See you Sunday morning
- Steve Morse will present information on the 1940 Census -- Searching Without a Name Index -- at our Sunday, Feb. 19 program at 10 a.m. at the Albert Einstein Residence Center.Apparently a hiatus tonight for "Who Do You Think You Are?" on NBC; it will return next Friday.
- Meeting set for this Sunday the 17th, 10 a.m. to noon -- Steve Morse will be giving an overview/update of his One-Step web pages (www.stevemorse.org) and also a case study of Renee Kauffman using some of those pages. Join us at 10 a.m. at the Einstein Center in Sacramento for his presentation.Dues due -- And this would be a great time to bring in your $25 check to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento for your 2014 membership dues. The dues support our ongoing efforts, speaker honorariums, book purchases and other costs during the year.And we now offer a lifetime membership -- $300, and no more pesky requests for annual dues.Einstein Holiday Faire -- After Sunday's meeting, stop by the Holiday Faire hosted by Einstein residents from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the dining room. The faire will offer antiques, collectibles, jewelry, art, stamps, dolls, music boxes, chocolate, cookies, and more!From Avotaynu's recent E-Zine by Gary Mokotoff:FindAGrave Now Has Holocaust Victims
In what I consider a strange decision, FindAGrave.com now includes Jews murdered in the Holocaust who have no gravesite. According to Barbara Algaze, FindAGrave now includes lists of Jews from the Shoah Memorial in Ile-de-France; Jews of Germany murdered in the Holocaust (source “Berlin Center”); Dachau, Theresienstadt and some Auschwitz internments. Algaze cites the source as the International Wargraves Photograpic Project, but a check of Mokotow Holocaust victims in the FindAGrave database includes persons not in the Wargraves Project database.
FindMyPast Has Free Access to 1940 Census and Vital Records Until January 31
FindMyPast.com is providing free access to the 1940 U.S. census and their new U.S. vital records collection until January 31, 2014. The vital records collection includes:
• Births and christenings in California, Indiana and Utah
• Marriages in Alabama, California, Indiana, Iowa and Virginia
• Deaths in Alabama and North Carolina
British Newspaper Archive Passes the 7 Million Page Mark
The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) located at http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk has now digitized more than 7 million pages. Launched in November 2011, it hopes to transcribe 40 million pages by 2021. Newspapers date back the early 18th century.
Access to the index is at no charge. Purchasing a subscription is needed to retrieve the actual pages. British Newspaper Archive is a partnership project between the British Library and the parent company of FindMyPast.com.
Contribute to the JewishGen Memorial Plaque Project
The next update to JewishGen's Memorial Plaque Project (http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Memorial/) will be at year-end and will include all submissions made through November 30.
This is a database primarily of plaques placed on a memorial board on synagogue walls. Also known as “yahrzeit plaques,” they exist to memorialize relatives, usually parents or siblings. On the anniversary of the person’s death (yahrzeit), the plaque is illuminated by a small light on each side. The name is read to the congregation at the Sabbath service before the yahrzeit (reckoned by the Hebrew calendar). These plaques are of genealogical value because they usually include the name of the deceased, date of death reckoned by both the secular and Jewish calendars and the person’s religious name, which includes the name of the person’s father (example: Chaim ben [son of] Meir.)
The Memorial Plaque Project database currently contains nearly 30,000 records from 46 synagogues/organizations in 3 countries. If you'd like to volunteer to transcribe the memorial plaques of your local synagogue, see "Submitting Data to the JewishGen Memorial Plaque Database" at
Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies
The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies is a group of 4,500 survivor testimonies that got its start before the better-known Stephen Spielberg Shoah Foundation project. The interviews are located at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
To find testimonies, search the Orbis Yale University Library database by including the words “Holocaust Survivors Film Project” in quotes as part of the search argument. This will limit results to this project. It is not possible to search by a person’s name. Unfortunately the surnames of the survivors giving testimony have been replaced by the first letter of the surname. An example is the testimony of “Dori K.” On rare occasions the surname is revealed, for example, the survivor wrote a book. “Dori K” is revealed as Dori Katz because her name is part of the citation for a book she wrote about her experiences during the Holocaust. Instead of searching by name, search by town name. The results will list all persons identified as being from that town. Perhaps it then will be possible to identify a person by given name and first letter of last name.
Search the Orbis database at http://orbis.library.yale.edu. Information about the project is located at https://www.library.yale.edu/testimonies/
- Join us for Heidi Lyss' presentation, "Writing Family History."February 16, 2014, 10 a.m. Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento
- Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento"Anybody Home? Using Directories in Your Research" -- Janice SellersSunday, Sept. 21 , 10 a.m. , Einstein Center, 1935 Wright St., Sacramento.Bay Area genealogist Janice Sellers will talk about the value of old directories. Directories were not only for cities. Many counties and rural areas had directories; there are also professional directories, social directories and more. Janice will talk about what they contain and how they can be used to flesh out your family's lives.
Janice Sellers is a professional genealogist specializing in Jewish, forensic, and newspaper research. She edits three genealogy journals and serves on the boards of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California, and the California State Genealogical Alliance.Dues Due: If you've not yet paid your 2014 dues, please bring a check for $25 to the meeting.From the Sept. 7 Avotaynu E-Zine by Gary Mokotoff:Ellis Island Website Has New Look
EllisIsland.org has redesigned its website...for the worse. It is prettier than the previous design but significantly less usable. It is located at http://libertyellisfoundation.org. The first crisis you will encounter at the site is that you will have to log in all over again, even if trying to get the results from a search using the Morse site. This is because the URL for the site has changed from ellisisland.org to libertyellisfoundation.org so internal password saver systems will not recognize the new address. I was unable to login and, in frustration, just reregistered.
The old site presented perhaps 20 results at a time. The new site presents nine results in a single view in a very attractive manner. The fact is when searching for information, prettiness doesn’t count; easy access does. There are six options to narrow a search: Contains, Exact Matches, Close Matches, Sounds Like, Alternate Spelling, Last Name First. The Sounds Like option appears to use the conventional American soundex system; Petersen produces “Peters” as a result demonstrating their Sounds Like system evaluates only the first four consonants.
The bottom line is that you should continue to use the Gold Form at the Stephen P. Morse site, http://stevemorse.org/ellis2/ellisgold.html. It is so powerful that I've had success by providing merely the first letter of a person’s name knowing such factors as age at time of arrival (or approximate year of birth), single/married, year of arrival ± one year. Unfortunately, to look at the ship’s manifest, the Morse site links to libertyellisfoundation.org and the new image viewer is distinctly inferior.The previous version showed a portion of the page with up/down and left/right sliders allowing you to view other portions. In the new system, gliding the mouse over the image provides a readable version of the document, but not all portions. An up/down slider must also be used. If the ship’s manifest is post-1907, it's a two-page document. For $49.99, the Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island Foundation will make copies of the two pages. For $19.99, you can get a one-month subscription to Ancestry.com and print the manifest pages from their version.
Sites with a Potpourri of Information
There are a few Jewish-oriented genealogy sites that should be visited periodically, because they do not focus on a particular geographic area but instead provided a potpourri of information.
One such site is Marilyn Robinson’s blog http://yourJewishGem.blogspot.com. Recent additions to the blog include 1917–1918 Jews of Kiev: Those Who Died in Riots & Wars; Kamenetz Podolsk Gymnasium: Students Who Attended the JI Vladimir University Tarnow School Report; and 1736–2003 Saverne, Alsace (France) School Directors, Rabbis, etc. To the extreme right of the home page there is a search engine that allows searching by surname, town name, etc. Receive notice of recent additions by adding your e-mail address to the “Follow by E-Mail” box.
Logan Kleinwaks regularly adds directories and other books to his Genealogy Indexer site at http://genealogyindexer.org. Kleinwaks has optically scanned these books providing full-word indexing. Recent additions include 1932/1933 Lwow XII Gymnasium Report; 1911 Hungary Pharmacy Calendar; and Krakow District and Zaglembia Telephone Directory . You can subscribe to his weekly updates at http://genealogyindexer.org/news.
Canadian WWI Militia Lists Online
Canadiana is an organization that works to preserve Canada's documentary history and make it accessible online at http://canadiana.org. It has recently added militia lists of each unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as of August 1914 (the beginning of World War I). Each record lists the name of each member of the unit, rank, country of birth and date and place of enlistment. Some records also list next of kin and address. Readers with Canadian heritage should browse their substantial collection of digitized documents from Canada’s early history to the 1940s.
China Creates Memorial to “Shanghai Jews”
During the 1930s and 1940 many Jews, mostly from Germany and Austria, fled to Shanghai, China, to escape persecution by the Nazi government. Now, a wall of names of Jewish refugees in Shanghai has been erected in the city. It identifies by name 13,732 Jews and stands on the site of a synagogue-turned-museum in the neighborhood where many Europeans lived. The wall includes a relief of six people meant to represent the estimated six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. A Wall Street Journal article about the wall is at http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/09/04/ shanghai-wall-pays-tribute-to-jewish-refugees-of-wwii.Jack the Ripper, famous serial killer, finally identifiedSep 8th 2014 8:37AM ›
By Christopher Rogers Hollywood Life
126 years after a string of terrible murders, a DNA breakthrough has allegedly identified Britain's most notorious criminal.
A forensic scientist claims to have finally identified Jack the Ripper. DNA testing allegedly shows who is responsible for a string of horrific murders that took place in 1888, the Mail reported on Sunday.According to this DNA testing, Aaron Kosminski, a Polish Jew who fled to London in the 1880s, was Jack the Ripper.Russell Edwards, 48, the author of Naming Jack The Ripper (out Sept. 9), made the discovery after he bought a shawl, found near the body of the Ripper's fourth victim Catherine Eddowes, at an auction house in Bury St. Edmunds in 2007."There was no evidence for its provenance, although after the auction I obtained a letter from its previous owner who claimed his ancestor had been a police officer present at the murder scene and had taken it from there," Russell said.Apparently, Russell handed the shawl over to Dr. Jari Louhelainen, a world-renowned expert in analyzing genetic evidence from historical crime scenes.Russell said that Dr. Louhelainen proved the shawl was genuine by tracing a descendent of Catherine's, who agreed to provide a DNA sample. They then compared that sample with one of a British descendant of Aaron's sister, who wishes to not be identified. According to Russell, the DNA samples were a match."Kosminski was not a member of the Royal Family, or an eminent surgeon or politician. Serial killers rarely are. Instead, he was a pathetic creature, a lunatic who achieved sexual satisfaction from slashing women to death in the most brutal manner. He died in Leavesden Asylum from gangrene at the age of 53," Russell said.The evidence has not yet been independently verified.Jack The Ripper is responsible for at least five murders in Whitechapel in East London during the fall of 1888.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Drabble, 9/15/14~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you Sunday morning!
- Sunday, October 19, 10 a.m.Einstein Residence Center"Secrets and Revelations From My Mother's Past"Mani Feniger is a Bay Area author, teacher and clinical hypnotherapist. Her parents shared almost nothing about their former lives in Germany. But when the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 exposed secrets and revelations from her mother's past, Mani was drawn into a 20-year exploration of history and family that would change her life forever.
Soon after the reunification of Germany, Mani saw her grandparents' names for the first time on an inheritance document. Then the discovery of a startling photograph of her mother taken in 1932 set in motion a search for documents, photographs and people to piece together the story of her family's past. By the time she finished, Mani knew more about the prior generations of relatives and finally found the roots that were missing her whole life.Mani's resulting book, "The Woman in the Photograph," won the "Best Memoir" award in 2013 and reads like a detective story.Come Sunday morning to hear Mani tell us this fascinating story.
- Jewish Genealogical Society of SacramentoSunday, February 8, 2015, 10 a.m."What's in a Name" -- Victoria FischFinding our ancestors in the 21st century is a process of exploring online databases. Poor transcription of names to create indexes is the most frequent cause of our inability to discover valuable records. Victoria Fisch will explain the reasons for these errors and methods of circumventing the obstacles.Join us this Sunday morning as Victoria, a professional genealogist and current JGSS president, discusses this topic.From the February 1 Avotaynu E-Zine by Gary Mokotoff:Portugal Says “Me Too”
Portugal is mimicking Spain by approving a new law giving dual citizenship to the descendants of the Jews expelled or forcibly converted to Christianity during the Spanish/Portuguese Inquisition period five centuries ago. The Portuguese Parliament approved the measure in 2013 but it took until this month to make it law.It provides dual citizenship to the descendants of those who were murdered, fled the country, or behaved as crypto-Jews -- outwardly practicing Catholicism but secretly keeping their Jewish faith. The Portuguese rights will apply to those who can demonstrate “a traditional connection” to Portuguese Sephardic Jews, such as through family names, family language, and direct or collateral ancestry.(We'll have more on this topic at our March 15 Sacramento program.)Map of the World Shows Scope of Google Street Views
Those readers who have used the Google Map feature at http://maps.google.com notice that, in many cases, the information provided includes a street view of the address sought. Google has gone around the world to photograph the streets of many countries. When a street view is available, you can travel up and down the street and even turn corners if the new street was also photographed. I have used the feature to “visit” some of my ancestral towns. Now Google has published a map of the world showing the areas where this Street View feature exists: https://support.google.com/maps/answer/68384?hl=en.Making Inquiries to Argentina
Some say that every Jew has a relative in Israel. This may also be true of Argentina. The Argentine Association for Jewish Genealogy (AGJA) states they have a database of more than 230,000 Jews that live or lived at Argentina. It also includes some data for deceased people in other South American countries. Unfortunately, the database is not online.
Rolando Gail, AGJA secretary, has stated that volunteers in his organization are willing to search this database at no charge. Send an e-mail to info@..., preferably in Spanish. Inquiries should be brief, requesting a lookup of a surname or name. The society’s website is at http://www.agja.org.ar.
Canadians Want Long-Form Census Back
Jan Meisels Allen. chair of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that an act to amend the Canadian Statistics Act to reinstate the mandatory long-form census was before the House of Commons at the end of January. The bill’s language states the long-form census is to comply with the length and scope of previous censuses.
Eleven Canadian organizations are calling on the Canadian government to reinstate the mandatory long-form census. None of them are genealogy organizations. Read about the coalition at http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1478633/coalition-of- organizations-call-for-the-reinstatement-of-long-form-census.Paris Takes Pains to Reassure TouristsJAN. 27, 2015Police officers on bicycle patrol on Rue des Rosiers, in the heart of the Paris Jewish quarter, after the terror attacks. January is typically a slow month for Paris, but reservations at four- and five-star luxury hotels slumped by up to 9 percent in the days following the attacks. Credit Remy De La Mauviniere/Associated PressIndiana genealogy department faces closure under budget proposal ahead of state's bicentennial
INDIANAPOLIS — An institution that documents Indiana history could face elimination under Gov. Mike Pence's budget plan, just months before the state's bicentennial.Pence's spending plan would cut the Indiana State Library's funding by 24 percent, about $2 million, and eliminate the genealogy department that houses more than 100,000 items documenting Hoosier history.The library's online tool known as INSPIRE, which gives all Indiana citizens access to licensed databases of historical and scientific journals, also would be eliminated. Universities and county libraries that frequently use INSPIRE would have cover the database subscription cost on their own.State budget director Brian Bailey said INSPIRE was defunded because it offers services that are already available online through sites such as Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search, though Krull said access will be limited compared to INSPIRE. Bailey also said the genealogy department's service is the same as offered on ancestry.com.Jeff Krull, a member of the governor-appointed Indiana Library and Historical Board, said the library's funding has been whittled down each year for the past decade, "but this was a big whack that came out of left field."Meanwhile, about $55 million has been allotted for the state's bicentennial celebration.
- By LAURYN SCHROEDER Associated Press First Posted: January 30, 2015
- For those of you without Mother's Day brunch plans, join us at the Einstein Center for a look at genetic genealogy.Sunday, May 10, 2015, 10 a.m."Using Genetic Genealogy to Break Through Brick Walls in Your Family Tree"Jonathan W. Long will discuss advances in genetic genealogy and how they are revolutionizing family history research by providing new tools to resolve ancestry. Long will present strategies that combine traditional genealogy with results from autosomal and other kinds of DNA (X and Y chromosomes and mitochondrial), to break through proverbial brick walls.His talk will discuss methods and tools to analyze autosomal and X DNA results and how to identify unknown ancestors by developing networks of cousins. The presentation will also review pro, cons and privacy considerations of the most popular genetic genealogy testing companies.A Davis resident, Long is a scientist with the U.S. Forest Service and amateur genealogist for more than 25 years. Over the past 11 years, he's used genetic genealogy to extend branches of his family tree deep into the American colonies and reunite "lost" cousins.New Site: GenealogyGophers.com -- Passed on from Avotaynu's E-Zine
There is yet another site of genealogy databases. This one is called Genealogy Gophers and is located at https://www.gengophers.com. It claims to have digitized and indexed 40,000 books and uses a sophisticated search engine (see http://gengophersblog.com). The site is worth at least a one-time visit.
Note from Susanne -- I found some new California listings from the late 1800s re various family members, things/publications I'd never seen before.
- "The Magners -- A Journey in Rediscovering Lost Family Heritages"Tony Chakurian, one of our members, will discuss how he used traditional genealogy and DNA testing to discover and trace back the previously unknown Jewish, Chilean and Native American heritages of his Magner family line.The meeting is at 10 a.m. at the Einstein Center.