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Genealogy Notes and Update

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento _www.jgss.org_ (http://www.jgss.org/) April 27, 2010 Upcoming: Sunday, May 2, Jewish Heritage Festival, State
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 27, 2010
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      Jewish Genealogical Society

      of Sacramento




      April 27, 2010





      Sunday, May 2, Jewish Heritage Festival, State Capitol Grounds, with a JGSS booth.




      Sunday, May 16, 10 a.m. – Leslie Nye, “What Handwriting Can Tell You About Your Ancestors.”


      Sunday, June 21, 10 a.m. – Marilyn Ulbricht, “Digging It. Researching Genealogy Out of the Box.”




      In Memory of Allan Bonderoff


      We were all saddened to learn of the passing of our longtime member and treasurer, Allan Bonderoff.  As noted by Mort Rumberg, a short memorial service for Allan will be held at the Einstein Center on Friday, April 30, at 3:30 p.m.  All are invited to attend.


      Allan was our doorman who greeted everyone who attended the meetings.  He was also the keeper of our JGSS bank account, putting his CPA talents to use in meticulously keeping the books.


      Allan made several program presentations over the years, speaking about emigration routes to the United States as well as his grandfather’s desertion of the Czar’s army.


      Cards or notes may be sent to Allan’s brother, Jason Bonderoff, at
      12 Old Mamaronack Road, 5A, White Plains, NY 10605

      A Speedy Recovery to Marvin Freedman

      We send our best wishes to member Marvin Freedman, recovering from a broken hip.  Marvin is at Eskaton Greenhaven, 455 Florin Road, Sacramento, CA 95831.  At last report he was in room 6A, Wing B.  He can be reached by phone at 916 422-4764.


      We hope he’s doing well and will be up and about before too long.


      April 18 meeting notes


      President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order and talked about the benefits of membership.  Those joining will receive a copy of “Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy.”


      Mort mentioned that June 11-13 is the annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree; this will be followed in July by the International Association of Jewish Genealogists conference in Los Angeles, July 11-16.


      Mort gave an update on Allan Bonderoff and Marvin Freedman (see above).


      Family History Day at the State Archives is October 9, we plan to have a table as before.


      On Sunday, May 2, the Jewish Heritage Festival will take place on the Capitol steps.  Last year more than 3,000 people attended and enjoyed dancing, fashion, food and booths.  “We had the longest line of any booth,” Mort said, referring to our computer look-ups of the Ellis Island database.  We plan to be out there this year as well, with maybe three computers instead of two.


      Les Finke, executive director of the Einstein Center, was on hand to accept our annual Chanukah gift.  This year it was a replacement white board/easel, used daily to highlight activities for residents.  Shown in the photo by Bob Wascou are Mort Rumberg, left and Les Finke.









      April Program


      Our April program featured “Facial Recognition and Photo Tagging for Genealogy Research” by Daniel Horowitz.  Daniel was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to Israel in 2005.  He is the webmaster for the IAJGS and works for My Heritage (myheritage.com) which makes the facial recognition software.


      He noted that the basic level of use is free, easy and accurate.  It has full import and export capabilities.


      How does facial recognition work? The software pinpoints the main spots on the face – ears, chin, nose, eye, forehead.  It’s the same technique used to identify terrorists, except more points are measured for that purpose.


      With the My Heritage software, they try to match one photo of a person with others of that same person.


      www.myheritage.com/bh -- there is an agreement with the Museum of the Jewish People, Beit Hatfusot.  You need to have an account to upload photos, but it’s free.  Daniel said that everything he was describing today is available free.


      He said you can bring Picasa, Flickr, and Facebook images in, and create an album for a family or event, but not by person.  Even bystanders in photos may be “tagged,” or pinpointed by the facial recognition software, so you might want to be careful what you import.


      Daniel said his grandfather had a twin brother, so the program brought photos of both brothers together.


      “Even as a young child, you can note similarities with grandparents,” Daniel said.


      The more pictures you upload, the better the system.  It cannot compare the photos you upload, however, with photos other people upload.  Perhaps one day, Daniel said.


      He suggested you start “low and small,” bringing in a small number of pictures with a small number of people in them.  The software also makes lists, and allows you to add comments for each photo.


      FaceClouds – organized by size (number of photos of one person), similar to word clouds concept.  It can also tell you the number of pictures where two people are shown together.


      You can also discover different branches of the family together in a photo, something they may not have been aware of.


      Every person registered under My Heritage gets a private e-mail address.


      Slide shows are a way to show all our photos with your relatives, and you can do it person by person.  You can also choose the visual effect, such as a live 3D wall.


      You’ll have a url for the site and can e-mail the album to people without them having to be members.


      You can also create a family timeline for one person that can encompass six generations.


      Another feature is an album that opens like a book on the computer, and can have a page of information for every person in the album.  (The timeline and album are both premium features for My Heritage; there is a charge for that level.)


      You can delete images if people object.


      The base account, free, allows you 250 people; for the premium fee, you can have 2,500.  Premium plus is unlimited.


      Daniel said there are also “smart matches” – every time a family tree is uploaded, the names are compared with the 500 million names in the system.  “Whenever we detect there is one person who may be the same, we inform both sides there may be a match.”


      For more information you can e-mail Daniel Horowitz at  Daniel@....






      Google tips article here


      April 2, 2010

      10 Simple Google Search Tricks

      By SIMON MACKIE of GigaOm

      I’m always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of my favorites.

      1.                   Use the “site:” operator to limit searches to a particular site. I use this one all the time, and it’s particularly handy because many site’s built-in search tools don’t return the results you’re looking for (and some sites don’t even have a search feature). If I’m looking for WWD posts about GTD, for example, I could try this search: GTD site:webworkerdaily.com.

      2.                   Use Google as a spelling aid. As Rob Hacker — the WWD reader I profiled last week — pointed out, entering a word into Google is a quick way to see if you have the right spelling. If it’s incorrect, Google will suggest the correct spelling instead. Additionally, if you want to get a definition of a word, you can use the “define:” operator to return definitions from various dictionaries (for example, define: parasympathetic).

      3.                   Use Google as a calculator. Google has a built-in calculator — try entering a calculation like 110 * (654/8 + 3). Yes, your computer also has a calculator, but if you spend most of your day inside a browser, typing your calculation into the browser’s search box is quicker than firing up your calculator app.

      4.                   Find out what time it is anywhere in the world. This one’s really handy if you want to make sure that you’re not phoning someone in the middle of the night. Just search for “time” and then the name of the city. For example, try: time San Francisco

      5.                   Get quick currency conversions. Google can also do currency conversion, for example: 100 pounds in dollars. It only has the more mainstream currencies, though — if you’re trying to see how many Peruvian nuevos soles your dollars might buy, you’ll be out of luck.

      6.                   Use the OR operator. This can be useful if you’re looking at researching a topic but you’re not sure which keywords will return the information you need. It can be particularly handy in conjunction with the “site:” operator. For example, you could try this search: GTD or “getting things done” site:webworkerdaily.com

      7.                   Exclude specific terms with the – operator. You can narrow your searches using this operator. For example, if you’re looking for information about American Idol but don’t want anything about Simon Cowell, you could try: “american idol” -cowell

      8.                   Search for specific document types. Google can search the web for specific types of files using the “filetype:” operator. If you’re looking for PowerPoint files about GTD, for example, you could try: GTD filetype:ppt

      9.                   Search within numerical ranges using the .. operator. Say, for example, you want to look for information about Olympic events that took place in the 1950’s, you could use this search: Olympics 1950..1960

      10.              Area code lookup. Need to know where a phone number is located? Google will let you know where it is, and show you a map of the area, too. For example: 415

      What are your favorite Google search tricks?




      From the April 18 Avotaynu E-zine by Gary Mokotoff


      Index to Latvian Vital Records
      Christine Usdin of
      France is indexing 19th and early 20th-century Jewish vital records of Latvia. The work to date can be found at http://www.premiumorange.com/rigavitalrecords/. The source of the information is the online digitized images of records located at http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv/en.html. These rabbinate records are written in Russian and Hebrew. Usdin is extracting from the Russian portion, and Martha Lev-Zion of Israel is verifying the accuracy by reading the Hebrew portion.

      The extraction is quite comprehensive including for births: date, name, names of parents (often including patronymic) and place of residence. For boys, also included is the officiant at the circumcision (mohel). For marriages: date, names of bride and groom including patronymic, ages and places of residence, names of witnesses. For deaths: date, name of deceased including patronymic, age of deceased, cause of death, place of residence.

      Towns included to date are Dvinsk, Glazmanka/Dankere/Gostini, Griva, Jekabpils (Jakobstadt), Kudilga (Goldingen), Liepaja (Libava/Libau), Ludza, Malta(Silmala), Rezekne, Riga, Subate, Ilukste and Griva, Valdemarpils (Samaskas/Sassmacken), Varaklani, Vilaka and Vishki.

      iPad Mania
      Israel has banned imports of the iPad, citing concerns the device’s wireless signals could disrupt other equipment. Officials want to first certify that the iPad complies with local transmitter standards. The ban even prevents tourists from bringing one into the country. You can read more at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100415/ap_on_hi_te/ml_israel_ipad_ban.





      From the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald:

      Sarah Jessica Parker kicks off the US version of the popular series.

      There is nothing more boring than being stuck at a dinner party with someone who is researching their family's genealogy but somehow Who Do You Think You Are? is compelling television.

      Unlike the tedious dinner guest who talks on and on about their own family members, the show uses individuals to explore broader historical events.

      The British and Australian incarnations found success on SBS and now Nine (Australia) has snapped up the US version, with its array of Hollywood stars.

      The family trees of Susan Sarandon, Lisa Kudrow and Spike Lee will feature in the series.

      In the first episode, Sarah Jessica Parker discovers family links to the Californian gold rush and the Salem witch trials. Her enthusiasm is genuine and infectious.

      We aren’t boring dinner guests, are we??


    • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
      Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento www.jgss.org August 6, 2011 Our next meeting: Research Logs -- A Powerful Tool Monday, August 15, 2011, 7 p.m. The
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 6 2:25 PM
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        Jewish Genealogical Society
        of Sacramento
        August 6, 2011
        Our next meeting:
        Research Logs -- A Powerful Tool
        Monday, August 15, 2011, 7 p.m.
        The August speaker is Linda Lucky, a curator and manager for the Family History Center in Sacramento.
        Linda will discuss the value of research logs and where to begin, what family documents to gather and what forms are available for recording information.  Linda says this is not an area to take for granted -- how you gather and record data and information can help immensely or make it more difficult to record and confirm your family history.
        Look forward to seeing you on the evening of the15th.
        Movie Pick:
        Here's a movie I (Susanne Levitsky) mentioned in my talk about French Jews a few months back -- "Sarah's Key" (Elle S'Appellait Sarah), starring Kristin Scott Thomas.  It should be opening in Sacramento in the next few weeks.
        Based on the best-selling book, the fictionalized story includes a focus on the single most deadly round-up of French Jews during World War II.  Over two days in 1942, some 13,000 Parisian Jews -- men, women and children --were rounded up and locked in the Vel D'Hiv indoor cycling area for five days without food, and little water or sanitation.  From there, they ended up in Auschwitz; only 25 people of the 13,000 returned.
        Included in the film is a brief sequence  where Kristin Scott Thomas visits the French Memorial de la Shoah museum.
        I saw the movie in Paris last fall with my French cousins and can recommend it.
        Kristin Scott Thomas in the Memorial de la Shoah Museum in Paris
        Notes from the Monday, July 18 Meeting
        Vice-President  Burt Hecht called the meeting to order, as new President Victoria Fisch was ill.  Burt asked how many members plan to attend the upcoming International JGS conference in Washington, D.C.?  Art Yates and Mort Rumberg plan to do so.
        Burt noted that October 15 is Family History Day at the State Archives -- we will have a table and are looking for people who might want to staff the table for an hour or so.  The hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on that day.
        The Sacramento Central Library has announced its genealogy classes for September -- they are held in the West Meeting Room on Sunday the 11th and the 18th, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The class on the 11th will focus on Civil War Research; on the 18th Lorenzo Cuesta will present information on Ancestry.com's Border Crossing database.  (Today's speaker, Marian Kile, said that Lorenzo is an exceptionally entertaining speaker.)
        The Family History Center on Eastern Aveneue has fall classes both during the day and in the evenings -- call (916) 487-2090 for details.
        August 27 will be the 18th annual Nevada County genealogy conference, "Digging for Your Roots," held in Grass Valley,  Call (530) 346-8909.
        Burt talked about upcoming speakers:
                    August  15 -- Linda Lucky will talk about Research Logs.
                   September 19 --   Immigration and Naturalization Research, Lynn Brown
        July Program -- Marian Kile"                                                                                               Getting Started by Being Organized"
        Marian is a volunteer at the Family History Center -- she heard a presentation there in 2005 and thus began her interest in genealogy.  She now conducts classes at the FHC and throughout the area.
        "I have six family lines I'm now doing, so it does get overwhelming," Marian says.  She suggests getting a folder or small binder for each family you're researching, and use the same size sheets for your information
        Marian talked about different filing systems -- basically four -- by surname (subdivided by location), by location (divided by country, state, city), by documents  (based on record type -- marriage, death, birth, military, etc.)and by sequential numbers, and "I prefer the last one." That one involves sequential numbering assigned to each source as it's filed and requires a separate index.

        Steps for the sequential numbering filing system include setting up a binder for each family name, placing each item into its own archival sleeve, numbering each sleeve in the upper right-hand corner, placing the sleeves in the binder, and then type out an index of the documents in a spreadsheet program.
        Keep Documents with the Surname --
        Marian says that when a female is growing up, all of her documents with her maiden name stay with that family.  If she gets married and there is a binder for that family, her documents under her married name would be filed in that family.
        Marian says to develop your tool kit for keeping organized. This would include:
        -- an index to the documents
        --  tracking census data
        -- research logs
        -- tracking correspondence
        -- tracking e-mails
        -- tracking message board postings.
        Here's what Marian advises for setting up a "To Go" kit:
        For each family, take a binder  and have these items in sleeves:  family group sheets, pedigree charts, research logs, census tracking, index to documents, chronology/timeline, blank papers and extra sleeves.
        And, Marian says, you can use this same system for organizing other materials, such as genealogy handouts, recipes, warranty cards and instruction manuals, magazine articles and newsletters, and correspondence.
        She says we also need a standardized way to store genealogy images electronically.
        -- In genealogy apps, you can link documents/photos to a person or event.
        -- Have separate electronic folders for documents and for photos.  Then you can have a subfolder for each family, and easily copy them if you want to share with relatives.
        -- To find the documents easily for linking, name them by Last Name,First Name, date, and type of document.
        --For linked photos, use the same naming conventions.
        To track unknown famioy members, or possible members, Marian has some suggestions:
        -- Set up a different database to keep the main database "clean."  Set up an electronic folder for the documents of these possible family members, and in your binders, just have a divider in the back for those documents.
        When you determine the person's relationship with the family, move them into the proper database, move the electronic files, link the files, and move the hard-copy documents into your binders and update the index.
        In terms of census tracking, Marian says there's very little in the 2010 census, just a few questions, which won't be available until 2082.
        In the meantime, she's given her relatives the questions -- "would you answer these for me?" and put the responses in her database.  She's also asked for photos of their houses to include.
        "If I'd only had pictures of houses from the 1920 and 1930 censuses, wouldn't that be cool?"
        Her final thoughts?  "Get going and get organized!"
        Megan Smolenyak
        Genealogy expert; Author, Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History
        6 Degrees of Separation: Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon Are Cousins
        According to a just released 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll, 78% of Americans are somewhat or very curious about their ancestry, and more than a third (34%) have already researched their heritage. Not surprisingly, television executives have noticed the soaring popularity of genealogy and responded with celebrity roots shows -- most notably British import, Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC), and an annual PBS series with an ever-evolving name (Faces of America, African American Lives, etc.) hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
        In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I've worked on all these shows, so I was delighted when Kyra Sedgwick talked about her experience with the latest Gates series on a recent appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.
        Though Dave was clearly a skeptic, Kyra insisted that she "found out so many things she didn't know" and protested, "But it was on PBS! You have to believe PBS!" Among the revelations she shared were some of her famous, distant cousins -- Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Marilyn Monroe -- but it was the last name she dropped that grabbed Dave's attention. Apparently, Kyra and her husband, Kevin Bacon, are 10th cousins once removed.
        She described this discovery as "a little upsetting," but it shouldn't be and Dave should tuck aside his skepticism. Here's why. I'll spare you a treatise on genealogical math, but suffice it to say that we all have millions of cousins, so a few of them are bound to be famous. And though we tend to make kissing cousin jokes about West Virginia, the phenomenon is far more widespread and pronounced than many realize. In fact, if you and your spouse both have deep colonial American roots or both have French Canadian ancestry, the odds are excellent that you're cousins.
        Both Kyra and Kevin fall into the colonial American category (for an interesting taste of Kyra's family history, read In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family by John Sedgwick), so while their cousinship wasn't a given, it's not shocking either. Even so, I imagine they're probably thankful that their connection is more distant than six degrees.
        With Digital Mapmaking, Scholars See History
        Published: July 26, 2011
        Few battles in history have been more scrutinized than Gettysburg’s three blood-soaked days in July 1863, the turning point in the Civil War. Still, there were questions that all the diaries, official reports and correspondence couldn’t answer precisely. What, for example, could Gen. Robert E. Lee actually see when he issued a series of fateful orders that turned the tide against the Confederate Army nearly 150 years ago?
        Jason P. Smith for The New York Times
        The geographer Anne Kelly Knowles has used mapmaking software to re-examine the Gettysburg battlefield.
        The Past in Three Dimensions
        Articles in this series are examining how digital tools are changing scholarship in history, literature and the arts.
        Anne Kelly Knowles, Will Rousch, Caitrin Abshere and others; and National Archives, Maryland
        A “viewshed” analysis showing what Gen. Robert E. Lee could have seen on the second day of fighting at Gettysburg. The light areas would have been visible.
        Now historians have a new tool that can help. Advanced technology similar to Google Earth, MapQuest and the GPS systems used in millions of cars has made it possible to recreate a vanished landscape. This new generation of digital maps has given rise to an academic field known as spatial humanities. Historians, literary theorists, archaeologists and others are using Geographic Information Systems — software that displays and analyzes information related to a physical location — to re-examine real and fictional places like the villages around Salem, Mass., at the time of the witch trials; the Dust Bowl region devastated during the Great Depression; and the Eastcheap taverns where Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Prince Hal caroused.
        Like the crew on the starship Enterprise, humanists are exploring a new frontier of the scholarly universe: space.
        Mapping spatial information reveals part of human history that otherwise we couldn’t possibly know,” said Anne Kelly Knowles, a geographer at Middlebury College in Vermont. “It enables you to see patterns and information that are literally invisible.” It adds layers of information to a map that can be added or taken off at will in various combinations; the same location can also be viewed back and forth over time at the click of a mouse.
        Today visitors to Gettysburg can climb to the cupola of the Lutheran seminary, where Lee stationed himself on July 2, the second day of fighting; or stand on Seminary Ridge, where the next day Lee watched from behind the Confederate lines as thousands of his men advanced across the open farmland to their deaths in the notorious Pickett’s Charge. But they won’t see what the general saw because the intervening years have altered the topography. Over the decades a quarry, a reservoir, different plants and trees have been added, and elevations have changed as a result of mechanical plowing and erosion.
        Geographic Information Systems, known as GIS, allowed Ms. Knowles and her colleagues to recreate a digital version of the original Gettysburg battlefield from historical maps, documented descriptions of troop positions and scenery, and renderings of historic roads, fences, buildings and vegetation. “The only way I knew how to answer the question,” about what Lee saw, Ms. Knowles said, “was to recreate the ground digitally using GIS and then ask the GIS program: What can you see from a certain position on the digital landscape, and what can you not see?”  
        She said her work helps “make Lee’s dilemma more vivid and personal.” Nineteenth-century military leaders relied primarily on their own eyes, and small differences in elevation were strategically important. “Lee probably could not have possibly seen the massive federal forces building up on the eastern side of the battlefield on Day 2 during the famous attack on Little Round Top,” Ms. Knowles said. “He had to make decisions with really inadequate information.”
        So did Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, who was vilified in the Confederacy partly because of his decision on July 2 to take his troops on a long countermarch to avoid detection rather than attack Little Round Top directly. The march “made Longstreet the goat of Gettysburg,” Ms. Knowles said. But there was no way that Longstreet could have seen that Little Round Top was undefended at the time. “The analysis says Longstreet made the best decision he could,” added Ms. Knowles, who is currently working on a digital map of the Nazis’ territorial conquests and forced labor camps in Europe.
        New methods of computer-assisted geographic analysis can also offer new interpretations of familiar topics. Geoff Cunfer, a historian at the University of Saskatchewan, revisited causes of the 1930s Dust Bowl by analyzing data from all 208 counties in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas that were affected, an impossible undertaking without this system. He found that the traditional explanation of farmers’ extensively plowing the land without care for environmental limits was only true in some places. Barely plowed Southern counties also suffered from the plague of dust. Using reports of annual precipitation, unplowed grassland, wind direction, droughts, agricultural censuses, historical studies and previous reports on dust storms — “a messy shoebox full of newspaper clippings” — Mr. Cunfer created data sets that could be plotted on maps.
        He discovered that dust storms regularly occurred in the 19th century and were a natural part of plains ecology before any plowing occurred, but were “unreported and unpublicized,” he said. 
        Advanced mapping tools, around since the 1960s, were initially used primarily for environmental analysis and urban planning. In the late 1980s and 1990s geographic historical information systems enabled scholars to take census information and other quantifiable data and plot changes in a location over time. By the late 1990s professional networks and organizations began to form, but this sort of mapmaking remained on the margins.
        This system insists on precision, explained David Bodenhamer, a historian at Indiana University who is editing a series of books on the spatial humanities. Every bit of data is represented by a point, a closed polygon or a pixel on a map. Critics complained this exactitude did not allow for multiple viewpoints.
        National Archives, Maryland
        Ms. Knowles's team used this 1875 topographical map of Gettysburg to create a digital representation of the  battlefield terrain.
        By the mid-2000s technological developments enabled scholars to break out of the strict map format and add photographs and texts to create what Mr. Bodenhamer calls “deep maps,” which can capture more than one perspective.
        In 2005 Mr. Bodenhamer, collaborating with colleagues at Florida State University and West Virginia University, helped create the Polis Center in Indianapolis, which calls itself the first virtual spatial humanities center. One of their early projects was financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities: a detailed digital atlas of religion in North America that broke down denominations by county. Geographic Information Systems make it possible to analyze complex and changing patterns of political preferences, religious affiliation, migration and cultural influence in fresh ways by linking them to geography, Mr. Bodenhamer said.
        Benjamin Ray, the director of the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive at the University of Virginia, said visualizing data helps you to analyze it. “The eye is a very good sorter of patterns,” he said. Mr. Ray had wondered why witchcraft charges spread so rapidly and widely in 1692 from Salem across 25 communities, whereas previous incidents had remained small and localized. When he plotted the accusations on a digital map that showed a progression over time, it struck him immediately: “It looked like a kind of epidemic, almost a disease.”
        That made him examine what the Salem authorities did differently this time that failed to contain the hysteria. He found that the judges broke their own rules by permitting people to make accusations without posting a monetary bond, letting accusers be interviewed in groups and allowing “spectral evidence” — evidence only visible to the accuser — as sufficient for a conviction. After adding church affiliation to the map, he saw there was also a correlation between church membership and the accusers, which reflected a rift in the village over support for the minister.  
        Mr. Bodenhamer said the humanities had become too abstract and neglected physical space. The value of what scholars are calling “the spatial turn,” he added, is that “it allows you to ask new questions: Why is it that something developed here and not somewhere else, what is it about the context of this place?”
        From Avotaynu's Recent E-Zines
        An Interesting Consideration in DNA Evaluation
        I (Gary Mokotoff)have always been pessimistic about the use of DNA to prove kinship because without a perfect match, you are dealing in probabilities. For example, in my own 64-marker contribution to the FamilyTreeDNA database, the closest matches are off by three markers—8 persons in total—and the company states that the probability of kinship with any one of the 8 persons within eight generations is 69%. I see no significance in the fact that there is a 69% chance the person is related to me within some meaningful amount of generations.

        This past week I was staring at the results and realized that while the probability of kinship with any of the 8 within eight generations is only 69%, I had 8 chances to establish kinship. What is the probability that at least one of the 8 was close kin? It turns out, the likelihood is 95% that one of them is related to me within eight generations. What I must do is determine which one.

        These probabilities use the same formula as coin tossing. Toss a coin and the probability that any specific toss will come up “heads” is 50%. But the probability that any one of 10 tosses will come up heads is more than 99.9%. It only fails if all 10 tosses come up “tails.”

        News from JewishGen

        Yizkor Books in Print Project. JewishGen has started a project to put in print and make available for purchase yizkor books that have been completely translated into English by JewishGen volunteers. The project is looking for people with expertise in editing, layout, image processing and book cover design. Additional information about the project is located at http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/ybip.html.

        JOWBR. The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry now contains 1.7 million records from 3,200 cemeteries in 51 countries. The latest update consisted of more than 120,000 records and 49,000 new photos of tombstones. Information about this project can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Cemetery/Submit.htm.


        Yet another company has a UK and Republic of Ireland death index online. They do not indicate how many records they have, but it is not unreasonable it exceeds one million. They state that “over the coming months and years we will be building a substantial database of tens of millions of burial and cremation records.” There are 133 persons named Cohen in the database. At no charge, the burial date and cemetery location are provided. Any additional information is fee based. The site is located at https://www.deceasedonline.com.

        List of Surviving Jews in Holland

        According to Peter Lande, JewishGen volunteers are indexing a list of Jewish survivors in Holland prepared by the Centraal Registratiebureau voor Joden in Amsterdam after the end of World War II. There are a total of 24,163 names. In many cases the listings include the place of birth or former residence of an individual, and these include hundreds of listings of individuals from non-Dutch cities and towns, primarily in Germany. The list should appear on JewishGen before the August conference.

        Avotaynu.com Named One of the 101 Best Genealogy Websites
        Avotaynu.com was named by Family Tree Magazine as one of the 101 Best Genealogy Websites of 2011 for tracing your roots. It noted the Nu? What’s New? archives and the Consolidated Jewish Surname Index as components of the website.

        Boston 2013

        http://avotaynu.com/gifs/nwn/PaulRevere.jpgThe 2011 conference is not yet history and already the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston is planning for the 2013 conference which they will host. They have a minimal website at http://www.jgsgb.org/conf2013.

        The site includes a picture of the statute of Paul Revere holding a menorah as he makes his famous ride to warn the colonials that the British army was advancing to Concord, Massachusetts, to capture a cache of arms. (This incident is considered the start of the American Revolutionary War.) The picture includes the parody on the words Revere supposedly made as he rode through the countryside awakening militia men: “The British are coming, the British as coming!” JGSGB changed it to “The genealogists are coming!”
        See You Monday Evening, August 15th
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