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"Who Do You Think You Are?" -- Friday 8 p.m.

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Season 3 of Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC/Channel 3) Episode 1 -- this Friday, February 3, 8 p.m. You ll want to tune in -- Martin Sheen learns how
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2012
      Season 3  of "Who Do You Think You Are?"  (NBC/Channel 3)
      Episode 1 -- this Friday, February 3, 8 p.m.  You'll want to tune in -- Martin Sheen learns how family members in Ireland and Spain stood up for their beliefs during times of war.

      Episode 2 --February 10, 8 p.m.
      Marisa Tomei travels to Italy to discover the truth behind the rumor about her great-grandfather’s murder.
      More celebrity research to come in the following weeks.
      Notes from the January 15, 2012 Meeting
      President Victoria Fisch welcomed members and guests, and shared information about speakers for upcoming meetings, all Sundays:
      February 15:  Steve Morse, "Getting Ready for the 1940 Census"
      March 18: Ingeborg Carpenter, "Superstitions and Other Irrational Beliefs that Guided our German Ancestors' Lives"
      April 15: Lynn Brown, "USCIS and How to Order Citizenship Records Online."
      At some future date, Victoria said that Marcy Goldstein, the new head of the National Archives in San Bruno, will be one of speakers.
      The Sacramento Central Library continues to offer genealogy classes through the end of May -- call (916) 264-2920 or visit www.saclibrary.org.
      Treasurer Bob Wascou reminded members that dues for 2012 are now due -- $25 made out to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento.
      January Speaker -- Lorenzo Cuesta
      Lorenzo Cuesta gave a presentation on Genealogy with Facebook.
      He noted that with increased focus on the Internet, there is less and less interaction with humans.  "We no longer deal with the people we need to talk to and all those relatives out there you haven't met.  If you put out some sort of want-ad on the Internet, I assure you you'll find answers for which you didn't have questions."
      Social networking options include blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and more.  There are both personal and professional options, as well as other sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, RSS.
      Lorenzo said he looked for people with a particular surname; most said what city they were from.  "I sent out a few feelers -- is your family from a certain area?"
      So for no cost, on Facebook, he was able to link up with a few people.
      Concerns expressed about Facebook usually fall in two categories:
      1) Resistance due to privacy concerns
      2) Identity theft.  If you find ads offensive, you can click on them and declare them offensive and they're gone.  It's actually better than e-mail.
      Facebook -- anyone with a private e-mail can use.
      Social Networking Opportunities:
      Blog -- you can post whenever you like want, using free software such as blogspot
      "Blogs are subtle, take more work, can be professional or personal," Lorenzo said.
      YouTube -- video clips
      People looking for your surname, could find a clip," Lorenzo said.
       Flicker (Photos -- if you put your last name or town on them, may be able to make a connection.)
      Biggest of the social networking opportunities is Facebook.
      "I recommend you create a group for your personal genealogy," Lorenzo said.  He then showed how to create such a group.
      "I'm using Facebook to find people -- I know that other people I'm looking for are using it.  I didn't  want to do a blog or a website -- I'm trying to convince you to give Facebook a try."
      You can post 420 characters (as opposed to 140 on Twitter), can share links, can add a photo, map which attracts greater attention.
      Genealogy with Twitter --
      Lorenzo said he has ancestors from a  particulart town in Mexico in the middle of nowhere -- I've found a lot of people from that town through Twitter.  Lorenzo said he's also looked for several unusual names.
      Teven Laxer asked whether you can search for names using Soundex.  Lorenzo said no, but you can spell something and it will approximate and throw in different versions of a name. "You can get close misspellings -- in searching for Cuesta, I get spellings that start with a Q," he said.
      Mort Rumberg noted that the "dark side" is that people contact you that you don't want to contact you, but you can't remove them.
      Tweets -- Twitter messages -- are either public or private, Lorenzo said.
      He uses #Name of hometown.  It's like a search, can promote your blog, website, Facebook account.  "So many people are using it for the wrong thing," he said.
      Lorenzo noted that on Twitter, you can "follow" someone and be followed.
      # birth records -- if anything shows up, you'll get those tweets.
      RT -- to retweet --"that's how something goes viral."
      "Twitter is like having a walkie-talkie that you write on," Lorenzo said.  "It can be as useful as you make it."
      Lorenzo said he had one entirely in Spanish, to attract genealogists who spoke Spanish.
      Other social networking tools Lorenzo mentioned: YouTube, LinkedIn, Flicker, Wikipedia, Google or Yahoo Groups, RSS.  "My Space, forget about it," he said. "It's garbage."
      "We have to try something different," he concluded. "Facebook is very productive -- it's up to you to search and be found."
      Lorenzo's blog can be viewed at http://cuestablog.com/blog/.

      The Sutro Library Is Moving

      The California State Library has announced that the Sutro Library will be moving to a new location in spring of 2012.  It will close in its current location as of March 12, and open in May at 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco 94132 --  the 5th and 6th Floors of the newly renovated J. Paul Leonard Library on the San Francisco State University campus.

      University parking and free shuttle service will be available at the new location.
      Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon Learn They're Related
      January 14, 2012 05:30 AM EST
      Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, who are husband and wife, have discovered a disturbing secret; they are actually distant cousins. A new television special, Finding Your Roots with top genealogist Henry Louis Gates, Jr., determined the relation and apparently the couple was not too pleased
      "It turns out they share two things—they both are descendants from people who owned slaves, and they are indeed distant cousins," Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said.
      The show's top genealogist reveals, "We don't have any prior agreements with anyone (over what could be disclosed), and we just did the stories. We have a team of genealogists.
      We have different genealogists for different people—some are more expert on African-Americans, some on Jewish people, some on Ashkenazi-Jewish people, some on Asian people. But whatever we find, we try to boil it down to three or four narrative arcs." In some cases, genealogy can take years to find answers. Other cases lead only to dead ends.  
      Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Set for June
      Registration is open for the 43rd Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 8 to 10, 2011, at the LA Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel in Burbank, California.
      The theme for the 2012 Jamboree is "Lights, Camera, ANCESTORS - Spotlight on Family History." 
      Jamboree will feature nearly 60 speakers and over 100 courses over the weekend. Only the most skilled and knowledgeable lecturers are invited to share their expertise and knowledge.
      The exhibit hall, home of nearly 70 companies, societies, online data providers, software and technology companies, will be open to the public throughout the weekend.
      As is their tradition, several free sessions will be offered  Friday morning. JamboFREE offers something for everyone: librarians, genealogical society leaders, beginners who are testing the family history waters, and experienced genealogists.
      One of the more popular JamboFREE activities is Kids' Family History Camp, designed for youth ages 8 to 16. Kids' Camp will be held Thursday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on June 8. Scout leaders are invited to bring their troop members to earn their Genealogy badge.
      Visit the Jamboree website at www.scgsgenealogy.com for full details.  Early-bird registration discounts are available through April 22.  
      Trips to find your roots
      By Karlie Pouliot   Published January 22, 2012
      Do you know where your ancestors came from? Maybe you have a few facts here and there that your parents or grandparents told you about –or maybe you’ve logged onto a website like Ancestry.com to do your own research.
      If this sounds like something you want to put on your bucket list – no problem – sites like the Aer Lingus Vacation Store have you covered.
      “From a business standpoint, we know that there are about 47 million people in North America that claim some sort-of Irish heritage,” Ciaran Barry, director of promotions at the Aer Lingus Vacation Store, told FoxNews.com. “So there are a lot of people who want to travel to places where their family may have come from.”
      In many cases, people go on vacation and just wing it when it comes to tracing down their ancestors. They think they’ll just figure it out when they get there. This might work for some people, but Barry and his colleagues had a better idea: The ‘Discover Your Roots’ Ireland vacation package.
      “There’s a genealogy butler (Helen Kelly) that works out of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, which is a five-star property right in the heart of the city, and as part of her service, she provides clients with an opportunity to sit with her for about an hour or so for a consultation, “ Barry said. “She’s actually one of the leading genealogists in Ireland.”
      Prior to traveling, Aer Lingus sends you a questionnaire to fill out, so Kelly and her colleagues can get a jump start on their research. They ask you 10 questions ranging from the “name of the Irish born ancestor” to the “occupation of the ancestor” and the “religious denomination of the ancestor.”
      And from there – the adventure begins.
      “She puts you on the path of where to go and what archives to see,” Barry said. “So you gather all of this information and then you go out for the next five nights to stay at B&B’s.”
      The ‘Discover Your Roots’ vacation package kicked off in the fall of 2011 with not only adventure in mind, but a real value for travelers. For example, if you fly out of JFK in New York City, the package starts at just over $1,000.00 and includes flights, one night at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, a one-hour consultation with the genealogy butler, vouchers for five nights at B&B’s and a car rental.
      “It’s a compelling deal from the hook of the discovery side, but it’s also compelling from a price point,” Barry added.
      If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience – and you have the time and the money to dedicate to the ultimate genealogy vacation – James Derheim, the founder of European Focus, is your guy.
      Derheim, who was a Navy photojournalist at the start of the first Gulf War, was inspired to start his tour business after he came across one of his ancestral towns in Germany.
      “I saw the sign and I literally stopped on the side of the road to call my mom from a payphone,” he told FoxNews.com. “I said, ‘Mom why does this town mean something to me? It’s just cooking in my mind.’ And she said, ‘Well, that’s where your great-grandfather got on a ship to come to America.’”
      He visited that town and took photos and gathered souvenirs which he later presented to his grandfather on his 80th birthday. The unique gift struck such a nerve, he thought, “You know I could make this a business.”
      That’s exactly what he did. In the beginning, he traveled to towns and villages all over Europe where his clients' ancestors were from and took photos, visited relatives and eventually sent the information back to them in the U.S.
      After a while, this became so popular, his photography service turned into an exclusive private tours business.
      “The hardest thing my clients have to do is get on a plane,” Derheim said. “We meet them at the airport and everything is mapped out. Clients get an itinerary in advance so they know where we are going and where we’re going to be staying. We probably put in about 100 hours of planning before we even meet the client.”
      Just to give you an idea of how extensive his research is, Derheim told us about a mother and daughter who traveled with him to Germany last September.
      “They contacted me a year in advance, giving me plenty of time to make contacts,” he said. “I went on scouting trips to this lady’s ancestral villages. There were about four or five villages that she wanted to visit. I went there myself and personally walked the streets, asked questions, found historians and people that could help us.”
      As a result, Derheim was able to help this mother and daughter make connections with distant relatives. He took them to family farms, where they walked through ancient barns, and educated them about the methods of farming their ancestors did back in the day.
      “We also got to visit one church in particular that was built in the 13th century where her ancestors were baptized,” he added. “They will have these memories for the rest of their lives.”
      Since Derheim started his business, he has traveled to more than 2,000 towns and villages for his clients, gathering information from Germany, to the Czech and Slovak Republics, to Poland, Italy, England and Ireland.
      Not only do clients get to enjoy the photos they took during the trip, a week or two after they return home, Derheim sends them a DVD of all the moments he captured during their quest to find out where they came from.
      “This tour is about an experience,” Derheim said. “It’s about meeting people and using those connections to learn even more about your family.”
      Learning more about family is a true passion of Helen Kelly’s – that genealogy butler from Ireland. I recently asked her why people are so fascinated with tracing their roots, and she said its’ all about the “innate desire to have identity and recognition.”
      “It is therefore very important for all who have been distanced in time and space from the ancestral homestead, to close that gap and reconnect with the culture and landscape that cradled their ancestors,” she said.
      As for my five-hour online journey – I discovered that my great-great grandfather (on my grandmother’s side) came from the county of Roscommon in Ireland, my great grandfather (on my grandfather’s side) was born in Sweden in 1883, and on my mom’s side, I learned that her family emigrated from Quebec to the U.S. through Vermont.
      These are all fascinating details to me, but I can only imagine how much more real and tangible it would be if I were to visit their birthplaces and see first-hand where they came from.
      From Avotaynu's E-Zine
       Index to HIAS (Boston) Case Files Online
      The American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives Branch, has at its website a list of more than 4,800 names of immigrants who arrived in Boston and were helped by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. The list represents about 30% of their total case files—the indexing is an ongoing project. Some of the cases are as recent as the 1970s; the oldest dates to 1904. Some case files may be restricted, for example, for privacy reasons. The archives is located at 99-101 Newbury St. in Boston. The list, and contact information, can ne found at http://tinyurl.com/6s2oxtj.

      Ancestry.com Adds 7 Million Pennsylvania Records to Its Collection

      Ancestry.com has partnered with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to add seven million records detailing more than 300 years of Pennsylvanians’ life history spanning from 1593–1908. Of greatest interest to Jewish genealogists will be naturalizations, 1794–1908.
      See you at our next meeting, Sunday, February 15!
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