Jewish Genealogical Society
July 4, 2010
Upcoming Meeting – Monday, July 19, 7 p.m.
“Beginning German Genealogy”
At the July meeting, Shirley Reimer will focus on the first steps needed for an understanding of the cultural, historical and genealogical facts for German ancestral research. This includes a look at the Second German Empire as related to German research as well as an overview of German civil and church records.
Shirley taught high school English for ten years, then worked in communications for 22 years. After she retired, she published The German Research Companion in 1997 and co-authored a second book in 2001. For the last 18 years, she has published Der Blumenbaum, the quarterly journal of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society. For the last nine years she has also published the quarterly newsletter, Mitteilungen, for the Sacramento Turn Verein German-American Cultural Center/ Library.
This August, Shirley will make her 41st visit to Germany .
Notes from June Meeting
President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order. He gave an overview of upcoming meetings, including Shirley Reimer on Beginning German Genealogy (Monday, July 19, 7 p.m.) and Erwin Joos on the Red Star shipping line (Sunday, August 8). Sunday, October 17, Dale Friedman will give an Introduction to Jewish Genealogy, and Sunday, November 21, Glenda Lloyd will discuss Maiden Names.
Mort passed around a thank-you card for our recent donation of an easel to the Einstein Center. He also noted that a donation had been made in memory of our late treasurer, Allan Bonderoff.
The Sacramento Regional Family History Center continues to hold Wednesday evening classes, but you do need to register.
October 9 will be Family History Day at the State Archives in Sacramento. We plan to have a table and do Ellis Island lookups for attendees. There will also be a number of beginning genealogy classes that day.
Mort Rumberg has served two terms as president, the total permitted under our bylaws. After some discussion, Burt Hecht volunteered to serve once again as president. Victoria Fisch and Sue Miller will serve as vice-presidents/program chairs; Susanne Levitsky as secretary; and Julie Lavine as treasurer.
Marilyn Ulbricht, the current president of RootCellar, the Sacramento Genealogical Society, spoke to us about “Digging It – Using Archeology to Locate Your Ancestors.”
“It’s not Indiana Jones running around and finding these great things,” Marilyn says, “but with archeology, you can literally touch your ancestors.”
She talked about artifacts – items made or modified by human beings. “The diversity of artifacts increases geometrically as you get closer to the present.”
Dating artifacts –
There is “relative dating,” which includes statigraphy, the lowest layers must have been formed first. (The law of superposition.)
And there is seriation, sequence dating – the idea that an artifact can change over time (think of the fins of a car).
Marilyn talked about various artifact dating methods, including thermoliminescence, radio-carbon dating, and dendochronology (as in tree rings).
Sources of artifacts – sometimes they are in or next to a casket. Trash dumps and other domestic settings are also sources.
Salvage archeology – Most used for American archeology, usually because of pressure (they’re going to put in a highway or build a dam).
Some work is better than none.
Can determine, for example, where a road used to be by using metal detectors – find bullets, horseshoes, metal from oxen harnesses, etc.
Midden – this is the term for a mound of domestic refuse/trash dump.
Marilyn described to us in detail a study of Kadema. A large mound near Fair Oaks and Watt in Sacramento was once home to the Nisenan Indians, considered a branch of the Southern Maidu. The area is now covered with housings, but prior to building, a historical cemetery was excavated for reinterment.
Marilyn talked about some of the people buried there, including a Kadema chief who had been a brickmaker for John Sutter. The area was also used as a camping ground during hop-picking. There were a number of burials that ensued due to malara epidemics. Marilyn also talked about some of the Kadema men and women and their families, including a few who ended up in California prisons.
In conclusion, Marilyn encourages us to read archeological notes and books and check out more than just genealogy books.
YIVO Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe Online (From Avotaynu)
It has only been available in print for two years at a price of $400, but YIVO Institute has decided to place its YIVO Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe online. Judging from the quality of the site, it was planned all along. It is located at http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org.
A number of negative postings to the JewishGen Discussion Group complained that people keyed in ancestral towns and got no results. The purpose of the book was not to be an encyclopedia of Jewish towns. That is the purpose of Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust which originally sold for $395 and is now available from Avotaynu at $99. It has information about 6,500 towns. (A list of towns is available at the Avotaynu site. See http://www.avotaynu.com/books/encyclopedia.htm.)
The YIVO Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia of the history of the Jews of Eastern Europe. Consequently, it has articles on selected cities, persons, events and locations. It has some interesting maps—60 in all—that include the Kovno, Lodz and Warsaw ghettoes. These maps identify specific sites within the ghetto, and sliding a mouse over a site provides a description. There are three maps of “Poland” from 1795, 1900 and 1930. On a more global scale there are maps of Eastern Europe in 1600, 1740, 1814, 1923, 1945 and today. I accidentally discovered that if you scroll the mouse wheel, it zooms in on the map.
The best way to determine its content is to click Browse on the home page. It provides an alphabetical listing of topics. There are also links to the maps, images/audio/video (1,382 in all) and 192 original documents.
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See you on Monday, July 19, 7 p.m.
July 15, 2017Upcoming Meetings --No July MeetingGetting Started in Genealogy --- August 20, 9 a.m. to noonSeptember 17, 9 a.m. to noon
Meeting Notes -- June 11, 2017Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests.Mort mentioned that the numbered parking spaces are for Einstein residents and we should park elsewhere.There will be no meeting next month, when the IAJGS conference will be held in Orlando.The California Museum will have a film program through August 6 --“Light and Noir,” exiles and Emigres in Hollywood, 1933-1950.Librarian Teven Laxer showed several books we have in our library, including “The History of the Jews in Milwaukee” and “The History of the Jews in Los Angeles” – both have cross-references to newspaper articles. We also have a Legacy Family Tree 8.0 Manual.Teven said we have close to 500 volumes in our library, most targeting Jewish genealogy. The library is one of the benefits of membership.The Tikva group will have its next program June 25 on Anti-Semitism. It will take place at B’Nai Israel from 1 to 4 p.m. The guest speaker will be Nancy Appel from the ADL in San Francisco.Judy Persin is organizing the August and September meetings which will focus on Beginning Genealogy Workshops, from 9 a.m. to noon on August 20 and September 17. There will be two sessions each Sunday. “We’ll provide the basics for those who are just beginning and it’s also a great review for old-timers,” Judy said.The cost is $10 for members, $15 for non-members, covering both August and September workshops.Registration form for the August/September workshops attached. Please reserve now to secure a space.June Speaker – Maryellen Burns “The Power of Story”Why do we tell stories? What is revealed, what is hidden in the story.“Growing up, I was really isolated,” Maryellen said. “I didn’t discover I was Jewish until I was 10, when my parents invited a friend who had been in Auschwitz. I went from knowing nothing to now having 586 pages of relatives on my maternal grandmother’s side."She said her father was on the road from ages 7 to 9 – the only reason he could survive was that he could read the hobos’ symbols and find Jewish families in the South.Maryellen noted that while Jews don’t have godparents, two friends of her family, Nate and Laura, filled that role. She also recalls one day when Woody Guthrie, Andre Segovia and Arthur Fieldler’s sister were at her house.“I want to know the character of the person who is part of my history,” Maryellen said, something she learns through conversation. She says she has more than 110 conversations on her phone.She said the stories we tell and the stories we hide tell a lot about us.Maryellen said the family photos she had came from cousins, including many in the last few years. “My parents took a picture and then sent it to relatives.”“Each one of us in our lives has a keeper of stories,” she said. “The oral tradition plays a large part in Jewish culture.”"What we are named, who we are named for – are names chosen to hide our identity, to perhaps look we were Catholic?” That was the case for Maryellen and her brothers.Maryellen asked the group to talk to the person next to them about their names. Who were they named after?"And if you had a nickname, how did that affect your identity?”Seven Reasons Why We Tell Stories--They define who we are – what we choose to tell and what we want to conceal.-- To plant ideas in people – ideas, thoughts and emotions.-- We like stories-- We are born to tell stories.-- We are literally wired to relate to people who tell a storyIt’s our own natural tendency to tell fictional stories as well as true stories.-- Stories inspire action.-- We tell stories to impress.Maryellen asked the group, how many of you plan on recording your story in some way? Most of you. What is the mechanism you will use?Why is it important to you? Do it for your kids? Think about donating a copy to the library. Maybe you can bring something that will spark a story in someone else.Maryellen said we tend to rely on lists of questions. “But get into conversation, let the story lead where the person wants to go. What did the house, Grandma, smell like? What did you hear when you were there?”Maryellen does talks on a number of subjects, including book architecture, whipping up a family cookbook, and (for the Renaissance Society), how every wave of immigration affected the food in the local area.Maryellen can be reached by email at Maryellen_burns@....~~~~~~~~~~~~~International Jewish Genealogy Conference hosts a plethora of talentHeritage -- Florida Jewish Names June 23, 2017Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, host of the popular PBS television show "Finding Your Roots," will address the IAJGS annual awards banquet with a talk on "Genealogy and Genetics in America.
What do Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alexander Hamilton and Aida have to do with discovering your ancestors? To find out, join other genealogists at the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy from July 23–28 at the Disney World Swan Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., host of the PBS hit series "Finding Your Roots," will be the featured speaker on "Genetics and Genealogy in America" on Thursday evening at the conference. Some of the many celebrities that Gates has successfully helped to find their Jewish roots include Barbara Walters, Julianna Margulies, Gloria Steinem, Norman Lear, Tony Kushner, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey, Jr., Carole King, Alan Dershowitz and Dustin Hoffman.
"This is a one of a kind opportunity for the Greater Orlando Jewish community to trace their ancestors-both for those totally new to family history research and those already experienced in genealogy," said Dr. Diane Jacobs, local host conference co-chair.
Sunday evening will feature "Alexander Hamilton, the Jews, and the American Revolution," presented by Dr. Robert Watson, professor, historian, author, and media commentator.
Wednesday evening, there will be a special showing of the 2016 acclaimed documentary "Aida's Secrets" (sponsored by MyHeritage). This documentary is a story about family secrets, lies, high drama and generations of contemporary history. The international story begins with World War II and concludes with an emotional 21st century family reunion. Izak was born inside the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp in 1945 and sent for adoption in Israel. Utilizing the resources of Yad Vashem and MyHeritage, secret details of his birth mother, an unknown brother in Canada and his father's true identity slowly emerge in this extremely personal investigative film.
Featured Monday evening, acclaimed expert and author on etymology and geographic distribution of Jewish surnames, Alexander Beider and Harry Ostrer will debate "Setting the Record Straight: What Yiddish and DNA Tell Us About Ashkenazi Origins" (sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA).On Tuesday evening, "1917: A Turning Point in American Jewish History" (sponsored by JGSLA) will be presented by Hasia Diner, author and Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish history at New York University.Professor Robert Watson, a featured speaker at the IAJGS Florida/Caribbean conference, will talk about our Nevis-born founding father "Alexander Hamilton, the Jews, and the American Revolution."
Stanley Diamond is a leader in Canadian Jewish Research, JRI-PolandMONTREALER RECEIVES MEDAL FROM GOVERNOR GENERALBy Bill Gladstone - July 13, 2017 Canadian Jewish NewsStan Diamond, left, receiving his medal from Gov.Gen David Johnston. SGT. JOHANIE MAHEU RIDEAU HALL PHOTOIn 1986, when Montrealer Stan Diamond sold his decorative-ceiling company after a successful business career, he could not have envisioned that a second career, even more monumental than the first, lay ahead of him. Almost by happenstance, it seems, he became executive director of a large, U.S.-based non-profit organization called JRI-Poland, which would help thousands of people research their family roots – an achievement for which he received a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on June 23.To date, JRI-Poland (short form for Jewish Records Indexing, Poland) has indexed some five million 19th-century and early 20th-century Jewish birth, marriage, death and other records from more than 550 Polish towns. Not only is the database fully searchable online, but more than two-million records are available for download, with more becoming accessible every few months.Driven by an executive committee of four, a 16-member board and an international network of hundreds of volunteers, JRI-Poland raises about US$100,000 ($133,000) each year, most of which goes to digitizing and indexing records that are mostly hand written in antique Polish script or Russian Cyrillic. Scores of volunteers from the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, Great Britain, France and elsewhere participate in the project.Diamond has heard countless stories of people achieving remarkable, sometimes even life-changing results from the JRI-Poland database. It has been instrumental, for instance, in uniting long lost family members. Recently, a brother and sister in Jerusalem found a half-brother from their father’s second family, who was previously unknown to them, even though he was living just 90 minutes away. Last year, Diamond used the database to confirm the birth date of 112-year-old Auschwitz survivor Yisrael Kristal of Haifa, who was subsequently proclaimed the world’s oldest man by Guinness World Records.His inbox is filled with stories of research “miracles” and people telling him that JRI-Poland has solved enduring family mysteries. “Two weeks ago, a woman in Toronto wrote us that her grandfather had always said they were related to (the late French actor and mime) Marcel Marceau and she wanted to know how,” he said. Taking on the challenge, he found that Marceau’s family was from the Polish town of Bedzin, where their surname had been Mangel, and was able to make the connection to the woman’s family. The lady was thrilled.While Jewish record books in most towns survived the devastation of fire, flood and war, there are often gaps in the series of available years. In a few towns, the records disappeared entirely. Sometimes it’s a matter of town officials being careless; and some records were lost during the tumultuous Nazi era, when the occupying Germans took over town halls for their headquarters. In Pultusk, Jewish records before 1875 were reportedly destroyed by the Jews themselves, who feared the Nazis would use them to track down the town’s Jewish families.The Warsaw cemetery, Diamond related, once had huge volumes of burial registers that disappeared. “What we were told by the management of the Warsaw cemetery is that they were used as firewood during the war,” he said. “They were huge registers – you’re looking at a cemetery with some 300,000 or more burials.”Diamond’s knowledge of Polish geography, developed over many annual two-week trips, seems remarkable for a non-native. “At the end of one trip, we were talking to the director of the archives about all sorts of things and I was pulling the names (of towns) out of a hat and he remarked, ‘You know, Mr. Diamond, I think you know more about the Polish State Archives (PSA) and about Polish geography than anybody else outside of Poland’,” he said.His knowledge of both Polish geography and Jewish genealogy began innocently enough some 30 years ago, when he wanted to trace the path of a rare genetic condition called beta thalassemia within his own family tree. Travelling to Poland, he received permission to index the Jewish records from his own ancestral town, Ostrow Mazowiecka. When he was done, he paid a visit to Prof. Jerzy Skowronek, then director of the PSA.“When I presented him with the printout of the database, I was not in any way, shape or form thinking about what was going to happen next,” Diamond said. “He said to me, ‘Mr. Diamond, this is very impressive, I wasn’t expecting this.’ And I don’t know what prompted me at that moment, but I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do this for all of Poland?’And he said, ‘Well it’s not our policy, but maybe we’ll start small and do a few more towns’.”When he returned to Canada, Diamond began calling people and raising interest. He attributes the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fortuitous co-operative spirit of the PSA as chief factors – along with the rise of the personal computer and the World Wide Web – behind JRI-Poland’s step-by-step development and growth. “Everything came together, the timing was exquisite,” he said. “It was a continuum of one thing happening after another that made all this possible.”A key step along the way was the agreement that Diamond signed with the PSA in 1997 that officially recognized JRI-Poland as a partner. “After that, we had the credibility to go to each branch of the PSA, having been introduced by headquarters. Back then, of course, we were still buying photographs of the index pages. When digitalization became a reality, that was also a turning point,” said Diamond.Diamond has already received numerous awards for his work, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Last December, he was nominated for the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.Sign Up Now for our August/September Workshops -- Form Attached