First, two Web sites of interest:
Teven Laxer discovered this one: www.zabasearch.com
This site allows you to search without charge for people in the United States
by name and state; many names come up with a birth month and year included.
It's similar in some ways to the old anybirthday.com site. Specific street
addresses also come up. Teven himself has already found a cousin he was
looking for for five years. While occasionally there's no response in connecting to
the site, keep trying, you'll likely find most of the names you're seeking.
And another site: www.mapyourancestry.com. This is an unusual, geographic
approach to looking at a family tree. (And no political endorsement of the
Notes for August 22, 2005
President Mark Heckman called the meeting to order; Allan
Bonderoff then presented the treasurer's report. We have a balance of $1,053.59 in
Vice President Burt Hecht talked about upcoming meetings. Monday,
September 19, Daniel Khazzoom, a Baghdad native, will talk about that city's
Jewish community. In October, John Powell, a professional genealogist and
probate researcher, will talk about city directories and how they help in
research. In November, Stuart Tower, author of "The Wayfayers," a historical novel
about f 60 young Jewish men and women and their march across 1500 miles of
Europe in the early 1900s.
In December, Steve Morse will return to talk about the off year
New York censuses -- 1905, 1915, and 1925.
Mark showed off a new book purchased for our library: "French
Children of the Holocaust, A Memorial by Serge Klarsfeld." Lester Smith noted
several other new purchases: the "1890 New York City Police Census," "New York
Genealogical Research," two copies of this year's Las Vegas conference
yearbook, which include thorough summaries of the talks, "The Pictorial History of
the Jewish Community in Sacramento," and "New York State Probate Records."
Art Yates reported on the activities of the local council of
genealogical societies. He said we are one of about 40 groups in the greater
Sacramento area, about 20 of them active. The annual Family History Day will be
held on October 15 at the California State Archives, 1020 O Street, from 8:30
a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mark mentioned that there is also a presentation by Steve Morse
at the Nevada County Genealogical Society, set for Saturday, September 24.
The program for the August meeting was the report back from the
July conference in Las Vegas. Each of those attending shared some impressions.
Mark Heckman was part of the organizing committee and organized
the computer room, providing after meeting use for attendees.
The conference just about broke even, Mark said, so it was a
success. The talks went very well and there was a nice variety, ranging from Ron
Arons talking about Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel -- the Flamingo Hotel, site
of the conference was their hotel -- to a presentation on Hitler's Jewish
soldiers and from Steve Morse, five different talks.
Bob Wascou presented a brief look at some of the updated features
on the JewishGen Web site (www.JewishGen.org) which were unveiled at the
conference. He said the shtetl seeker, the gazetteer of towns in Eastern Europe
is now new and improved. He said there is an expanded scope of countries now
featured, going from 24 to 31 and including all the former Soviet republics.
There are also more towns included (from 589 to 767 now, including the Balkan
regions.) And all synonyms for towns are show together.
On the improved JewishGen site, there is also a choice of mapping
software and the ability to do a radius search for towns within 10 miles of a
particular location. There is also a synonym table of towns (for example,
Vilna, Lithuania is the same as Vilnius, etc.)
Bib said there are three new all-country databases -- Germany,
Ukraine and the U.S.,, where you can filter geographic data, surnames and first
names. For Jewish Online Burial Research, there is a new user interface with
a menu at the top of the page.
`"I urge people to click on every single link -- there's so much
here," Bob said.
On a personal note, Bob said he unexpectedly met the college
roommate of a cousin at the conference, and also received CDs full of records for
the Kishinev/Moldova translation project he heads up.
Art Yates attended a Hungarian lunch which had an excellent
speaker, and learned more about going to Hungary as a tourist. He said the most
interesting lecture he attended was by Ernie Gordon, on social security records.
Gordon was able to research a history of his parents -- where they worked,
how much they earned, what jobs they had, from social security records. Art
hopes to do the same for his wife's father.
Lester Smith said he found two lectures at the conference
particularly interesting. John Colletta was "amazing," Lester said of the author of
"They Came in Ships." He was a great speaker with a great delivery style.
Colletta talked about doing genealogy through newspaper research, going beyond
biographical data to learn more about what's happening in a geographic area at
the time your family lived there.
Colletta cited the US Newspaper Project, a list of almost every
paper, who has it, and what years. For more information, the Web site is
The other lecture Lester found particularly impressive related to
18th century census material from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. That was the
largest country in Europe at one time, and the presenter, David Hoffman, said
80 percent of the Jews in the world can trace their ancestry back to
Lithuania. The real power at that time was in magnates, who owned towns, not the
For more information, visit www.jewishfamilyhistory.org. This
was the era before Jews had surnames. There is a list of towns (kahals) for
which they data, including shtetls, inns and taverns.
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