- Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento www.jgss.org April 4, 2010 Upcoming Meetings: Sunday, April 18, 10 a.m. – Daniel Horowitz, Facial RecognitionMessage 1 of 36 , Apr 4, 2010View Source
Jewish Genealogical Society
April 4, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 10 a.m. – Daniel Horowitz, Facial Recognition Technology for Genealogy
Sunday, May 16, 10 a.m. – Leslie Nye, Handwriting Analysis
Monday, June 21, 7 p.m. -- Marilyn Ulbricht, “Digging It, Researching Outside the Box”
Notes from March 21, 2010 Meeting
Bob Wascou called the meeting to order; President Mort Rumberg was away visiting a new grandchild.
Bob noted that Sacramento’s Central Library allows you to book a 30-minute genealogy session for free. Call 916-264-2920 or register online at www.saclibrary.org. There are upcoming programs on May 16 and 23.
The Sonoma County Genealogical Society is holding a seminar April 24 in Santa Rosa. For details go to www.scgs.org.
Family History Day at the State Archives is set for Saturday, October 9. We’ll plan to have a table once again.
In May, our JGSSS will hold an election for next year’s officers. Burt Hecht and Carl Miller are on the nominating committee and would like to hear from you if you’re interested in serving in a position.
Mark Heckman encouraged people to make use of our library. “There’s probably at least one book on almost any topic.” Members are allowed to check out books for a month at a time.
Bob said he’s working on a database for Sacramento’s Home of Peace cemetery and researching to verify that the information he has is correct. “There is no complete list of the burials in the old cemetery,” Bob said, “and we’re trying to recreate that list.”
Allan Bonderoff treasurer’s report for March 21: there is $1661.70 in our account.
March Speaker – Liz Igra
Holocaust survivor Liz Igra of Sacramento shared her fascinating personal story with us in March. Liz is a retired teacher and speaks to schools about the Holocaust. She is 75 years old but was only about four when the events of World War II began to impact her life.
“Iris Bachman (a JGSS member) urged me to keep speaking to groups, and found documents for me, “Liz says. “She gave me the energy to go ahead.”
Liz found that in talking to people about the Holocaust, they knew history, dates and places “but didn’t understand. It became my quest to help teachers and kids understand.”
“I was not aware that what I was remembering was Hitler’s strategy of deception – I just remembered that it happened.”
Liz said her father was a surgeon educated in Switzerland; both he and her mother, as well as Liz, were born in Krakow, Poland.
“I was the first and only grandchild on both sides of the family and terribly spoiled,” she says. “I had a nanny and my mother had maids.”
Liz said her parents were pretty assimilated and did not speak Yiddish.
“The first thing I remember is when the Germans came to town and my aunt was told her husband wouldn’t be coming home tonight – he was needed for the war effort. He went to the Black Forest, where he was killed – although we didn’t know it at the time.”
Soon after that, Liz says the Germans came to their house and “very politely” asked if we could share the house with a German officer, and they did,.
Then they were told they needed ID badges with a star or armband. “Within weeks or months, we were told we needed to move to a certain part of town.” Liz says one part of their apartment faced the ghetto, the other side, the town. She said they were not hungry at first, since her father often received food in payment for his medical work.
“In 1942, the commandant of the ghetto told my father that there would be a relocation of women and children. My father took me and my mother to the bus stop, and that was the last time we saw him.”
Liz said the next morning the commandant said they could return and take what they could carry into the ghetto, which was made much smaller. “I was allowed to take my buggy with my doll.”
There wasn’t much food, Liz recalls. “What I remember most is the bread ration – black bread, sometimes with straw.”
Not long after she recalls a jeep coming down the street, with a man standing on top, shouting. He made everyone come out. “A mob of people was walking down the street, and not long after we heard horrible sounds of people screaming and crying, and shots being fired, and then cheering as people were being killed in the marketplace. There was a children’s massacre. The cobblestones started to turn pink. I never saw my aunt or little cousin after that.”
Liz said her nanny who had stayed in their house overhead that the ghetto would be liquidated. She was able to smuggle Liz and her mother out after they hid under her bed.
“We got on a train for Krakow and went to a safe house. Within days, there was a knock at the door, two uniformed and two non-uniformed men. The woman getting money from us was also getting money by denouncing us.”
Her mother asked to get a glass of water, and they were able to run downstairs to the street and escape. They got new papers and her mother got a job, putting Liz with a family while she worked.
“One day at lunch, someone told my mother, ‘I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but someone told me you were Jewish.’ That night, my mother and I got on the train and got off finally somewhere near the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. Then we started walking.”
Liz says they walked at night and hid during the day in the forest. “Our food was snow, sugar cubes and alcohol drops.”
Her mother recited children’s poetry, family stories and started teaching the multiplication tables. And then Liz got the chicken pox. Her mother had two choices – to risk being caught to get help for Liz, or to bury her in the forest. She picked the first and went to a forester’s hut.
The pair ended up joining a family with a guide – “my mother bribed everybody, she was prepared” – and they went from Czechoslovakia to Hungary. The guide told them at 6 o’clock that evening they should cross the road and would be in Hungary. Except that they were intercepted by border police and taken to jail.
“I thought I was in heaven,” Liz says, “with a shower and soup.”
A few days later Liz, her mother and others were marched down the street to a convent school. They heard terrible sounds from the room where people were taken, and they didn’t come back out. Liz’ mother was interviewed and told her husband looked Jewish. She slapped the officer’s face and they escaped the fate of the others.
Not longer after Liz and her mother ended up in the Budapest jail which wasn’t pleasant. They spent several months there but were released in fall 1943, probably due to lack of space. The next challenge? Liz contracted scarlet fever. She was placed in an isolation ward in a hospital.
The two remained in Hungary and were there when Budapest was liberated, which took six months, street by street.
“I was hungry a lot of the time during the war but this time we were starving,” Liz says. “My mother found a bag of horsefeed, wet it and put pieces on the stove and we had one meal a day. I remember asking my mother to remember, after the war, how to make these.”
The two were put on a cattle truck to go back to Krakow, still using their false names after the war. One day her mother finds her brother --Liz’ uncle. Aside from Liz, they were the only two from both sides of the family who survived the war. The uncle would not let them pretend any longer they weren’t Jewish.
Liz’ nanny, who had stayed in their house, had saved a lot of their possessions. They set her up with an apartment in Krakow and decided to go to France. They had tried to go to the United States but couldn’t get in. Eventually they made their way to Australia, where Liz went to school and later met her husband.
Liz talked about the deception of the Nazis. She learned that her father was taken to the Belzec camp, but not before he and the others got off the train at a building the Germans had made to look like a real station. They gave people tokens for their luggage and escorted them to the showers, where they received another token for their clothes. “600,000 people were murdered, and they were deceived until the last minute,” Liz says.
She says the Belzec camp existed only about nine months, and was one of only three camps set up explicitly for killing people, no labor.
Since she retired, Liz started organizing training for teachers about the Holocaust and created the
Central Valley Holocaust Educators’ Network, working with the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The Network offers model curricula, teacher lesson plans, reference material, fiction and nonfiction for children and adults, and video and audio tapes. She also stresses the importance of studying the roots of anti-Semitism.
The network is totally non-profit and can be reached at info@.... It worked with 60 teachers in February.
“Has my experience stopped me from living a full life? No,” Liz says.
Root Cellar Annual Seminar
This year’s Sacramento Root Cellar conference March 27 featured Daniel Lynch, author of “Google Your Family Tree” (and a book we have in our library.) Lynch spoke to several hundred local genealogy buffs and shared tips on how to narrow your Google searches, use Google books for genealogy research, use Google news archives, Google alerts, video and images.
Among Lynch’s tips for filtering Google searches:
Use the minus sign to exclude terms
Use the tilde sign (~) followed by your search term (for example, ~genealogy --no space between the tilde and the word --) to get words with similar meetings. (In the case of the word genealogy, the search also pulled up items with the words “family history, family tree, vital records” and other terms in them.)
The tilde in front of the word vintage -- ~vintage + postcards + a town name – in Google images will bring up old photos and postcards.
Use the wild card asterisk in between two words to capture anything that might show up in between in your search -- for example – “Patrick * Lynch” where it could be a middle initial or a full middle name.
Don’t hesitate to click on “cached” pages – which may be a capture of the last Web page, even if it isn’t currently available.
Root Cellar’s 2011 seminar will feature Geoff Rasmussen of the Legacy-Millennia Corporation on Saturday, April 9, 2011 in Sacramento. Rasmussen has spoken twice before and was invited back by popular demand.
From Gary Mokotoff’s Avotaynu E-Zine, April 4:
Footnote.com Makes U.S. Census Available at No Charge
Footnote.com is making its U.S. census index and images available at no charge. That is the good news. The bad news is that they have available only 6% of the 1900 census, 4% of the 1910 census, 3% of the 1920 census, 98% of the 1930 census and 100% of the 1860 census. The good news is that the 3% of the 1920 census includes much, if not all, of New York City. The 1910 census data includes Pittsburgh, and the 1900 census includes Chicago.
I use the Ancestry.com collection, but the value of another index is that it may not include the errors that exist in the first index. For example, I found a Mokotoff family in the Footnote database that was misspelled in the Ancestry index as Bokotoff.
Footnote still provides Holocaust-related records from the National Archives and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at no charge. Both the Holocaust and census databases can be accessed from the home page at http://www.footnote.com.
Online Education Courses by Family History Library
The Mormon Family History Library is now offering online education courses at no charge. The initial offerings are:
• England Beginning Research (5 courses)
• Germany Research (3 courses)
• Ireland Research (5 courses)
• Italy Research (1 course)
• Principios básicos para la investigación genealógica en Hispanoamérica (México) (3 courses)
• Research Principles and Tools (6 courses)
• Russia Research (2 courses)
• U.S. Research (4 courses)
I (Gary Mokotoff) listened to the first Russian course, given by Daniel Schlyter, and it was a good overview of the history and geography of Russia. The second course, also given by Schlyter, is about records and resources. The Library is reaching out to the professional genealogy community asking for people to volunteer to provide additional lectures for the collection.
The list of courses can be accessed from the home page by clicking “Free Online Classes.” The exact URL is http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_
From the JGS of the Conejo Valley newsletter:
Ancestry.com has listed its new or improved collections (both US and International) in one handy place: http://tinyurl.com/ye9ppt4.
Who Do You Think You Are?” the NBC prime-time show depicting celebrities searching their family history, is attracting more viewers. The March 12 episode that followed NFL star Emmitt Smith’s efforts was seen by 13% more adults than the previous episode (Sarah Jessica Parker, right) according to Media Life Magazine. It also represents an increase of 50% over NBC’s previous offering on Friday night at 8 p.m .an indication of the growing interest in genealogy.
If you missed the episode where Lisa Kudrow traces her Jewish roots to eastern Europe and the Holocaust you may view it at http://tinyurl.com/cfp55h.
It appears Sarah Jessica Parker’s show will repeat April 9, followed by profiles on Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee on succeeding Friday evenings.
Turner Publishing buys Ancestry.com's books division
Turner, which has produced more than 800 genealogy titles since 1984, adds more than 100 titles to its roster, including bestsellers “The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy,” “Ancestry’s Red Book,” and “1-2-3 Family Tree.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ancestry.com actually grew out of Ancestry Publishing, which was founded in 1983.
- March 5, 2014 Upcoming Meetings -- Sunday, March 16, 10 a.m. -- Frederick Hertz, Finding David Blumenfeld Sunday, April 20, 10 a.m. -- Lynn Brown -- U.S.Message 36 of 36 , Mar 5 7:19 AMView SourceMarch 5, 2014Upcoming Meetings --Sunday, March 16, 10 a.m. -- Frederick Hertz, Finding David BlumenfeldSunday, April 20, 10 a.m. -- Lynn Brown -- U.S. Citizenship RecordsSunday, May 18, 10 a.m. -- Leon Malmed, Secret Story: Hiding in France Under the German OccupationSunday, June 15, 10 a.m. -- Steve Morse, The Julian Calendar and Importance to GenealogistsLocation: Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street, SacramentoNotes from February 16, 2014President Victoria Fisch welcomed members and guests and shared information about upcoming genealogy presentations at the Sacramento Central Library, including free consultations. For details, go to www.saclibrary.org.Gerry Ross wanted to thank members again for donating the Netflix subscription to Einstein residents. The showing of "Captain Phillips" last night drew great attendance.Teven Laxer and Mort Rumberg brought in cards to sign for Bob Wascou, who is recuperating in the hospital following surgery. Bob can't yet have calls or visitors but does appreciate cards.Judy Persin has graciously agreed to take over as interim treasurer, filling in behind Bob.Teven also noted that the Jewish Film Festival is coming up at the Crest Theater March 6-9. You can preorder tickets -- this is the 14th year.February Speaker -- Heidi Lyss"Writing Family History"Heidi teaches creative writing and has an MFA in creative writing/fiction. Her day job is working for Kaiser in Oakland.She asked the group, "What do we mean by a family history?" She said we can focus on one person and part of their life, or a family cluster, or include a blend of fact and fiction.
"What do we mean by narrative?" It could be a spoken or written account of connected events, and challenges faced."Why write?" It's a natural way to share information --people think in story frames. And in writing in narrative form, we often discover gaps in our research.Heidi said young adults are not interested in a snapshot approach -- they often want one topic, one story.Heidi said you should know who your audience is. It's important to what details you include. Is the audience family, friends, specialty groups, local/regional people, the general public?Who are you writing about? Start with whatever intrigues you or inspires you the most.How to get started -- With a person, family object, or time period/event.Then collect information, read stories, especially from that time period. Create an outline if that helps you.If it involves conjecture, you may want a disclaimer, such as saying this is how you imagined it.You can do a timeline of historic events (the person arrived at the battle of Fort Sumter …)You can arrange original texts in sequences, can also write as poems.Non-fiction examples:recipes, photos, documents, family treesWhat was life like in the home?Other ways to structure your story -- family items passed down through generations, religious or secular holidays and how they were celebrated, maps and places, journeys, letters/journal entries. Or pose a larger question-- maybe there's something you want to know about your family.Drafts -- do different drafts, set aside, get feedbackSharing the story is more important than revising and revising.Most of the time the final beginning is written well after you've done the first draft.What's in a story?People -- do they seem like real people?Heroic journey -- call to adventure, mention trials, successes and failuresPoint of view -- 1st, 2nd, 3rd personSensory detailHistorical writing -- setting, characters and experiences, voices and use of languageRead contemporary writings on daily life (Mark Twain in Virginia City)Language -- hone on subsequent drafts-- show rather than tell-- search for where you can use strong verbs-- replace cliches with fresher language-- check dialogue and make sure it's necessaryLapham's Quarterly --excerpts on writing about a topic across time. Can find at Barnes and Noble.Back up files -- also email to yourself. Print out copies from time to time, store in two or more places.If you sell your book, get an ISBN number.On copyright questions, websites can help you, such as one from Cornell University.Heidi concluded: "Just start writing -- writing something and it will be a value to someone."~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Some articles that may be of interest:Inmates Stay Busy at Davis County Jail by Indexing Records for Mormon Genealogy DatabasesBy Ben Lockhart, Standard-ExaminerFARMINGTON, Utah — Several months ago, Davis County Deputy Chief Kevin Fielding met with a representative from a nearby school who expressed concerns about being so close to the county jail.Fielding, who oversees all operations at the jail, took the concern in stride."Come on," he told her, "let me show you our facility."After meeting a young lady who was an inmate in the prison and speaking with her briefly, the woman from the school seemed visibly shaken."She could hardly even talk to me," Fielding said.After some prompting, the woman choked out: "She seemed so normal."Fielding earned a hearty laugh with that anecdote as he shared it Feb. 26 with county jail volunteers, an audience familiar with inmates and able to compare public perception to what they see on a weekly basis.Fielding was encouraging volunteers, attending their annual training session at the Davis County Justice Center, to remember precisely who their service was being rendered to."The vast majority (of inmates) are pretty decent people, and they want these programs," Fielding said. "Most of them just made a couple mistakes."More than 150 volunteers attended the meeting, receiving both praise for their work with prisoners and training for the coming year. Others will attend their mandatory training later this week; in all, 216 people volunteer at the jail, excluding contracted employees. Volunteers largely consist of religious instructors, substance abuse prevention supervisors and education counselors."These programs really do reduce recidivism," said Deputy Scott Manfull, who supervises each of the programs, noting Davis County holds more such activities than any other jail in the state."Every (program) I've asked for, I've got," Manfull told those gathered. "That's because of you guys and I really appreciate it."The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now offering a family history indexing course at the jail in addition to its typical ministry work there. Instructors ask inmates to sift through records up to hundreds of years old and determine names as part of the religion's genealogy work.The LDS Church proposed the unique program to the Utah Sheriff's Association in 2012 and worked to provide laptops and other equipment. Fielding said a large concern was restricting live internet access to the genealogy records themselves, and that the classes took off in 2013 after that security precaution was finalized.2,255 names were catalogued by Davis County inmates in 2013, and 174,939 were completed throughout the state. The LDS Church said it expects that figure to balloon to about 2 million statewide in 2014.The volunteer couple for the indexing course in Davis County, Brent and Chris, asked that their last name be withheld for security purposes. They have been working on indexing with inmates since August in once per week sessions of no more than 90 minutes. They typically have between six and 12 students attend the sessions; no more than sixteen inmates are allowed in one classroom at a time."We emphasize to them that they're doing a service, that anybody can access the names" once they're catalogued, Chris said. "There are several of them that really get into it. It breaks up the monotony."Records from the United States or Great Britain are typically used, but the names have not been restricted to English speaking countries. Inmates work hard to decipher some Spanish and Italian spellings, and the very oldest English records are also difficult to work through, Brent said."With some of this Old English you get to where you don't recognize some of the letters," he said. "Some are very hard to read."Kane County inmates indexed the majority of genealogical names in Utah during 2013, completing 138,147. Inmates at Weber County's jail and work release locations indexed a combined 6,115 in that time.
See you Sunday, March 16!