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Genealogy Update

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento www.jgss.org March 29, 2012 Upcoming television: Who Do You Think You Are? Friday, March 30, 8 p.m., Channel 3 --
    Message 1 of 58 , Mar 29, 2012

    Jewish Genealogical Society
    of Sacramento
    March 29, 2012
    Upcoming television:
    Who  Do You Think You Are?  Friday, March 30, 8 p.m., Channel 3  -- Focus on Rita Wilson, who travels to Greece and Bulgaria.
    Finding Your Roots -- PBS series with Henry Louis Gates, Sunday, April 1, 8 p.m., KVIE -- Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada
    Upcoming meetings:
    Sunday, April 15, 10 a.m. -- Lynn Brown, U.S. Customs and Immigration Service and How to Order Citizenship Records Online
    Sunday, May 20, 10 a.m. -- Robinn Magid, California Jewish Cemeteries
    Monday, June 18, 7 p.m. -- Glenda Lloyd, City Directories
    Notes from the March 18, 2012 Meeting
    President Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and mentioned an upcoming research trip to Salt Lake City, organized by Gary Mokotoff.  This is the 20th consecutive trip, taking place this year from October 18-25.  For details, contact gary@....
    The Sutro Library is in the process of moving to its new location at San Francisco State; it should reopen sometime in May.  One of its holdings is a large collection of city directories on microfilm.
    The Sacramento Central Library continues its Sunday genealogy programs in upcoming weeks.  There is also a free "Book a Genealogist" opportunity, where a researcher can spend 45 minutes with you.  For details, call (916) 264-2920.
    Upcoming meetings:  See above.
    Victoria thanked Mort Rumberg, Bob Wascou and Burt Hecht for organizing materials and cleaning up debris in our meeting room.
    Victoria said she recently had brunch at the home of the new director of the National Archives in San Bruno, Marcy Goldstein.  Marcy noted the archives is poorly funded and many of the staff are not archivists and not as cooperative as desired.
    Teven noted that Jan Allen will be testifying next week about bills that would take away access to the Social Security Death Index, based on fears of identity theft.  Teven said he's consistently found birth information on the SSDI and said there a petition has been circulated to stop the current efforts.
    Art Yates, who will be attending the IAJGS conference in Paris, noted that the registration fees will be going up at the end of March.
    March Program --"Myths and Superstitions That Influenced Our Ancestors' Lives"
    Our speaker was Ingeborg Carpenter, who emigrated to the United States from Germany 40 years ago.  She is a regular presenter at the German Genealogical Society  and her classes have included how to read German script.
    Her March presentation focused on the non-Jewish community and the environment they lived in.  She said learning more about daily life helps make the names and numbers of our research come alive.  What did the community look like? Where did people live? How did they support themselves?
    "This helps you flesh out your family story even more," she said. "Whose traits and habits do you have?"
    Ingeborg said superstitions were part of the culture in which Germanic ancestors lived.
    Superstitions are beliefs not based on knowledge.  Most have to do with luck, prophecy and spiritual beings.
    She said the word superstition comes from the Latin meaning "standing over in amazement."  In Greek, the word means survivor.  In the Middle Ages, it meant opposition to Christianity.
    Ingeborg noted that most of the basics of life -- food, shelter, relationships, etc. -- have the most superstitions related to them.
    Food -- including fields, grains, livestock
    Water -- --wells, springs, streams
    Shelter -- house, hearth, barn

    Relationships -- cradle to grave
    The darkest time of the year -- Twelfth Night -- has many superstitions surrounding it.  Ingeborg said her mother would not clean during that period -- December 25 to January 5.   The belief was the souls of the deceased were out and about and the house and barn needed to be protected.  You do not draw water from the well.
    And the exact center of the period is New Year's Eve.
    On January 5, you smoke out evil spirits  -- herbs are burned, smoke is used to purify the house and barn; it's the best time for oracles.
    February 2nd  (our Groundhog Day) -- Lichtmas, Candlemas -- official end to Christmas season--farmers bring a new supply of candlewax to church to be blessed.  
    First of May -- on the eve of May 1st, the spirits are out to cause upsets.
    This is a special day in Germany-- women may get special powers of sight, to know their future husbands.
    There may be glimpses of elves, swan maidens, also nightmares.
    Young men collect everything not nailed down and put it in a large pile -- you have to collect it.
    The first of May is also a federal holiday and labor day in Germany.
    Water is another important element to our ancestors.  Christians are baptized with water; every day, water had to be hauled inside by somebody, usually more than once.
    It was the duty of the entire community to keep the well clear and pure, spiritually clean as well. Pentecost and St. John's Day (June 23) -- days the wells were cleaned.
    Both solstice days, the well has to be covered and locked, same with eclipses, Twelfth Night.
    Wells and springs also have oracle powers.
    Need to keep clean and full, needs sacrifices of bread, salt.
    St. John's Day (June 23)  --before calendar changes, was the summer solstice.  Longest day of the year.
    Ancient fire wheel -- symbol for sun.
    Cobalt -- house spirit like a leprechaun, protects house.
    Children -- must never walk into grain field; grain witch would get them. Also, must never spit into well, or lean into well.
    Adults -- when you build your house, put something live in the wall, like an egg.
    Never pick flowers from a grave.
    Never leave laundry hanging out at night.
    Don't sew on the Sabbath.
    If more forks than people on the table, the house will be haunted.
    From the JGS of Ventura/Conejo Valley
    More on the 1940 Census
    The 1940 census will reflect the U.S. coming out of the Great Depression, and some of the world at war. The National Archives working with Archives.com will have the photographic
    images available on April 2, 2012, the day the 1940 census is released on their new, dedicated
    website www.1940census.archives.gov. Other organizations, such as Ancestry.com will receive
    the images on April 2 and will immediately upload the images—as there are millions of
    images, it may take a few weeks to get them all up. They are expecting to have the full name
    index available by the end of the year.
    You can download a blank 1940 census form from Ancestry:  http://tinyurl.com/83qf9lx.
    1940 New York City Telephone Directories Need to be Digitized
    By Jan Meisels Allen
    The New York Public Library is digitizing all of the 1940 New York City telephone directories. They plan to have them available at the time of the 1940 US census release April 2, 2012. There will be a separate website for this, but at this time that url is not known. However, there will be a link to that website from the NYPL site when it becomes available. Go to: www.nypl.org and in the search box type in ‘1940 telephone directories’. (Be sure to first click the ‘NYPL.org’ button below the search box to insure receiving the desired results)
    For those of us with family in New York City in 1940 this will be an invaluable tool to help with location for searching the 1940 Census as it will not be name-indexed when first released..
    Also be aware that in 1940 not everyone could afford a telephone, and therefore, it is possible that the person(s) you are searching for may not be found in the telephone directories.
    The NYPL digitized telephone directory release will be a seamless tool as they're working with  Steve Morse and his one-step website.
    From Avotaynu's E-Zine, March 25
    Site Identifies Jewish Cemeteries of Lithuania
    Maceva (Hebrew for “tombstone”), a non-profit Lithuanian organization, has developed a website at http://litvak-cemetery.info that identifies 272 Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania most of which are abandoned and desecrated. The primary focus of the organization is “to collect, catalogue and publicize information about these cemetery sites throughout the country. Maceva photographically documents remaining tombstones and translates all legible gravestone inscriptions.”

    Clicking on the name of a particular cemetery will lead to a page that provides up to three links. “Link to IJCP” takes you to the International Jewish Cemetery Project of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies which provides additional information abut the cemetery. A “Link to Heritage” shows photographs of the cemetery, and “Digitalized” provides the detailed information including photographs of individual tombstones and names of persons buried there. Some of the completed projects are on JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry.

    Current projects include translation of gravestones from the Pabrade Jewish cemetery, translation of gravestones from the Dieveniskes Jewish cemetery, and sorting pictures from Utena Jewish cemetery.

    See you at our next meeting, Sunday, April 15!
  • SusanneLevitsky@...
    March 28, 2017 Upcoming Meetings: Sunday, April 16 -- Finding Unknown Relatives -- Victoria Fisch Sunday, May 21 -- Documenting Your Family Heirlooms --
    Message 58 of 58 , Mar 28
      March 28, 2017
      Upcoming Meetings:
      Sunday, April 16 -- "Finding Unknown Relatives" -- Victoria Fisch
      Sunday, May 21 -- "Documenting Your Family Heirlooms" -- Teven Laxer
      Sunday, June 11 -- "Gathering Personal Narratives" -- Mary Ellen Burns
      Of interest:
      The annual IAGJS conference is being held this year in Orlando, FL, the last week of July. Registration is now open.
      Saturday, May 6 is the annual Root Cellar Spring Seminar, with Judy Russell, the legal genealogist, as the featured speaker. The seminar runs from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and is held at the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. Cost is $35 for nonmembers and it books us fast. Go to www.rootcellar.org and click on "Spring Seminar" on the left.
      Jewish Heritage Day this year is Sunday, May 7, to be held this year at the Scottish Rite Temple. Our JGS usually has a table and is always looking for volunteers to help with staffing for a few hours.
      February and March program review:
      March 19, 2017 -- Tony Chakurian
      "Using the Autosomal DNA Website GEDMatch.com"
      Tony, a member of our JGS board, noted that there are different types of DNA tests -- featuring the Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, Autosomal DNA and X -DNA.
      Y-DNA focuses on the Y chromosome and follows the paternal lines, only passed on from father to son. Only males can be tested.  It stays the same for multiple generations and can be used to trace a surname.
      Mitochondrial DNA -- This follows the maternal line, passed on from mother to daughter but also to sons. But won't be passed along by sons.  Tony noted you can go back thousands of years with this.
      Autosomal DNA -- Being tested the most by Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and 23 and Me. It tests the DNA first 22 chromosomes. The DNA is shared from each parent. Siblings have different combinations of their parents' DNA.  (Usually test multiple family members, different matches.)
      You can only go back 5-6 generations.
      X-DNA -- This involves the sex chromosome, men only get one from their mother. GEDMatch pulls it out and uses as a tool.)
      Free DNA comparison website.
      Allows comparisons from the three major companies doing DNA testing (Ancestry DNA, Family Tree DNA and 23 and Me.)
      Several free DNA analyzing tools.
      Limited to people who uploaded their data; has additional fee-based  (Tier I) DNA analyzing tools.
      Analyze your DNA
      If you have data from your parents, can put together what DNA you don't have.
      Free DNA Analyzing Tools:
      1-1 autosomal
      1- many DNA comparisons
      DNA measured in centimorgans -- if you share individual matching segments 7 cms or more, potentially related to that person ( +700 SNPs)
      The larger the number of matching segments, the more closely you're related
      Parent/child -- about 3400
      Grandparent, about 1700
      3rd cousin -- about 53.13
      4th cousin, about 13.28
      These are rules of thumb, not exact numbers

      X-DNA -- Family Tree DNA uses one centimorgan as a match.
      Admixture (Heritage) -- different from the other three DNA companies. A lot of different models, not just ethnicity. Look at geography, regions, archeological info, etc.
      Phasing -- you can put in father or mother's DNA
                  pull out to create father's DNA if you have mother.

      Fee-based tests -- $10/month for all, or you can pay for one month only    
      -- matching segment search
      -- triangulation
      -- Lazarus
      similar to phasing, but involves deceased ancestor, 2nd great-grandfather for example
      can enter cousins' kits, can put those matches into a profile if are related to that ancestor
      can put in kits from three different companies
      If parents aren't tested, get them tested.
      February 26, 2017 -- Jeremy Frankel

      "Some Challenges When Searching for Jewish Ancestors in England"
      Jeremy Frankel has been president of the Bay Area JGS for the past 16 years and has been doing research, internationally and in the U.S., for more than 30 years.
      In his presentation, he focused on England and Wales. He said a number of people came to the UK who didn't go to other countries, although the vast majority did leave.
      In 1882, there were about 46,000 Jewish people in the UK. "Jewish people were never more than 1 percent," Jeremy said. In 2011, there were 269,568.  In the United States today, there are about 2 percent of the population.
      Vital records --
      Civil registration was taken over from the church in 1837 -- births, marriages and deaths were registered; after six weeks you would have to pay to do so. Jeremy noted that within 10 to 20 years, there was a high compliance rate.
      Every quarter, the registrations would be sent to London.  Even today, he said you can order anything from 1837 to now --"none of this privacy business we have here."
      In the last few months, records have included the mother's maiden name, "an absolute godsend," since you don't have to guess which record in yours.
      Death index -- includes the age of death
      Free BMD
                  -- presentation style better than Ancestry Find My Past
                  -- can put in "all types"
                  -- get BMD all in one
                  -- can use asterisks
      Jews -- if get married in a synagogue, don't have to registry civilly at the registry office
       32 columns of information in 1980 (1911, for UK, Wales, 16 columns)
       1921 census -- to be released in 2022.  Taken on June 19th, 1921, so people may be listed at the seaside, on holiday.
      1931 -- 26th of April   (census destroyed in WW II, so for 30 years, nada from 1921-1951)
      1941 -- WW II, no census
      19521 -- April 8
      1961 --25th April
      Except -- 1939-- people registered, not a census, very basic, but exact dates of birth so could issue national identity cards.  Continues to be used by British National Health Service
      "Find my Past" redacted entries for people thought to be alive
      Sources for Searching Online
      General Register Office -- https://www.gro.gov.uk
      British Jewry -- website with databases, free but register first.
      Free BMD -- England, Wales 1837-1984
                  Finding My Past has the whole thing up to 2007
      JCR -- UK -- on JewishGen, free
                  cemeteries, marriages -- plug name in and everything comes up
      JGS Greater Britain -- members only
      Cemetery Scribes
      Synagogue Scribes
      Britain from Above -- aerial/oblique views of UK back to the 1920s.
      Google Earth/Street View --modern look at locations
                  British Newspaper Archive (fee for service) -- 1700s to 1950s
      "Challenging" finding evidence of your family member in the paper unless arrested, married
      Jewish Chronicle -- from 1841 -- oldest Jewish language English paper in the world
                  My Heritage put online 1841-1999, now free
                  Search engine "awful."
      London Gazette (also Edinburgh, Belfast) -- free, official paper of record: bankruptcies, name changes, naturalizations
      Social Media
      Facebook sites included "Tracing the Tribe, Jewish London Genealogy and Family Research (also maintains spreadsheet for headstone image requests), Jewish East End of London (memories and reminiscenses, photos), Stepney and Wapping (memories).
      Ordering Certificates -- suggestion, before you order, look at Google certificates to see what they contain.
      A book that may be of interest:
      From Postcard America by Jeffrey L. Meikle.
      Always popular, the so-called "bird's-eye view" map of U.S. cities and towns became a mania in the wake of railroad development and more widespread travel. Between 1825 and 1875, thousands of panoramic maps were produced. Every town had to have one to remain competitive in attracting industry and immigrants, and they often exaggerated the favorable characteristics of the town -- sometimes to the point of fraud. A comprehensive collection of these prints is maintained by the Library of Congress, with some reprinted and sold to this day:
       "Unlike European cities or those of the East Coast, which had developed over centuries and seemed to possess an organic integrity, American cities of the Midwest and West began as haphazard affairs hastily thrown up, expanding in a process of creative destruction, with even relatively permanent structures like city halls, courthouses, and churches lasting no more than a decade or so before being replaced by new construction. Chicago, for example, developed in sixty years from a frontier outpost into a sprawling city, the center of mid­western trade and manufacturing, whose leaders had envisioned its utopian fu­ture in the white neoclassical structures of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. 
      Bird's-eye view of Chicago as it was before the great fire. 1871
      "Nineteenth-century boosters of other new settlements did not hesi­tate to misrepresent them as bustling metropolises, hives of industry where any ambitious migrant could grasp material fortune. From the 1820s to the end of the nineteenth century, printers produced so-called bird's-eye views of virtually every American city, town, and hamlet, some 2,400 places altogether. A typical bird's-eye view, usually in color after about 1850, was a lithograph based on a meticulous imaginary drawing encompassing an entire locality rendered in per­spective from an impossibly high point of view.
      Such a print showed local geographical features in detail, such as streets in the standard grid pattern and individually recognizable buildings, all conveyed in an illusion of three­-dimensionality with the precision of a mapmaker. Although bird's-eye views did not follow picturesque landscape conventions, they typically embedded a city or town in a pristine natural realm defined by ocean, lake, river, or mountains.
      San Francisco. Bird's-eye view drawn lithographed by C.B. Gifford. 1864
      "As happened with natural landscapes, the introduction of photography sub­stantially transformed and popularized urban views. From the very beginning photography was used to encompass a city as a whole, to unite its diverse array of often conflicting bits and pieces. ... Around 1850 daguerreotypists began imitating the effects of bird's-eye city views by aiming their cameras from upper-story windows, looking over rooftops or down a street.
      Other daguerreo­typists recorded panoramas of such cities as Cincinnati and San Francisco by exposing multiple plates, one after the other, arranged to yield a continuous picture that could reach six feet in length. These multi-plate panoramas, which were intended to promote a sense of unity, even grandeur, also inadvertently revealed the ramshackle quality of much urban construction. While an artist could idealize a city by altering details in a bird's-eye lithograph, a daguerreotypist had no choice but to record what was in front of the camera. Because a panorama presented an extended horizontal continuum without a break, it of­ten revealed less than perfect details. However, framing devices at each end -- a harbor, a ring of background hills, thick vegetation -- could circumscribe a city, no matter how provisional or chaotic, within a picturesque framework."
      Bird's-eye view of Los Angeles, California.
                             See you at our April 18 meeting (Easter Sunday).
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