- Jewish Genealogical Societyof SacramentoJune 9, 2012Genealogy Update June 2012Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and outlined the speakers for the coming four months. The meetings for the next four months will be held on Monday evenings at 7 p.m.Monday, June 18, 7 p.m. -- Glenda Lloyd, "City Directories -- A Problem-Solving Approach."Monday, July 16, 7 p.m. -- Tamara Noe on "Names and How to Search for Them."Monday, August 20, 7 p.m. -- Ron Arons, "Searching for Living People."Monday, September 10, 7 p.m. Presentation on Angel Island --Maria SakovichVictoria noted that our table at the Jewish Heritage Festival was a tremendous success -- "all of our volunteers were busy talking to people." She said we were in an excellent location at the entrance.One of the benefits of membership in the JGS is access to our library -- those who haven't paid their dues or who receive the notes without benefit of membership, are encouraged to send in a check for $25. This covers honorariums for our speakers, books, CD and DVD purchases and other expenses. Why not help sustain us by sending a check made out to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento, c/o the Albert Einstein Center, 1935 Wright Street, # 240, Sacramento, CA 95825. We appreciate your support.Next Tuesday at 10 a.m., the A-Files (Alien Files) will be made available at the San Bruno archives. Jeremy Frankel noted that these files were created in 1944 and may include correspondence, photos and visa documents. There are more than 60 million files, and San Bruno will hold those for California, Nevada, the Phillipines, Japan and other Asian countries (and include many Jews who came in through the West Coast.) The remainder of the files are accessible through the National Archives office in Kansas City.The rate of release depends on the date of birth.May Presentation: Robbin Magid -- California Jewish CemeteriesRobinn is a member of the Bay Area JGS and a board member of JRI-Poland. She spoke to us last year about her research trip to Poland. She is working to index 88 towns in the Lublin area of Poland and can trace her grandmother's family back 12 generations.Robinn thanked Bob Wascou, Victoria Fisch and Jeremy Frankel for helping her with her cemetery resarch, which she calls " From the Gold Rush to the Roszgolds," (a name in her family).In doing her cemetery research, she checked all of California's 58 counties.She has during the Gold Rush era, you could walk up to any of the miners and they thought having a place to bury people was a good idea. There was money donated for cemeteries and land -- she says no anti-semitism was present until the 1890s.Robinn says there are some 86 cemeteries in 33 of the 58 counties.Solomon Nunes Carvalho, a Sephardic Jew, accompanied Gen. Fremon in 1853-54 -- he found Jews were already in California. Jews had arrived in large numbers beginning in 1848. Carvalho advised Los Angeles Jews to form a Chevra Khadisha, which today would be located beneath Dodger Stadium.Robinn cited the www.findagrave.com site as one source of information.The first Jewish cemetery in California was located in Pacific Heights in 1847, bordered by Broadway, Vallejo, Gough and Franklin streets. Jewish burials from Yerba Buena cemetery were moved here. Emanuel Hart was also an early-day cemetery.Henry Johnson was the first Jewish person to be buried -- he apparently died eating poision mushrooms.When burials were full at the Emanuel Hart cemetery, it was moved to a new site near Mission Dolores in San Francisco.Burials then were moved out of the city, with the Jews the first to be kicked out, Robinn said. In 1889, there was a move to Colma "and everybody else followed."The oldest surviving tombstone is of Charles Lyon, who died in June 1851 during the "Great Fire of San Francisco."Bob Wascou found the earliest burial -- Samuel Harris Goldstein of Marysville, who died in 1850, drowning in the Sacramento River apparently loaded down with gold dust in his pockets. He is buried in the Home of Peace cemetery in Sacramento.The oldest cemetery in continuous use is Temple Israel cemetery in Stockton. The land was donated by Capt. Charles Weber.Robinn outlined the parts of a typical Jewish cemetery, including:-- consecrated ground-- a section for Cohenim-- separate sections for men and women (although not in California)-- family plots--masoleums-- columbarium section-- chidlren's section (Home of Peace has one)-- cenotaphs -- markers, where no body buried-- orthodox or Kosher sectionTypical symbols:-- star of David-- candles, menorah-- hands -- cohenim-- pitchers-- Masonic symbols, Odd Fellows-- some may be symbols of American culture, or part of mail-ordered tombstones-- literary or poetic references-- usually show torch, flame upside down on Jewish tombstones(eternal flames became popular after JFK's death)--nautical references, apparently a symbol of immigrantsRobbinn showed the grave of Emperor Joshua Norton, famous San Francisco figure. His tomb was copied by many others.Some newer trends: California cemeteries are now noting Holocaust survivors; Russians include a little of their history on tombstones.You can trace lots of California history through cemeteries, such as April 18, 1906, the date of the great earthquake and fire.Robinn said the first Jewish governor of California was Washington Montgomery Bartlett, who's buried in Oakland. He was governor in 1887, and died nine months into his term. His mother was a Sephardic Jew.The first Jewish congresswoman was Florence Kahn of San Francisco, who succeeded her husband Julius in 1924. (A well-known San Francisco playground is named after him.)Robinn said the most famous person buried in Colma is in a Jewish cemetery -- Wyatt Earp. His wife, Josephine Marcus, was Jewish.The first Jew elected an Indian chief was someone in New Mexico.The second Jewish mayor of San Francisco was Adolph Sutro; the first was Washington Bartlett, who later became a California governor.Robinn also talked about some of the Jews buried in Hollywood area cemeteries, such as Westwood Memorial Park, where Fanny Brice is enterred.There are also Jewish pets buried among California's 17 pet cemeteries, some of whom are identified by stars of David on their tombstones.Today there are approximately 86 Jewish cemeteries throughout California.From Gary Mokotoff's May 20 Avotaynu E-Zine:American Version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Not Renewed for Fourth Season
The American version of Who Do You Think You Are? has not been renewed for a fourth season. Neither Ancestry.com, the show’s sponsor, nor the NBC television network gave a reason for the cancellation. Ancestry.com indicated the company and the show’s producer were exploring other avenues of distribution.The fact that Ancestry.com wants to continue the program demonstrates that the show generated a good deal of interest from people wanting to know more about tracing their own family history.From the May 27 Avotaynu E-Zine:Yad Vashem Creates “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database”
Yad Vashem has created a new database called “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database” which maps the deportations of Jews to concentration and extermination camps and killing sites in Europe. Yad Vashem notes that while in the past, historians have seen the deportations simply as a necessary logistical step on the way to the “Final Solution,” the research undertaken in the “Transports to Extinction” project indicates that the deportations were not simply an intermediary stage between transit camps and ghettos and finally extermination camps, but had an overall plan, unique in its design, its implementation and its historical significance.
Thus far, the project has mapped some 400 transports from Vienna to various destinations, among them, Minsk, Riga, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, and from Berlin, Cologne, Breslau, and several Czech cities. Yad Vashem researchers have reconstructed the transport's route, including details on those involved in organizing the transport, the socio-economic characteristics of the Jewish deportees, and recollection of survivors. The findings are available, in English, German and Hebrew at http://db.yadvashem.org/deportation/page.html?language=en.
In association with the project, Yad Vashem has announced an agreement with the National Society of French Railways (SNCF) to increase research into the scope of deportations of Jews from France during the Holocaust. The SNCF's contribution will support research into the French section of the “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database.” This portion of the database will be available in French.
SNCF's contribution will assist researchers in more fully documenting the some 80 transports of Jews from France. Approximately 76,000 French Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The research will build on the work done by Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. Their book, Memorial of the Deportation of Jews from France, identifies the Jews by name on the 80 transports from France. Survivors' testimonies, private documents and photographs will shed light on the deportees’ experience. The research will also map transports within France, from small towns and villages to Drancy.
Follow-up on German Address Books OnlineThe January 8, 2012, edition of Nu? What’s New? noted a large number of German address books online at http://wiki-de.genealogy.net. It appears a superior site by the same group is located at http://www.adressbuecher.net. If nothing else, the latter site is in English; the former is in German. Because many of the books are pre-World War I, the area covered is the German Empire including towns that today are in Poland. Example: Breslau which today is Wroclaw, Poland. The site contains more than 3 million entries from 373 address books for 6,872 towns and cities.
Belarus SIG Plans NewsletterThe Belarus Special Interest Group of JewishGen plans to publish a quarterly newsletter in PDF format. The first edition should appear about June 18. If you have any family history, links, questions or stories from Belarus that you would like to share, send it to belarusnews@.... To receive the newsletter, subscribe to the Belarus Discussion Group from the link at http://www.jewishgen.org/Belarus/.
Finding Living People in the U.S.
This week I was able to help a New Zealand woman locate a Holocaust survivor family living in the United States. The project came at an appropriate time, because I would not have been able to find the family but for the 1940 census. I also would not have been able to find the family but for the online Social Security Death Index to which the U.S. Congress wants to ban public access.
Name changes, estate executors can be found in probate noticesBy Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Staff Bangor Daily NewsPosted June 03, 2012, at 9:08 p.m.Genealogists wouldn’t think of overlooking the classified pages in their daily newspaper, especially on the weekend. Newspapers such as the Bangor Daily News run probate notices on Saturdays, an edition which not only sells a lot of copies but is thoroughly read.The two major categories of items found in probate notices are name changes and appointments of personal representatives for estates of people who have died recently.Some name changes appear to be requests by people seeking to add a name or drop a name, an action which could be related to a marriage or a divorce or neither of those.Sometimes a person wants a new middle name, or perhaps a first name or surname that is more Americanized — or more connected to ethnic roots.Adults may ask to change a child’s name to fit in with the rest of the family, even if the child has not been adopted. Perhaps they are raising the child as their own. Or it may be that a whole family, adults and children alike, are looking to change their last name for a variety of reasons.Women may decide that not only do they not want to use a husband’s or ex-husband’s last name, but they would rather not use their father’s name either. I’ve seen women take their mom’s maiden name as their own or convert their original middle name to a last name.I also knew someone who decided to change both her first and last names as a way to choose her own identity.Occasionally I have seen a request for name changes where the petitioner appeared to be replacing a man’s name with a woman’s name, or a woman’s name with a man’s name. On the one hand, we cannot assume that the choice of a first name indicates whether a person is transgender.But on the other hand, we know that some people who are raised as one gender may choose to change that gender through legal and medical means.When Penobscot County Probate Register Susan Almy spoke to the Maine Genealogical Society last fall in Bangor, I asked her whether a person’s change in gender would be reflected on a probate record that granted a name change. She said it would not because it was not the Probate Court’s function to determine that.Rather, a person who had their gender changed through medical means would seek a new birth certificate after providing documentation to the state.The other part of probate notices pertains to appointment of personal representatives to estates, informally known as executors. If you read the obituaries every day, you may wonder why you should read probate notices also.These listings sometimes remind me that I meant to clip and save an obituary. Then I visit the BDN site at bangordailynews.com, put the cursor on Obituaries, then click on Archive/In Memoriam to search for an obituary published in the past few years. I print it off and save it in my records or a scrapbook.Here’s another reason to peruse the probate notices. Not everybody has a funeral these days, and not everyone has an obituary. If we read these items regularly, we’re sure to come upon notices for people we may not realize have died. Sometimes we can find an obituary by visiting the website of a funeral home in the town where the person lived or died.Frequently, the personal representative is a relative of the deceased. The address published in the notice may allow us to contact the family, particularly since fewer and fewer people these days have phone numbers and addresses listed in phone books.Recent probate notices were published May 26 and June 2 in the BDN.Lastly, if you are going to be a personal representative for someone, relative or otherwise, do make sure that the person’s will is up to date. Doing so will save you a lot of work and will save the estate money.—Arizona Daily Star6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lessonCousin, niece, aunt - it matters not: 'Family is family'6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lessonDestinee Wentworth, with Christopher: "It's heartwarming to have so many people who love him. To know he has the chance to know so many generations of his family is very special."2012-06-08T00:00:00Z 2012-06-07T20:06:18Z 6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lessonStacie Spring East Valley Tribune Arizona Daily StarWith the birth of Christopher Daniel Forrest on Feb. 4, Destinee Wentworth of Mesa welcomed the sixth living generation of her family into the world."I think the record is seven," Destinee said. "Don't think we'll make it that far."The family made a point to get everyone together to take a picture as soon as possible after Destinee's first son was born. Barbra Culp, 90, lives in Tucson. Culp's daughter, Anita Ellsworth, 75, is in Pinal County. And her daughter, Barbra Spear, 56, and Spear's son, Eric Wentworth, 35, live in the Phoenix area."You always look for family characteristics," said Anita, the maternal great-great-grandmother of Christopher. "Right now he looks so much like his daddy, but that's OK."For Destinee, introducing Christopher to his extended family only reflects the love she has been given by the family's multiple generations."It's heartwarming to me to have so many people who love him," she said. "To know that he has the chance to know so many generations of his family is very special."The family has always been large, and with generations that often overlapped, many family titles such as cousin or niece or aunt often disappeared, Destinee said."For us family is just family," she said.And knowing multiple generations is nothing new to Destinee."We've had five generations on both sides before," she said. "But never six. From what I understand, it's quite rare."Growing up, she spent much of her time with her many grandmothers. That includes one memorable summer when she spent a week with her great-grandmother, Anita. Destinee insisted she have an entire dresser emptied to make room for her week's worth of clothing, Anita recalled."Destinee's always been sure of what she wants," Anita said. "She is always the family entertainer, always singing and dancing for us. I have it all on tape."While many people grow up not knowing their grandparents and never meeting their great-grandparents, Wentworth feels especially blessed."It's such a great support system," she said.It can't be ignored that Destinee is a teenage mother, something she isn't shy about addressing. Yet if she hadn't had a child so young, it's quite likely that so many generations of her family would not have met."I am not a statistic: I have never done drugs; I'm still with the father of my child; I'm a full-time student," she said.Wentworth just finished up her second semester at Mesa Community College. She is working on her associate's degree in psychology, hoping to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree that would allow her to work with special-education children, she said.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Next Meeting, Monday evening, June 18th, 7 p.m.
- Upcoming Meetings:--Sunday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m. – Glenn Kurtz, “Three Minutes in Poland – Discovery of a Lost World in a 1938 Film”--Sunday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m., Susan Miller, “Jews in a Moslem World”
JGSS minutes for meeting on August 2, 2015Mort Rumberg took the minutes for Susanne Levitsky who was not present. (Thanks, Mort!)President Victoria Fisch made several announcements concerning scheduling and various genealogical events. She noted that the JGSS will participate in the annual Food Faire on August 30. Volunteers are welcome.Mort provided a quick tour of his eight days in Israel for the 35th annual International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. He has a data stick with about two-dozen speaker handouts. The conference program was passed around and if people would like a copy of a conference presentation’s handout, email Mort and he will forward it (his email address is below). He noted that not all presentations had handouts. He said it was an incredible experience being there and would like to return and see the many other sights he missed.President Fisch introduced the speaker, Dr. Valerie Jordan, who spoke about Family Secrets and Genealogy – how genealogy may intentionally or accidentally uncover hidden family secrets.Dr. Jordan is a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, now retired. Born and raised in New York City, she came to California in 1977. She is a second generation American from Odessa (her maternal great-great grandmother), and from Bucharest (her maternal grandmother). She passed around photos of a very handsome couple (her grandmother and grandfather) and a family photo showing four generations.Valerie defined secrets as being an intentional concealment of information from others. The information can be shameful, painful, or harmful to others. She differentiated this from privacy, which she defined as a person not wanting to share information, but the information is not shameful, painful, or harmful. She also differentiated it from unknown or forgotten information or stories.When would you intentionally tell people of a family secret? These are some of the times: When they are “old” enough to handle the information; when a specific milestone or family event is reached and it is appropriate; when symptoms or distress becomes unmanageable and needs to be revealed.Secrets take many forms. Valerie discussed the following examples of secrets that families may not want revealed:Religious secrets – possible crypto or converso Jews in the family history.Biological secrets – she gave the example of Bobby Darin’s story where he was devastated when he discovered that his “sister” was actually his mother.Secret families – Charles Lindbergh had seven secret children.Political secrets – Perhaps someone in the family having, for example, a communist party background – “red” diaper babies, slavery secretsSecret affairsMental health secrets – such as suicide, addictions, mental illness, sexual orientation/identity, abuse, etc.Adoption secretsIncarceration secretsMilitary service secretsNext, Valerie discussed genograms. Genograms are charts or pictorial displays used in family therapy and medicine to gather family history, relationship patterns, stories and medical histories. It displays medical history and family stories in a creative and non-genealogical chart. The charts use symbols and terms to describe family members and their relationships and are used by many therapists. She provided examples of such charts using Martin Luther King, Jr.’s family and Bill Clinton’s family.Obviously these types of charts have advantages and disadvantages.Advantages include obtaining useful information in a collaberative and engaging manner; observing family patterns across generations; collecting stories of resilience and hardships; possibly uncovering toxic family secrets and unknown relationships.Disadvantages include providing too much detail; exposing secrets too soon; too much focus on the past; identifying relationships that a client or family member may not be ready for or even want to know. There can be little information available or too few relatives to ask.Genograms are different from genealogical family trees: vital statistics and absolutely correct data are not essential, since the focus of a genogram chart is on relationships and stories. However, these charts can be useful as an adjunct to family trees.Valerie discussed secrets within her own family, indicating that she had known the “story” her mother told her in 1967 about her maternal grandfather, but subsequently found out that her mother’s story was “wrong.” Research convinced her that her mother’s story was wrong, possibly hiding a secret. She used census data, naturalization documents, passport and travel documents, city directories, marriage certificates, and his obituary in a Marin County newspaper in May, 1962, to flesh out her family story. The information was displayed in a genogram. She is still looking for more details.This presentation was extraordinarily interesting and exceptional for the questions and audience participation it stimulated.Mort has a copy of her PowerPoint presentation and it is available upon request. Send an email to mortrumberg1@....Morton M. RumbergFrom Gary Mokotoff’s Avotaynu E-Zines:
New Website Identifies Victims of Disasters
Was a member of your genealogical family the victim of a train wreck, significant fire, flood, shipwreck, plane crash or other disaster? The Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter notes there is a website, http://www3.gendisasters.com, that identifies such persons.
The authors of the site must have spent hundred of hours copying newspaper accounts of the disaster and lists of the persons dead and injured or missing. There are 99 air disasters for New York State alone. The well-known Triangle Shirtwaist fire is included, of course. There are 90 overall results for persons names Cohen.
Site Identifies More Than 5,000 Facebook Sites That Focus On Genealogy
Katherine R. Willson of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has undertaken the monumental task of identifying more than 5,000 Facebook sites that focus on genealogy. The Jewish section has 25 entries.
The number of Facebook sites devoted to Jewish genealogy is even greater because the list does not cross-reference a number of items. For example, not included in the Jewish portion is “Jewish Memory, History & Genealogy in Moldova” which is found only in the Moldova section, and “Dutch Jewish Genealogy” found only in the Netherlands section. It would be wise to first examine the Jewish list and then use your browser’s search engine to locate any item on the list that has the word “Jewish” or “Jews” in its name. This also applies to place names. Toronto Facebook sites appear in numerous sections.
Browse the Table of Contents to understand the scope and organization of the list. The database is located at https://moonswings.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/ genealogy-on-facebook-list-aug-2015.pdf.
“Right To Be Forgotten” May Be Spreading
If you are interested in following the battle over the European Union’s “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling, the New York Times has published a comprehensive article about the subject describing the position of the rule’s advocates as well as opponents. It is at http://tinyurl.com/R2BForgotten. Another lengthy discussion can be found at https://euobserver.com/opinion/129823.
NARA and Ancestry.com Plan To Renew Their Partnership Agreement
For seven years the U.S National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) and Ancestry.com have operated under an agreement where Ancestry.com and its subsidiary Fold3 can scan documents at the Archives and have exclusive use to these images for five years. Ancestry is permitted to charge for access to the documents. After five years, NARA can use the images in any way it cares to, including making them available to the public at no charge.
The two organizations are now renewing the agreement with some changes that benefit the genealogical community.
• The five-year embargo previously started when Ancestry.com placed the images online at their site. Now the clock will start running when they complete the scanning process. Apparently it can take up to two years for Ancestry to place the images online, so the clock will start earlier.
• The updated agreement encourages Ancestry to post segments of large collections immediately rather than waiting for the entire collection to be completed.
• The new agreement outlines NARA’s commitment to protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and more specifically spells out Ancestry’s responsibilities if PII is identified.
Kaunas City Government Agrees to Maintain Jewish Cemetery
Lithuanian governments at all levels have been severely criticized by some Jewish organizations for refusing to recognize government complicity in the murder of Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust period. Now the Kaunas City Municipality has agreed to maintain a Jewish cemetery in its city at the request of Maceva, the organization involved in maintaining and documenting the remaining Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania. The city plans to tend to the cemetery in several stages and has allocated €8,000 for the inventory and identification of graves. Additional information is at http://tinyurl.com/KaunasJewishCemetery. It includes a number of photographs of the current condition of the cemetery.
Maceva has its own site at http://www.litvak-cemetery.info/en. Its home page includes a map of Lithuania showing the location of all known Jewish cemeteries.
Maceva Matching Grant Program. An anonymous donor has offered a matching grant up to $5,000 for the Maceva Cemetery Project. All donations to Maceva made between August 4 and August 31 are eligible to be included in this offer. Go to http://www.litvaksig.org/contribute to make a donation. Select "Maceva Cemetery Project" as the Special Project.
“New” Database: Name Changes in the Palestine Gazette
The Israel Genealogy Research Association is adding more databases to their site at http://genealogy.org.il/. One of them, “Name Changes in the Palestine Gazette,” is a list of more than 28,000 persons, mostly Jews, who legally changed their names while living in Palestine during the British Mandate period from 1921–1948. This database has an interesting history.
I (Gary Mokotoff) am known for creating some of the earliest—pre-Internet—databases for Jewish genealogy including today’s JewishGen Family Finder and the Family Tree of the Jewish People. A lesser known one is titled “Name Changes in the Palestine Gazette.” This minor database has significance today because it was the genesis of the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System.
The story: At the Jerusalem conference held in 1984, I met the late Rabbi Shmuel Gorr, who was one of the first professional Jewish genealogists. He wrote to me a few months later, knowing I was in the computer services business, stating he wanted to create a database of Jews who legally changed their name during the British Mandate period. These names were published in the official publication called the “Palestine Gazette.” He’d send me photocopies of the pages from the “Gazette” and I’d computerize the list organizing them by original name and new name. This database was valuable to genealogy because many people knew they had relatives who made aliyah (immigration) during the 1920s and 1930s and changed their name but they did not know the new name.
The list was compiled, placed on microfiche, and distributed to all Jewish Genealogical Societies.
The project was the genesis of the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System. At that time, I observed that the European names being changed had many spelling variants. Being familiar with the American Soundex System developed by Robert Russell in 1918, I applied this system to the European names and found it did not work. One significant problem was that those names spelled interchangeably with the letter w or v, for example, the names Moskowitz and Moskovitz, did not have the same soundex code. So I developed by own soundex system and applied it to the Palestine Gazette names. This modification to the U.S. soundex system was published in the first issue of AVOTAYNU, in an article titled "Proposal for a Jewish Soundex Code." Randy Daitch read the article and made significant improvements to what I had developed. The joint effort became known as the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System which today is used by JewishGen; the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) for retrieving case histories; and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It can be used to search the Ellis Island database of 24 million immigrants at the Stephen P. Morse One-Step site.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at the end of September.