Genealogy Update -- Next Meeting May 15
Jewish Genealogical Society
May 5, 2011
Our Next Meeting:
Sunday, May 15, 2011, 10 a.m.
Janice Sellers -- Newspapers Online
Newspapers are valuable in genealogical research because you find information about births, death, marriages, moves, businesses, naturalizations, court cases and more. Millions of pages of the world's newspapers are now online, but there is no one place to find them all. Janice Sellers will give an overview of what is available and how to find it, and provide some tricks and tips to find your ancestors in the paper.
Janice is an editor and professional genealogist who specializes in Jewish research. She is the publicity director for the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society and the managing editor of Galitzianer, a quarterly newsletter focused on Jewish research in the former Austrian province of Galitzia. Janice has been on the staff of the Oakland Regional Family History Center for 11 years.
Notes from the April 17, 2011 Meeting
President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order. He talked about the Family History Day at the State Archives, Saturday, October 15. The Bay Area JGS will join us and share a table. For more information, go to fhd2011@....
The Jewish Heritage Festival will be held May 22 at the State Capitol. We’re looking for volunteers to help staff our booth for an hour or so.
Upcoming meetings – May 15, Janice Sellers (see above); Monday, June 20, 7 p.m.,Steve Morse, DNA and Genealogy; July, Marian Kile on Organizing Your Research.
April 17 Program – “French Connection”
Susanne Levitsky said one of the reasons she wanted to do a presentation was to share information about French Jews. She said we know a lot of German Jews and Polish Jews and even Dutch Jews, through Anne Frank, but little about those in many other countries, such as France.
Susanne said she has relatives currently living in France on three different sides of her family. She focused on her Borach relatives, who go back at least to the early 1700s in the village of Turckheim, in the Alsace part of France.
As a side note, Susanne says she’s set up “Google alerts” to receive mentions of online news articles, blogs or photos for several different terms, including “Turckheim” and her surname “Levitsky.” Some of the photos of Turckheim included in her presentation (19 th century, aerial) came from Google alert contacts.
For those with ancestors from Alsace, which borders on Germany, there is a benchmark Jewish census done in 1784. It has been published in book form, but only portions are currently online. Susanne showed the page for Turckheim, that includes her Borach relatives.
In the spring of 1870, Susanne’s great-grandfather, Bernard Borach, left Alsace for California, where he had an introduction to a family with a business in Martinez. Just a few months later, the Franco-Prussian war breaks out, and within a year, Alsace and part of Lorraine would become German, and stay German until the end of World War I.
Meanwhile, Bernard Borach gets a job in Martinez, and his two brothers come to California as well. One, Jerome, settles in Yolo County and operates a general store. Susanne showed copies of family correspondence and photos she has that date back more than 100 years.
Jerome Borach becomes a citizen, returns to France to get married, and brings his wife back to California. They have two boys born in Yolo County. Ultimately his wife wants to return to France, so the family leaves and settles in Lyon, France.
Bernard takes over his brother’s store, also goes back to France to marry and then return with his wife. They raise a family and remain in Yolo County for the rest of their lives.
But the situation would be different for Jerome’s family. He and his wife raise three boys –the two born in California and a third born in France. The sons go into business together and stay in contact with their California cousins throughout the years.
Fast-forward to World War II. In 1940, France falls to Germany in just six weeks. The Germans occupy Paris and northern France, the Vichy government oversees the unoccupied half. In Paris, Jews must wear yellow stars; within weeks, major anti-semitic measures, which become increasingly severe, are in place for the rest of France as well.
July 16-17, 1942, 13,000 Jews in Paris are rounded up and taken to an indoor cycling arena, the Vel D’Hiv (Velodrome d’Hiver). They are kept in miserable conditions and then sent to French concentration camps, then deported to Auschwitz. Only 25 of the 13,000 survive the war.
Deporations are occurring in the rest of France as well. By the end of World War II, a total of 76,000 Jews are deported to Germany, most never to return. The three Borach brothers in Lyon – including the two born in Yolo County – are arrested by the Gestapo at their business on October 29, 1943. Within a month, they would be on a train, convoy 62, bound for Auschwitz, where all three perished. Susanne showed documentation from the brothers’ arrest and their convoy list, as well as testimony about their fate from those who survived.
Susanne’s cousin, Jacques, now 82, was the son of one of the Borach brothers. He was at school when his father was arrested, and was able to escape with his mother and be sheltered as a hidden child under an assumed name in a Catholic school outside of Lyon.
It took more than 50 years after the war, and President Jacques Chirac, to finally admit in 1995 the complicity of the Vichy government in its deportations of Jews.
Susanne said Jacques had done much of the family tree through personal research in pre-computer days and she credits him with her interest in genealogy. She was able to visit him and his wife (also a cousin of Susanne on her great-grandmother’s side) in Lyon last October. They visited the cemetery where Jerome Borach is buried and there is a plaque for the three brothers who were deported. There is also a memorial plaque including the name of one of the brothers in the Lyon synagogue.
Susanne also showed a book she had done online through Costco.com of photos of her four days traveling with Jacques and his wife. For about $30 and just a few hours online, they will print and send you a 30-page or longer book – you choose the photos and the layout and can add captions. This could be a way to showcase old family photos, or pictures from a wedding, bar mitzvah, trip, etc.
For those who may be visiting Paris, Susanne showed a few sites to consider: the new Memorial de la Shoah museum, which has a wall listing the names of the 76,000 deported Jews; the Jewish art and history museum; the Marais, a Jewish district; and a memorial to the deportation behind Notre Dame. Susanne also offered a list of film suggestions relating to France during World War II as well as the situation for French Jews during the war.
From Avotaynu, May 3:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Partners with Ancestry.com
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and Ancestry.com announced the launch of the World Memory Project, http://www.WorldMemoryProject.org, which will recruit the public to help build the world's largest online resource for information on Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of non-Jews who were targeted for persecution by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. The project will dramatically expand the number of Museum documents relating to individual victims that can be searched online.
The Museum's archives contain information on well over 17 million people targeted by Nazi racial and political policies, including Jews, Poles, Roma, Ukrainians, political prisoners, and many others.
The World Memory Project will utilize proprietary software and project management donated by Ancestry.com, which hosts its own online archival project to expand its transcribed records collections. Once transcribed, the indices will be hosted exclusively on Ancestry.com where they will be able to be searched and results viewed at no charge. No documents will be available through Ancestry.com. Instead USHMM will provide copies of documents to survivors and their families at no cost. The original documentation will remain in the Museum's archival collection.
Important note to people who do not have paid subscriptions to Ancestry. The company frequently changes its home page and it is not always obvious how to gain access to the databases that are accessible at not charge. To search their databases, click the Search button at the top of the page. This gives you access to their collection. If the information is available at no charge, the results will be provided. If the information is part of their paid subscription collection, a portion of the information will be displayed, the balance made available only to paid subscribers.
The index will be created by volunteers, so the success of the project depends on people volunteering to do the indexing. This process has started and as of today, 445 volunteers have already indexed more than 50,000 documents. They will be placed on Ancestry.com as collections are completed. If you are interested in volunteering to do the indexing, information is available at http://www.WorldMemoryProject.org.
To search the Ancestry.com databases that are available at no charge, click the Search button at the top of their home page.
Genealogy Fans Download Ancestry.com’s Mobile App Over One Million Times
Genealogy lovers flocked to the Ancestry.com’s mobile app since its release on January 31, 2011. In fact, within the first three months of its existence, downloads of the ancestry app passed the one million mark.
Back Issues of Jewish Telegraph Agency To Be Online
Back issues of the Jewish Telegraph Agency’s “Jewish News Archive”—nearly 90 years of articles—will be online and searchable as of May 3. There will be no cost to users. JTA estimates they have produced more than a quarter million articles since its inception in 1923. The exact URL is not yet provided. The JTA’s website is at http://jta.org.
U.S. naturalizations. Blood and Frogs provides a list of all the naturalization record holdings that can be ordered online from the U.S. National Archives. Trauring notes that his site is a time saver, because when you use the National Archives online ordering system, only half-way through your order you find out if the records exist. The information is provided by state showing the years available. The site is at http://www.bloodandfrogs.com/p/naturalization.html.
Jewish gravestone symbols. Graphic symbols on Jewish gravestones often provide information about the deceased. For example, the image of a pitcher indicates the person was a Levite. Blood and Frogs provides photographs of 18 such symbols and an explanation of their meaning. It is located at http://www.bloodandfrogs.com/2011/04/jewish-gravestone-symbols.html.
Another site located at http://www.genealogywise.com states it is the social networking site of genealogy. It claims to have more than 25,000 members. Included are groups, user-generated forums, blogs and chat rooms.
It was created by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, an affiliate of the Continuing Education, University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto. The Institute provides web-based courses for both family historians and professional genealogists. Their website is at http://www.genealogicalstudies.com.
American Jewish Year Book 5672 (1911–12) Online
The American Jewish Year Book 5672 (23 Sep 1911 – 11 Sep 1912) is now online at http://www.ajcarchives.org/main.php?GroupingId=10044. These yearbooks provide articles about Jewish issues of the times, events of the year, a necrology of prominent Jews, a directory of Jewish organizations including a list of officers, population statistics and other Jewish-oriented information.
Do You Use Amazon.com? Contemplating Using Ancestry.com?
If you use Amazon.com or are contemplating using Ancestry.com, two major Jewish genealogical organizations can benefit monetarily if you visit these sites through special portals.
The International Association of Jewish Genealogists (IAJGS) is an Amazon Associate. When purchasing something at Amazon.com, go to their site through the portal on the IAJGS website and IAJGS will receive referral income from Amazon. Go to http://www.iajgs.org. At the bottom of the page is a link to Amazon.
If you plan to subscribe to Ancestry.com, do so through JewishGen. At the top right of the JewishGen home page at http://www.jewishgen.org, click on the message “powered by Ancestry.com.” It will bring you to the Ancestry.com site and JewishGen will get credit for the referral.
See you Sunday, May 15.