
The Nevada City genealogy group is holding programs on January 26 on Web sites and February 23 on the upcoming census. And the Family History Center on Eastern Avenue in Sacramento is holding classes on Wednesday evenings through March.
Dave Reingold noted that the Sacramento County History Day is coming up and judges are needed to spend about a half a day reviewing student programs. Call Myron Piper at 916-868-1049 if you might be interested.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on February 6 will be the county’s annual Museum Day, with free admission. See www.sacramentomuseum.org . And Dave also passes on the Web site for the Sacramento County Historical Society: www.sachistoricalsociety.org.
Bob Wascou said he is looking for photographs or other information on Sacramento burial plots going back to the 1800s. Contact him if you know of someone who might have something to share on burials prior to the establishment of the Home of Peace Cemetery.
Treasurer Allan Bonderoff reported a checking account balance of $1,414.39 after a providing a $50 honorarium to December speaker Ron Arons. Your dues go to help us pay for speakers, books for our library, and more.
January Program -- “Everyone Has a Story to Tell”
Our January speaker was Joann Weiser, who was born in Oakland in 1948, on Israel’s Independence Day. At age 5 she moved to Sacramento, where she grew up and attended school. She attended college at U.C. Berkeley and earned a degree in American History. Unsure of what to pursue next, she talked to a rabbi at B’nai Israel who linked her up with a program in Israel.
“I spent a year in a kibbutz, and fell in love with Israel,” Joann said. She returned home and began a teaching credential program at Sacramento State, where she met the head of an Israeli organization. Two years later, she had married him and moved to Israel, where she and her husband raised a family and remained for 28 years.
They are now back in the Sacramento area, where her mother, Dorothy Novack, still lives.
“Everyone Has a Story to Tell” is the name of Joann’s business, which focuses on the importance of memories. “If we don’t know where we came from and who we came from, how do we know where we’re going in the future,” she asks.
In Israel, Joann noticed the surge in personal histories being done. There was considerable interest in interviewing Holocaust survivors after Steven Spielberg set up his foundation. Then, in the last decade, there was an effort to interview many of the early pioneers of Israel.
Joann started with her mother (who was on hand at the meeting) but has since completed 7 or 8 books.
“We start with a family tree -- there’s always someone who’s been collecting family information.:”
Joann has subsequently become a member of the Association of Personal Historians, which has about 600 members across the country. “Most got involved by wanting to do their own family history.”
She said family stories are very personal but also reflect a time or place in history.
About her mother’s book, she said her children were unaware of a lot it, and there was of characteristics brought out that they’d like to share or emulate.
“And for many books people say --‘oh, we didn’t put that in the book,’ so there’ll be a second edition.
Joann said her mother-in-law was one of the last living members of her generation, and she knew if she didn’t start telling stories, they would never be told. The mother-in-law was born in Frankfurt and had been a dancer. Most of the family left Germany in 1936 to link up with an uncle in the United States, but she decided to go by herself to Israel.
Joann also did a book for Joe Schwartz of Sacramento. The request came from his children. While it was hoped to have the book ready for Joe’s 80th birthday, it took longer than expected to complete, about two years in all.
In the book, Joann touches upon Joe’s family in Helena, Montana, coming to Sacramento when he was three years old, to later in life when he and his wife, Harriette, took their children and grandchildren on a trip for their 50th anniversary.
“I think one of the biggest gifts in this book,” Joann said, ”was recounting many of the family traditions for Yom Kippur, Chanukah, seders, etc.”
“At the end of the book, there is a place to reflect back -- Joe talks about the technological changes he’s seen in his life.”
What is the process Joann uses? Here is her basis approach:
2) Word-by-word transcription (for every interview hour, about 4-5 hours to transcribe)
3) Edit material into flowing text (the most laborious part)
4) Make corrections, additions, changes
5) Choose pictures, letters, documents
6) Design book
7) Add family tree and dedication
8) Coordinate book printings
9) Delivery of family heirloom books
The books are written in a first-person narrative, so the person is telling his own story. “It’s your book; I’m just an instrument for you.”
Among the areas Joann asks about in her interviews are:
Childhood memories, parents and siblings, school days, college, marriage, profession, becoming a father or mother, significant people, hobbies and passions, becoming a grandparent, losing a spouse, reflecting on life.
In terms of reflections, things to ask about include the legacy the person wants to leave behind, hopes and dreams, lessons learned, accomplishments, values, life then and now, what you wish for your children, the way you’d like to be remembered.
Joann said the benefits of telling your story include sharing your thoughts and feelings, connecting the generations through a common thread, a positive emotional experience for the storyteller, enabling children and grandchildren to identify with family members from the past, capturing and giving life to a period of history that children and grandchildren never knew, and showing appreciation and telling someone how much you love them.
“It’s an opportunity to preserve your family heritage and give a lasting gift to your family.”
Joann added that “it’s not a confessional -- you don’t want to leave a bomb. You have to be sensitive and discreet.
The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
-- Andy Rooney
Kimberly's Genealogy Blog By Kimberly Powell, About.com Guide to Genealogy
Two New iPhone Genealogy Apps
Tuesday January 26, 2010
This month two nifty new genealogy apps have made their way onto my iPhone, which I thought some of you might find interesting.
The first is a great app for iPhone / iPod Touch users of Ancestry.com Family Trees. The free new Ancestry.com Tree to Go iPhone app offers up a lighter version of your family tree that you can easily access on the go. You can search or browse your family tree while at the library, easily add a new tombstone photo right after you take it at the cemetery, or add interview notes directly to your tree as you talk to your relatives.
You can't begin a new Family Tree via the Ancestry.com Tree to Go app (at least not yet), but you can actually scroll through your existing trees a bit easier than is offered online. The navigation is different than what you're used to online (no more pedigree view for example) due to the need for streamlining for the iPhone. You also can't yet search Ancestry.com databases and upload your finds to your tree through the app (thought that will hopefully be available in the future). But even with these limitations, I love the new Ancestry.com Tree to Go app. Download it now for free in the iTunes store and let me know what you think.
The second is an iPhone / iTouch app for Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems Podcast which streams her free genealogy audio and video content on the go (a nice feature for genealogists like me who are always on the go!), and also offers exclusive Bonus Content. The app streams all Genealogy Gems podcast episodes, which cover everything from research strategies to celebrity and family history expert interviews; new episodes are downloaded automatically. While Genealogy Gems podcasts are free online, the new Genealogy Gems app is available for $2.99 from the iTunes Store with exclusive bonus content such as custom genealogy themed wallpaper as well as Cooke's 20 page e-book, 5 Fabulous Google Research Strategies for the Family Historian. More bonus content will be released with future episodes.
Comments January 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm
REUNION (Mac Genealogy program) also has an app for the iphone. This may have already been mentioned in previous discussions. The app has been ‘out’ for about a year.
From the January 18th and 31st Avotaynu E-zines
Online Information about 10,000 European Jewish Cemeteries
An organization, Lo Tishkach Foundation, has developed an online database of more than 10,000 Jewish cemeteries located throughout Europe. It also includes information about mass burial sites in Eastern Europe. Many entries included pictures of the cemetery as it exists today.
The current inventory by country is: Austria (66 cemeteries), Belarus (298), Bosnia and Herzegovina (28), Bulgaria (31), Croatia (82), Czech Republic (419), Denmark (16), Estonia (28), Finland (4), France (263), Germany (2401), Greece (31), Hungary (1313), Ireland (3), Italy (66), Kosovo (1), Latvia (169), Lithuania ( 417), Luxembourg (5), Macedonia (5), Malta (4), Moldova (41), The Netherlands (244), Norway (2), Poland (1453), Portugal (13), Romania (870), Serbia (103), Slovakia (415), Slovenia (8), Spain (26), Sweden (6), Switzerland (28), Turkey (50), Ukraine 1666), United Kingdom (196)
The site is located at http://www.lo-tishkach.org/. Touch the “Database” tab to open a pull-down menu with the option to search the database. The Search tab on the home page is used to search the web site, not the database.
The Lo Tishkach European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative was established in 2006 as a joint project of the Conference of European Rabbis and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. It aims to guarantee the effective and lasting preservation and protection of Jewish cemeteries and mass graves throughout the European continent. Lo Tishkach is Hebrew for “do not forget.”
Register Now for the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
Registration is now open for the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy being held at the newly built JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE from July 11–16, 2010. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles is the host. Full registration prior to May 1 is $265 with spouse/partner an additional $150. There are also discounts for full-time students or those 18 or younger. It is also possible to register on a daily basis.
Register at https://www.goeshow.com/jgsla/IAJGS/2010/Registration.cfm. The complete schedule of rates including the cost for late registration can be found at http://www.goeshow.com/jgsla/IAJGS/2010/Registration_Pricing.cfm.
The conference is the premier event of the year for Jewish genealogy. It is anticipated that more than 1000 people will attend to hear presentations by renowned scholars, archivists and research specialists from around the world. The conference will offer films, methodology workshops, evening musical and dramatic performances, and opportunities to network and schmooze with a friendly, global community of Jewish genealogists. The resource room will be staffed by representatives from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Shoah Foundation, Steven Spielberg Visual History Archive, Jewish Genealogy Learning Center in Warsaw and Yad Vashem, providing attendees with one-on-one assistance with their research.
There are also lunches and dinners sponsored by Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Breakfast-with-the-Experts, Midnight with the Mavens, computer lab and tours of the Los Angeles area.
A description of the conference hotel with a link to hotel reservations can be found at http://www.jgsla2010.com/hotel-los-angeles/the-marriott-at-l-a-live/. The conference has an e-mail newsletter. Subscribe to it at http://www.lyris.jewishgen.org/listmanager. Login required.
Mount Olives Cemetery Graves to be Indexed
The graves at the world’s oldest Jewish cemetery—that on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem—are in the process of being indexed and placed on the Internet at http://www.mountofolives.co.il/eng/. Approximately 20,000 of the estimated 200–300,000 graves have been indexed to date. For notable people, there is biographical information. There is an option for anyone to upload data and photographs for a given person.
Further information about the project can be found at http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=166478
Germany Relaxes Access to Civil Registration Records
It was reported on the JewishGen German SIG Discussion Group that the German Standesamt (civil registration offices) have relaxed restrictions on access to post-1875 civil registration birth, marriage and death certificates. Previously laws restricted information to spouses, direct-line ancestors and direct-line descendants. Now exempt from these restrictions are records of births through 1898, marriages through 1928 and deaths through 1978. Additional information indicated that access to information will increase by one year every year. That is, birth records available after 110 years, marriage after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. After these time periods, records will be transferred from the local civil registration office to the local archives. It was also reported that it is now possible to obtain extracts of genealogical information or uncertified photocopies of these documents.
RTR Foundation Now Has Databases (searchable by family name) and Photos
One site I (Gary Mokotoff) visit regularly is the Routes to Routes Foundation at http://rtrfoundation.org. The site has the most complete inventory of Jewish record holdings in the archives of Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. If not identified at the RTRF site, the Jewish vital records (birth/marriage/death/divorce) likely do not exist. The Archive Database also includes inventories of other types of documents including census records and family lists; recruit lists; lists of voters, taxpayers, merchants and school records; Holocaust records (lists of victims and survivors); immigration/migration records; land and property records; name changes; pogrom records; local government records (such as wills, notary records, etc.).
To search for records of a particular town, click on “Archive Database” on the home page and then click on “Archive Documents.” Type the name of the town of interest, and the next screen will display of the types of Jewish and civil records available for that town, which archive has the records, years available and archive file. There are no actual surnames in this search result, but rather an inventory of the surviving documents.
Beginning in 2005, Logan Kleinwaks has placed digitized and indexed Eastern European directories on his Internet site. This started with ten business and phone directories for Galicia, Poland, Posen and Romania and now has grown to more than 100 databases. He has placed them all on their own site: http://genealogyindexer.org. They include directories from Bulgaria, France, Israel, Lithuania, Poland, Galicia, Silesia, Pomerania, Posen, Romania, Carpathian Ruthenia, South America and United Kingdom. A complete list can be found by clicking the word “Directories” at the upper left portion of the home page.
Also at the site are 64 digitized and indexed yizkor books and lists of Polish military officers.
See you at the next meeting, February 21…
- May 5, 2014Upcoming Meetings:Sunday, May 18, 10 a.m. Surviving a Secret Childhood in Nazi-Occupied France -- Leon MalmedSunday, June 15, 10 a.m. "The Julian Calendar and Its Importance to Genealogists" -- Steve MorseJuly -- No MeetingApril 20, 2014 Meeting NotesPresident Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order. Mort Rumberg gave an update on Bob Wascou, who is still in recovery but now at home. He requests no calls or visits but can receive emails.May 4 is the Jewish Heritage Festival in Sacramento, with food, dancing, booths. We'll have a booth once again -- members are welcome to visit or volunteer. We bring books and chat with attendees. The hours are 11 to 3.Victoria Fisch is the curator of an exhibit, "The Jews of the Gold Rush," at the Folsom History Museum. Admission is $4. Victoria says former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin has visited twice. On display are artifacts of different descendants. The exhibit runs through May 18.Teven Laxer said he attended the recent RootCellar Spring Seminar.Victoria noted that Paul Stanley of KISS, a former childhood friend, has written a book. It mentions anti-Semitism he experienced growing up.It was mentioned that Ukraine guides are available to help you with research; due to the unrest, tourism has suffered in the country.On pbs.org, you can see online "The Story of the Jews."April Program -- Lynn Brown -- "Immigration and Naturalization Part II -- Citizenship"Lynn Brown returned to tell us more about the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service --USCIS. It has evolved from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, created in 1906 to process naturalizations and keep track of immigrants. Copies of documents since 1906 are maintained by USCIS, with older records still at the National Archives or related archives.While some earlier records had been requested by Congress to be destroyed, there was no such order in World War II.In 2003, the INS functions were placed under the new Department of Homeland Security. In 2009, the USCIS created an online genealogy records request service to obtain post-1906 records.www.uscis.gov/genealogy (but loads slowly)The new word in the USCIS name was "Citizenship"-- up until 2003, didn't mention citizenship.Some records currently available:-- naturalization, September 1906 to March 1956-- 1940 Alien Registration Act-- pre-1906 records reissued, updated, many women-- pre-1906 naturalization records, upgradedThe Von Trapp Family story in the federal records: www.archives.gov./boston/exhibits/von-trapp.htmlHistorical Records:-- Naturalization certificate files (C Files): September 27 1906 to March 1956-- Registration Files, 1929- 1944 ( includes Bibles, letters from home)-- Visa Files 1924-1944WW II Alien Registration RecordsThere were 3.5 million aliens registered from 1940-44; more aliens than naturalized.Two types of alien registration files:AR-2-- a lot of info, and fingerprint and photoAR-3 -- what was returned to alien after processedResearchers must submit a request, including name, DOB, place of birthGermans (including Jewish Germans), Japanese -- enemy aliensThird party-- can white out information relating to others, but you can call (Lynn did) and obtain more informationLynn says there are some records the USCIS does not have:-- Records stored at NARA and regional archives-- WW I alien registration records-- state archived records-- locally held recordsUSCIS genealogy program -- offer two fee-for-service services:1) The first -- Index Search, $20, G-1041-- will search citations for a particular immigrant. (Teven -- took about 60 days to get; Art-- sometimes longer)2) Record Copy Search -- G-1041A -- $20/$35. For those with valid record citations, can request copies of historical immigration and naturalization records.For Index Search -- there's an online form --"I highly recommend you download the form, fill it out on paper before you do online." The more you can provide, the more accurate research the USCIS people can do. Use variations of the name, as well. You may have to provide proof of death, which could be an obituary."My mother's file had 35 pages of records -- I expected a passport application or ship's manifest," Lynn said. They do censor records, but may tell you if you ask.You can only request records for one immigrant at a time, not a family. You can send an email if you have the case number, and ask them to send additional documents.You have up to one year from the date you requested information to order citations (files) from USCIS. There's a set fee for the whole packet, whether it's one form or 50 forms.Freedom of Information Act Requests -- you can write a letter and specify your requests.National Archives -- you can register (no charge), and they can search.OPA -- Open Public Access -- anything the National Archives has, including regional offices, updated twice a week. "After you give up with OPA, you can Google it and may find what you're looking for."AAD -- Access to Digital Archives, search engineGenealogy notebook -- new rules affecting genalogy. Can have them send you updates.Other places to look for information:-- Family History Library Catalog, familysearch.org-- Family Search wiki (replaces old research guides)-- Statew Archive Records Search-- Fold3 -- can access at the Family History Center (Victoria: good images of people)~~~~~~~~~~~~~DeathCertificates.us.org to Help People Learn the Most Efficient Ways to Build Their Family Trees
>PRWEB.COM Newswire<="">Chicago, IL (PRWEB) April 28, 2014DeathCertificates.us.org is launching an education program to teach people how to use genealogical methods to build a family tree quickly and easily, the company said yesterday."We've taken a good hard look at the types of questions we receive from our customers," a DeathCertificates.us.org spokesman said. "What we've realized is that most of them are using our service to build their family trees. But they often don't have much experience with basic genealogy. So, it makes sense for us to provide them with that information because it will make using our service that much more valuable to them."DeathCertificates.us.org will work with genealogical experts to create a series of articles that will take people step by step through basic techniques to create a family tree, he said.DeathCertificates.us.org is the top online resource for accessing death and obituary records in the United States. With over thousands of records to search through, DeathCertificates.us.org makes finding any death record simple and efficient. Visit DeathCertificates.us.org today to chat with a live representative, 1-855-674-7444, or email manager@....~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From the JGS of Ventura County and the Conejo Valley:AUSCHWITZ TATTOO NUMBERS PROJECT -- Arthur BenevisteThe Auschwitz Tattoo Numbers Photography Project is led by Gabriella Y. Karin who iscapturing and cataloguing this visual documentation of Auschwitz captives. If youknow of an Auschwitz survivor, please contact Ms. Karin at auschwitznumbers@...or at the address below with the following information:• Photograph of the person showing the tattoo• Photo of the forearm with the number and a close-up of the number• Full name (including maiden name, if applicable), city and country where personlives• Tattoo number written clearlyGabriella Y. Karin, c/o Los Angeles Museum of Holocaust, 6435 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~May 10th:Sacramento German Genealogical Society's Annual Seminar, Fair Oaks"The Latest German Research Tools" is the theme for this year's seminar. Kory Meyerink will lecture on three different topics. Learn more.:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our May meeting -- Sunday, May 18!