- Jewish Genealogical Societyof SacramentoJuly 7, 2012Upcoming Meetings:Monday, July 16, 7 p.m. -- Tamara Noe on "Names: What are You Missing?"Monday, August 20, 7 p.m. -- Ron Arons, "Searching for Living People."Monday, September 10, 7 p.m. "Angel Island Immigration," Maria SakovichSunday, October 21, 10 a.m. Patricia Burrow, "Your Family History Legacy -- What Happens to Your Research After You're Gone?"Condolences to the Family of Reva CamielOur deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Reva Camiel, a longtime JGSS member. Reva will be buried at the Davis Cemetery, 820 Pole Line Road, in Davis, tomorrow, July 8, at 3 p.m, in a short graveside service. A reception will follow starting at 4 p.m. at the Nepenthe Clubhouse at Campus Commons1131 Commons Drive in Sacramento. Reva is survived by two daughters and three grandchildren.June 18, 2012 MeetingPresident Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and shared information on the upcoming meetings. She noted that Ancestry.com has infomratino on the 1905, 1915 and 1925 New York censuses, but more information is included on the Family Search website, so it's suggested you use both sites.Art Yates gave an overview of the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree conference. It was 2 1/2 days -- "every bit as great as one of our conferences." He went to hear several speakers, including Joel Weintraub, who has done much work on the 1940 census. Art also wen through the vendor room, which he found as good as those at our conferences. He signed up for GenealogyBank, a site which has a large digitized newspaper archives.Bo b Wascou talked about RomSig, the Romanian Special Interest Group. They are starting to index more Romanian records and can use translators who know German, Romanian, Russian Cyrillic script, Hebrew. Contact Bob if you're interested in helping.Bob also noted that the director of the Romanian Archives, whom Bob escorted for the week during the Philadelphia conference a few years ago, was fired last Saturday. Bob said he had been instrumental in opening up the state archives.June Program -- Glenda Lloyd on City DirectoriesGlenda returned to present a program on city directories. Glenda helped to organize RootCellar, the local genealogy group, 32 years ago. The group has published a lot of records and also worked on the 1940 census.Glenda said city directories had as their chief purpose to identify customers and potential customers for businesses. "They're a little more careful with the spelling of names than the census takers," she said.City directoreies are useful in locating people in a particular time or place beyond the years of the nearest census. They can give the exact location of a family between census years and also list the name, address and place of employment for every adult in a household. They typically also list spouse's names, home ownership or rental (so you can look for land records) and marital status.Glenda said different publishers included different information. She said they were printed so they were easier to read than the censusThe earliest city directories were around 1850 (or earlier) for San Francisco, 1813 for Albany, NY and 1786 for New York City. Also included in many were names and addresses for cemeteries, fraternal organizations, hospitals, newspapers, schools, orphanages and more.If you don't find what you're looking for, "Always look at the changes, additions, deletions sections," Glenda advised.City directories are available at the National Archives (Library of Congress), the Sutro Library, the Family History Library (microfilm and actual books), Online at CyndisList, the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana (Polk Directories from 1964 to present as well as earlier versions), and more.Glenda said Cyndi's List has lists of city directory inventories at various libraries.The city directories usually include a classified business section similar to the Yellow Pages, Glenda said.Other types of directories include telephone books, business directories, religious listings, and those for various professions such as law, medicine, military service.Glenda noted that in the 1890 Veterans Schedule, one of two men one each page were thought to be using aliases.The city directories may be more accurate in name spellings. "Be sure to include all the people of your surname," Glenda said. "Families often lived in close proximity.""City directories can fill in for missing census records," she said.Glenda said a good resource book on this topic is Kathleen Hinckley's "Locating Lost Family Members and Friends," published by Betterway Books, 1999. "It's a really good book, an excellent reference."From Avotaynu's E-Zine, June 24Webinars
Legacy Family Tree, publisher of Legacy genealogical software, has developed a large number of webinars with topics of general interest. Registration is free and the event is available at no charge for a number of days after it occurs. Thereafter it costs $9.95.
Some general topics are “Staying Safe with Social Media,” “The Genealogy Cloud: Which Online Storage Program Is Right for You?,” “Use Your Digital Camera to Copy Records,” and “A Closer Look at Google+.” More closely related to genealogical research are “Building a Family from Circumstantial Evidence,” “Beyond the Arrival Date: Extracting More from Passenger Lists,” “The Big 4 U.S. Record Sources,” and “Researching Your German Ancestors.”
The complete list can be found at http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/webinars.asp.
Rebuilding a Wooden Synagogue
A great architectural tragedy of the Holocaust was the destruction of virtually every wooden synagogue in Eastern Europe. Once there were more than 1,000; today the remnants of only six exist in Lithuania.
A group of students from Israel, Poland and the U.S. are rebuilding a portion of the wooden synagogue that once existed in Gwozdziec, Poland, using photographs of the original structure as a guide. For an excellent article about the project, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/15287081/filming-the-replication-of-a-17th-century-wooden-s. Their efforts will be on permanent exhibit at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, scheduled to open in 2013 in Warsaw. There are a large number of project photos at http://www.facebook.com/gwozdziec/photos.
JewishData.com Adds More Records
JewishData.com, a fee-for-service organization, has added the following tombstone images to its site:
• 4,500 images from Beth Olam Cemetery in the Ridgewood section of New York City.
• The site now contains all tombstone images for Mt. Zion Cemetery in Los Angeles; approximately 2,000 images.
• Additional images from Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in the Glendale section of New York City. There are now 46,000 indexed images from this location.
JewishData.com has more 500,000 Jewish genealogy records including images of tombstones, school yearbook pages and citizen declaration documents from various locations. A number of Mokotoff family members are buried in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery; therefore, I was able to get copies of their tombstones.
New Records and Indexes at FamilySearch
With so much focus on the 1940 U.S. census, one would think FamilySearch has temporarily suspended work on other projects. This could not be further from the truth. Millions of new records have been added in recent weeks from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, England, Georgia, Indonesia, Italy, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. Many have potential of being valuable to persons tracing their Jewish family history.
Below highlights some of the items added. Check the complete list at https://familysearch.org/node/1714.
Austria, Vienna, Jewish Registers of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1784–1911. New image collection.
Belgium, Antwerp, Police Immigration, 1840–1930. New image collection.
BillionGraves Index. One million indexed records and images.
Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1921. Added images to existing collection.
Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450–1889. Added images to existing collection.
Russia Tver Poll Tax Census (Revision lists), 1744–1874. New image collection.
U.S., Illinois, Probate Records, 1819–1970. Added images to existing collection.
U.S., New York, Orange County Probate Records, 1787–1938. Added images to existing collection.
U.S., New York, Queens County Probate Records, 1899–1924. Added images to existing collection.
U.S., Washington, County Marriages, 1855–2008. Added images to existing collection.
U.S., Washington, County Probate Records, 1853–1929. Added images to existing collection.
Southern California Jamboree WebinarsThe Southern California Genealogical Society announces the return of the popular Jamboree Extension Webinar Series, which provides web-based family history and genealogy educational sessions for genealogists around the world.Jamboree Extension Series webinars are conducted the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions will be held at 10am Pacific time; Wednesday sessions will be scheduled at 6pm Pacific time.Upcoming sessions for the last half of 2012 include:
Wednesday, July 18 (evening schedule)
Neither Filmed or Scanned: NARA Treasurers Await
This session will discuss examples of original records with great genealogical value in the National Archives that exist only in their original format. Most of these records are rarely used by genealogists and some have never been used for genealogy. The discussion will also provide information about obtaining copies of the records.
George G. Morgan
Saturday, August 4 (morning/afternoon schedule)
The Genealogist as CSI
Modern genealogists are much like the crime scene investigators - CSIs - that we see on television. They must be skilled investigators. They must use all available tools to locate clues and evidence. And they must employ proven methodologies and their critical thinking skills to document and evaluate every type of resource they find. They must be able to communicate their findings. This seminar analogizes genealogists with CSIs and describes the genealogical research and evaluation process. It provides a methodological framework for all types of research.
Wednesday, August 15 (evening schedule)
There's no doubt that tracing female ancestors can be difficult. We make a lot of assumptions about the lives of women, some of which may not be true. In this presentation we will look at the occupations, including volunteer work, women held in 19th century America and what records they left behind. Whether your ancestress was employed or not, the repositories and collections we discuss will help you research your female ancestor.
Saturday, September 1 (morning/afternoon schedule)
Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker. Researching Your Ancestors' Occupations
Labor Day Special: It's likely not all your ancestors were farmers. This session will explore strategies for researching how your ancestors made a living: what they did, where, why, and for whom.
Wednesday, September 19 (evening schedule)
Playground Rules for Genealogy on the Internet
The internet creates an exciting gathering place where we can find distant cousins and fast friends to help us research our family tree. It's never too late to play by the rules and have fun. Be sure to follow these three basic safety rules and you'll have a great time.
Linda Woodward Geiger, CG
Saturday, October 6 (morning/afternoon schedule)
Hark! That Tombstone is Talking to Me!
You CAN get blood from a stone. Learn about wringing the tombstone dry and learning more about your ancestors.
Lisa A. Alzo
Wednesday, October 17 (evening schedule)
Family History Writing Made Easier: Cloud-based Tools Every Genealogist Can UseTelling your family's story just got a whole lot easier thanks to a number of cloud-based note taking and writing tools and apps you can access from home, your netbook or iPad, and even your smartphone. Learn about the latest tech tools and writing apps for bringing your family's story to life!D. Joshua "Josh" Taylor
Saturday, November 3 (morning/afternoon schedule)
Thanksgiving Special: Online Resources for Colonial America
Discover web sites, online databases, university projects, online archives, and other resources for researching your Colonial American ancestors online. Learn how to use Early American Imprints, JSTOR, and other resources.
Saturday, December 1 (morning/afternoon schedule)
Sharing and Preserving Memories in a Digital Era
Today you have a lot of options to store and share all your research material, including text, images, videos, documents or sound. Options start from the capture tools (audio recorders, cameras, cellular and scanners) and extend to sharing physical products (CD's, DVD's, portable disc, electronic photo frames) or the Internet, which is the perfect place to share and preserve all your memories. You have the option to publish your material from a completely private to a completely public way, and all the levels in between. You can ask for collaboration or simply display the information, people can only see or download a copy of your material; you can control every aspect. There are all kind of easy-to-use tools and resources that facilitates the work of setting up websites, blogs, wikis or any other way you decide to publish the information.
Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Wednesday, November 19 (evening schedule)Jewish Genealogy 101
Learn the fundamentals of researching your Jewish ancestors.The live webcast is offered free of charge and open to the public. "We offer these webinars as part of our educational mission," said SCGS president Alice Fairhurst, "but are always grateful for contributions to offset our costs."From Avotaynu's June 17 E-zine:
A Guide to Canadian Jewish Genealogical Research Published
JewishGen has a new InfoFile: A Guide to Canadian Jewish Genealogical Research. It is located at http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Canada.html. Judging by its length—more than 7,000 words—it is a rigorous description of the resources available to do Canadian (Jewish) family history research. Census Records, Passenger Manifests, Border Crossing Records, Naturalization, Vital Records, Cemetery Records, Newspaper Articles, City Directories are just a few of the topics covered.Website Identifies More Than 3 Million Persons from Russian Empire
The (Russian) Genealogical Research Center has a website located at http://www.rosgenea.ru that lists more then 3.3 million persons from the pre-1918 Russian Empire era with biographical information. The site is in Russian.
A sample entry translated using Goggle Translate is:Tartakovskii Yakim Victor (1860–1923, St. Petersburg., Tihvinsk.kl-School), singer (lyrical and dramatic baritone) and director. The soloist, and later (1894–1923) directed by the chief Mariinsk.teatra in St. Petersburg. Popular of his concert performances, especially the performance of Tchaikovsky's romances. 1920-1923 years. - Professor of the Petrograd Conservatory.
The home page implies that the database has not been updated since 2008 when it had 3,372,820 entries; however, a posting to the Ukraine SIG Discussion Group indicates the current count is closer to six million.
Kaunas Gubernia Vital Records Extracted
Litvak SIG has completed the translation of all known pre-1912 vital records for Kovno (Kaunas) gubernia. They include towns in the present-day districts of Kaunas, Panevezys, Raseiniai, Sauliai, Telsiai, Ukmerge and Zarasai. More recent records come under Lithuanian privacy laws.
Not all are currently searchable in the All-Lithuania Database (ALD) located at http://www.jewishgen.org/Litvak/all.htm. The balance will be available in about 18 months time according to Eden Joachim, Litvak SIG President. Researchers can access spreadsheets for the records not yet in the ALD by contributing to the relevant District Research Group. More information may be found on http://www.litvaksig.org/projects.
Sephardic Heritage Project Joins IAJGS
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies has a new member: Sephardic Heritage Project. The new member was founded in 2004 to identify and preserve the marriage and brit milah records of the Syrian Jewish community. Some of their projects include Aleppo (Syria) circumcisions 1868–1945, Aleppo marriages 1847–1934 with some intervening years missing, and Eulogies covering sporadic entries from 1716–1946. All are available on JewishGen at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/#Syria. Additional information about Sephardic Heritage Project can be found at http://sephardicheritageproject.org/.
JewishGen Adds SubCarpathian Interest Group
JewishGen has added a new Special Interest Group (SIG) named the SubCarpathian SIG. It focuses on parts of the pre-WWI Hungarian megyek (counties) of Bereg, Maramaros, Ugocsa and Ung, today located in Ukraine. The group has a website at http://www.jewishgen.org/Sub-Carpathia/. There is also a Discussion Group which can be subscribed to at http://www.jewishgen.org/ListManager. Marshall Katz is the SIG Coordinator.
New app takes sting out of cemetery searchesBy SHARON TATE MOODY | Special correspondent
Published: June 17, 2012 Updated: June 17, 2012 - 12:00 AMA traditional summertime rite for genealogists means fighting weeds, mosquitoes, snakes and an array of other undesirables.I'm talking about tramping through cemeteries, of course.Immediately behind the critter issue is the frustration of finding the right cemetery only to discover there is no sexton or other office to assist a researcher in finding the desired graves.One good thing about today's technology is that sooner or later someone is going to develop a mobile app for what ails us. In this case, it's the BillionGraves Project.Using a mobile app — this one is free —volunteers can walk through any cemetery and click GPS-tagged photographs of every tombstone there. The next steps include uploading the images to the website and transcribing them so others can search by names.BillionGraves has partnered with FamilySearch, the LDS Church website, which most genealogists use regularly. In the near future when someone conducts a name search on FamilySearch.org, they will get a hit from BillionGraves if a tombstone with that name has been photographed and entered into that system.I treasure the memories of all the old country cemeteries I've explored — never sure I'd find an actual tombstone and feeling exhilarated when I did. Then there were the trips where I wondered why I couldn't find a tombstone a distant cousin told me he found "25 steps from the left rear corner of the main old church building." As BillionGraves says on its website: "No more counting trees, memorizing certain fence posts, or documenting the number of paces to find your loved one."If you find the tombstone on BillionGraves.com you'll find GPS information that you can take to the cemetery. Using the GPS on your smart phone you'll be able to walk right to the tombstone.If you're like me, though, you won't look at the GPS until you've surveyed the cemetery the old-fashioned way and tried your cousin's directions. I don't want to take the fun out of exploring and the sense of adventure.On the other hand, I guess there are enough other mysteries out there for us genealogists to solve.This system isn't a perfect set-up, and time will tell if designers get the bugs out and address concerns users have. Like so many genealogy projects, this one will succeed only if site creators stay on their toes and if volunteers contribute. Before you head out for your summer trips, check it out at Billiongraves.com. You'll see what a powerful tool your smart phone can be and what a contribution you might make to the research world.****36 Hours in Kiev, UkraineJoseph Sywenkyj for The New York TimesClockwise, from top left, the Dormition Cathedral, swimming in the Dnieper River, Arena, a war museum, soccer fans. More Photos »By FINN OLAF-JONESPublished: June 21, 2012 New York TimesAFTER seven decades of Soviet dominance, Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, has emerged as one of Europe’s most vibrant 21st-century cities. With a thriving contemporary art scene, a new generation of chefs taking innovative approaches to Ukrainian cuisine, and a delirious dance-til-dawn night life, Kiev — currently a co-host of the 2012 European Soccer Championship — is a weekend magnet for European and Russian fashionistas. But new cuisine and clubs are only the latest cultural attributes of a city that has more than its share of ancient catacombs, churches and monuments. Don’t let Kiev’s reputation as “the birthplace of the Slavs” conjure up stereotypes of Slavic dourness. For starters, the city looks as if it was painted like a Ukrainian Easter egg, with brightly colored buildings and gold domes glittering on the hills above the Dnieper River. And then there are the Kievans themselves — a resilient lot whose hearty sense of humor and a seemingly boundless hunger for fun are reflected in the city’s bustling cafes, thronged beaches and bars that never close.Friday2 p.m.
1. STADIUM SEAT TO HISTORYA glance around stadium-shaped Independence Square, the city’s traditional nerve center, encapsulates much of Kiev’s history. Czarist, Beaux-Arts and Stalinist buildings represent the old, while the glass-enclosed Globus luxury mall (and McDonald’s) assert the new. The Slavic goddess Berehynia stands atop a towering column that replaced a Lenin monument. Grab a mug of the local brew, Obolon, at one of the sidewalk cafes and soak in the atmosphere. Street performers, students, vendors and political demonstrators all gravitate here. This was, after all, the setting for the Orange Revolution that brought democratic change to the country in 2004.3 p.m.
2. NEW CONSTANTINOPLEThe bulbous green and gold domes of St. Sophia (24 Vladimirskaya Street; 380-44-228-2083), on the high ground of the old town, dominate Kiev’s skyline. Dating from the 11th century, the church was built to rival Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and echoes its name. Inside, it feels like a medieval man cave, with incense hanging thickly in the air, dramatic rays of light coming in through tiny windows, and monks, priests and novices scurrying back and forth in black frocks. Stick around long enough and you may hear prayer accompanied by the a cappella choral music for which the Ukrainians are renowned.8 p.m.
3. FEED YOUR INNER PEASANTThough the fake chickens, straw roof and wandering singers might seem over the top, the delicious Slavic dishes at Tsarske Selo (42/1 Ivan Mazepa Street, 380-44-288-9775; tsarske.kiev.ua) are the real deal — as evidenced by the locals who come here for a fancy night out. The restaurant is a celebration of hearty Ukrainian fare including pickled almost-anythings, borscht, the traditional grilled meats called shashlik and yes, if your cardiologist will let you, chicken Kiev. There’s also an extraordinary assortment of gorilka — Ukrainian vodka. A three-course dinner without drinks is 390 hryvnia about $50 at 7.80 hryvnia to the dollar.11 p.m.
4. RAVES, TECHNO, HIP-HOPKiev’s nightclubs attract an international crowd of jet-setters for weekend bacchanals. At Arena (2A Basseynaya Street; 380-44-492-0000; arena-kiev.com), a vast techno spot, rich Russians mingle with local celebrities and trendsetters with cheekbones as high as the drink prices. The hip-hop at Patipa (Muzeyniy Pereulok 10; 380-44-252-0150; patipa.com) draws a younger crowd. At the Hydropark, open-air summer raves run by the likes of UA Beach Club (drive or take the metro to Hydropark Station and walk across the Venetian Bridge; beach-club.at.ua) keep the hordes dancing to house music as the sun rises over the Dnieper.Saturday10 a.m.
5. THEM BONESDress respectfully and start early to beat the weekend crowds to the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra (9 Lavrska Street; 380-44-280-3071; kplavra.kiev.ua), a Unesco World Heritage site. Pilgrims approach this sprawling monastery wearing icons and pictures of saints around their necks. Buy candles (2 hryvnia) at the entrances to the upper and lower catacombs, and follow the twisty subterranean tunnels past ancient glass-encased tombs of monks, many of them Orthodox saints, whose hands and feet occasionally stick out from their richly textured burial clothes. All is dramatically lighted by colorful hanging lanterns. After re-emerging into daylight, check out the elaborately gilded 11th-century Dormition Cathedral, reconstructed after its destruction in World War II.Noon
6. IT’S A SMALL WORLDA full chessboard on the head of a pin, a sand-grain-size working mechanical engine, a flea wearing golden shoes — these are some of the small miracles created by Mykola Syadristy, a self-taught master famed throughout the former Soviet Union. His miniatures are exhibited under microscopes at the Museum of Microminiatures (21 Ivan Mazepa Street; microart.kiev.ua; admission 10 hryvnia) on the monastery grounds next to the cathedral. The dapper Mr. Syadristy is often on hand himself to give tours of his unique museum and to describe how he created these micron-size projects “between heartbeats.”1 p.m.
7. THE WAR AT HOMEFrom the monastery, take a 10-minute stroll on a park path through a grotto decorated with sculptures of muscular World War II fighters, to the base of the 203-foot-tall stainless steel Motherland statue. Designed by Yevgeny Vuchetich, it towers above the National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War (24 Lavrska Street; 380-44-285-9452; warmuseum.kiev.ua). The museum galleries circle the statue’s base, displaying gruesome and heroic relics — gloves and soap made from concentration camp victims, captured weapons and banners — and detailing the epic toll the war took on Ukraine. Recent additions include a Christian cross made from gun parts dramatically juxtaposed against a giant dome decorated with Soviet Communist motifs.2 p.m.
8. FOOD SHRINEThe Ukrainians are the Italians of Eastern Europe when it comes to the love of good food and a passion for the national cuisine. The venerable central food market Besarabsky Rynok (2 Besarabska Ploscha) is the source of ingredients for some of Kiev’s best dishes. The market, built in 1912, resembles a cavernous Victorian train station engulfing stands bursting with local cheeses, red and black caviar, pickles, wild boar and other game, borscht, vodka and other local treats. Vendors proffer enough samples to make a stroll through the market akin to a pass through an all-you-can-eat buffet.Multimedia7 p.m.
9. NIGHT IN THE MUSEUMThe Pinchuk Art Center (1/3-2, Block A, Velyka Vasylkivska; 380-44-590-0858; pinchukartcentre.org; free), a world-class center for contemporary art created by the Ukrainian steel billionaire Victor Pinchuk, stays open until 9 p.m. The collection of art by local and international superstars is astounding, but perhaps the most provocative installation is the fifth-floor bathroom, a neon-lighted funhouse with mirrors and windows providing sly glances between the men’s and women’s rooms. For dinner, head for the all-white, “Clockwork Orange”-like setting of the SkyArtCafe (380-44-561-7841) on the sixth floor, with its views over the city. Dinner without drinks is around 210 hryvnia. When the museum closes, SkyArtCafe become BarSky, a chic nightclub.Sunday11 a.m.
10. SLAVIC-CUBAN BRUNCHIf you’ve overindulged this weekend, Arbequina (4 Grinchenko Street; 380-44-223-9618), a pierogi’s throw from Independence Square, is the antidote. Its Cuban and Ukrainian chefs put a light touch to Slavic brunch with homemade pastries, pancakes made with cottage cheese, baked pumpkin, a mélange of imaginatively mixed fresh juices and, for an effective head-clearer, a miraculous concoction of fresh mint tea with lemon and honey. Take a seat on the terrace if the weather is good. Breakfast is around 95 hryvnia.12:30 p.m.
11. RIO ON THE DNIEPERAbout halfway across the scenic Parkovy pedestrian bridge from downtown to Trukhanov Island, you should begin to pick up the seductive aromas from dozens of barbecues. With its lovely beach and fine views of the city, the island is a favorite Kiev weekend spot. Swimming in the Dnieper has its hazards, given fluctuating levels of pollution. But the verdant island looks like a spot on the Mississippi, and the glamorously skimpy swimwear on some of the well-conditioned locals brings to mind Rio or Miami.IF YOU GOFor over a century the centrally located Premier Palace (5-7/29 T. Shevchenka Boulevard; 380-44-244-1201; premier-palace.com) has been Kiev’s grand hotel. It has recently been immaculately renovated without sacrificing its Art Nouveau charm or its outstanding Russian and Ukrainian art collection. Doubles from $284.A boutique hotel that opened five years ago on a quiet street near the opera, the Opera Hotel (53, B. Khmelnitskogo Street; 380-44-581-7070; opera-hotel.com) has elegant, theatrically themed rooms. Doubles from 2,250 hryvnia ($287).~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our Monday, July 16th meeting!
- March 9, 2015In Memory of Bob WascouBob was a longtime member, mentor and past president of our society and a tireless advocate for the JGSS and friend to members new and old. In Sacramento he coordinated efforts to photograph each headstone at the Home of Peace cemetery, among other efforts. But he also took a leadership role in Romanian research and more.Bob was placed on the JewishGen Wall of Honor for his work as project coordinator for the Kishinev (Moldova) databases and also became the Research Coordinator for ROM-SIG, the Romanian Special Interest Group. Through his guidance, more than 290,000 items were added to JewishGen's All-Romanian database.Rosanne Leeson, co-coordinator of ROM-SIG, has advised us that a special fund has been set up in memory of Bob at JewishGen:http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/v_projectslist.asp?project_cat=20 The fund will be used to help obtain materials for the SIG in places closest to Bob's heart.And we were honored to note that in Bob's obituary his family requested any donations in his memory be made to the JGSS.We extend our deepest sympathy to Bob's wife, Linda, and son, Danny, at this difficult time.Bob Wascou at far right, at 2010 IAJGS Conference in Los AngelesOur Sunday March 15 Meeting, 10 a.m."Anusim -- Crypto Jews on Your Family Tree"Join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento for the presentation by Jason Lindo and Susan Aguilar on "Anusim" or "Crypto-Jews” from the Iberian Peninsula, Jews forced to convert to Christianity. The program will focus on customs and countries of origin, the clues most descendants of Anusim first discover.Sephardic Jews have their origins in the Iberian Peninsula, what today is Spain and Portugal. Both countries had a sizeable population of Crypto-Jews.Jason will discuss customs in the home, food customs, religious customs and those associated with death. Jason is the descendant of Portuguese Crypto-Jews (Marranos). While raised in the Greek Catholic faith in Hawaii, he grew up in a home that continued many of the customs of his Portuguese family's Crypto-Jewish heritage. Jason converted to Judaism in 1996 and is an active member of the Congregation B'nai Israel.Susan Aguilar of Elk Grove is a doctoral candidate in Jewish History and Culture at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Her area of specialization is medieval Iberia.From Gary Mokotoff's Recent Avotaynu E-Zines:
A Bit of History:
Convicts to Australia and the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System
A recent news release by Ancestry.com noting they have records of Australia’s “First Fleet” of convicts sent to colonize the area reminded me that the first article in the first issue of AVOTAYNU, January 1985, was written by the late Chief Rabbi of Australia, Israel Porush (1907–1991), about the history of Australia.
The British permanent presence in Australia started on January 26, 1788, when a group of 750 convicts landed there to establish a penal colony. Known as the “First Fleet” to Australians, the penal colony was created because the British colonies in North American had recently gained their independence and Great Britain had no place to dump their excess convicts. Rabbi Porush noted that some of the members of the First Fleet were Jewish but “…Most of the Jewish convicts were guilty of petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, shop-lifting and receiving stolen goods…” He then went on to note that many of these Jewish convicts eventually were freed and became prominent citizens in the early history of Australia.
In rereading the article, when I came to its end, I noticed it was immediately followed by an article written by me titled “Proposal for a Jewish Soundex Code.” This article was read by Randy Daitch, another Jewish genealogist, who at that time was also contemplating the inadequacies of the conventional Russell Soundex System for German and Eastern European surnames. The two of us collaborated and the result was the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System, which today is the default search option for most of the databases on JewishGen.
The Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System also is used by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) as its standard soundex system for retrieving case histories and is the standard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. It is used to search the Ellis Island database of 24 million immigrants at the “Stephen P. Morse Searching the Ellis Island Database in One Step” site.
Israel State Archives to Digitize and Place Its Records Online
Yaacov Lozowick, Chief Archivist at the Israel State Archives, is in the process of fulfilling a dream. His dream is to digitize the documents held by the Israel State Archives and place the records on the Internet (if privacy considerations do not apply). This is the year we can anticipate results. Lozowick indicates that the first record group to be available later this year will be either the 80,000 files of requests for citizenship during the British Mandate period, or the 800,000 files of Israel's first census in 1948. He notes that the paper document collection at the archives is so huge, it might take 25 years to complete the project.
FDA Eases Access to DNA Screening for Inherited Diseases
In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the DNA service 23andme from claiming they offered health-related information stating “...you are marketing the 23andMe Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service (PGS) without marketing clearance or approval in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act).”Now the FDA has reevaluated the situation and says they are easing access to DNA tests used to screen people for devastating genetic disorders that can be passed on to their children. The Associated Press states, “This announcement offers a path forward for the Google-backed genetic testing firm 23andMe, which previously clashed with regulators over its direct-to-consumer technology.”
The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU describes how a woman used the 23andme service before the ban, which lead to the discovery that she had a genetic propensity for breast cancer (BRCA2 gene). An MRI proved she had the early stage of the disease.
GenealogyIndexer Adds Automated Hebrew, Yiddish Transliteration System
Logan Kleinwaks has hundred of scanned directories at his website, http://genealogyindexer.org. It includes, to date, 129 yizkor books, most of which are written in Yiddish and Hebrew. To search these books previously required that you use Hebrew/Yiddish characters to search the site. Kleinwaks has now added a new way to search Hebrew and Yiddish sources.
There now is an option for automated transliteration, so the search term can be typed in Latin letters and the system will find matches in Hebrew and Yiddish. To enable this option, change the pull-down menu, "Add Latin -> Cyrillic," to "Add Latin -> Cyrillic + Hebrew" or "Only Latin -> Hebrew." The transliteration only works with single-word search terms and the Regular Match option (not D-M Soundex or OCR-Adjusted). It is limited by the accuracy of the OCR software used to convert scanned documents to (Hebrew, Yiddish) text..
Guarding Denmark’s Jewish HeritageCredit Leonhard Foeger/ReutersCOPENHAGEN — The attack on Copenhagen’s synagogue earlier this month that left a volunteer Jewish watchman dead is a tragedy for a society that, for more than two centuries, has insisted that there is no tension between being Jewish and being Danish. It was precisely this sense of national solidarity across religious lines that helped save Denmark’s Jews from the Nazis during World War II.And that’s why it rubbed many Danes the wrong way when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Danish Jews to “come home” to Israel after the attack. Even if Denmark’s Jews clearly face a new threat, this time from a small group of extremist Muslim Danes, Mr. Netanyahu seemed to be belittling the social unity that is so treasured by most Danes and denying both Denmark’s proven ability to protect its Jewish population — something that Danes are very proud of — and Danish Jews’ affinity for their country.Denmark is a very unusual case in the troubled history of Europe and its Jews. Two hundred years ago, many European thinkers argued that there was an insurmountable contradiction between being patriotic and being Jewish. Much of Europe’s subsequent anti-Semitism was rooted in this idea.But in Denmark, Jews were welcomed and in 1814 obtained a charter assuring them access to employment while submitting them to civil law. With the Danish Constitution in 1849, Jews became citizens with full and equal rights. Although prejudice and a hint of anti-Semitism existed, there was no basis for the ideological anti-Semitism that flourished in Europe in the 1930s. Indeed, in 1939 the Danish Parliament passed laws against it.With the German occupation of Denmark in 1940, the nation’s relationship with its Jewish minority was put to a fateful test. The Danish government ruled the country under German “protection,” and in many areas caved in to German interests. Still, the government insisted that there was no “Jewish problem,” and declined repeated German requests to single out the Jews. King Christian X told the prime minister that if the Germans obliged the Danish Jews to wear the Star of David, then “we must all wear yellow stars.” The remark led to the myth that the king wore the yellow star during his daily ride around occupied Copenhagen.Resistance to the idea of discriminating against the Danish Jews became a patriotic symbol. When the government resigned in August 1943, and thus could no longer grant the Jews protection, the Nazi occupiers moved against the 7,000 Danish Jews. A raid was organized on Oct. 1, 1943, but few were captured. The vast majority of Jews were warned in advance — when Hitler’s own representatives tipped off leading politicians, who then spread the word within the Jewish community. Even leading Nazis feared the raid would provoke an uprising in the Danish population and in total less than 500 Jews were deported. The rest sought refuge and with the help of their countrymen managed to escape to safety in neutral Sweden.The rescue was perceived as an act of patriotism and as a quiet rebellion against the occupation and its terror. After the war, most Jews returned to Denmark, where they generally found their property and apartments untouched and often cared for by neighbors and friends. Of the 500 who were deported to Theresienstadt, approximately 90 percent were rescued and brought back to Denmark in a dramatic last-minute operation just before the collapse of the Third Reich.The fact that the vast majority of Danish Jews were spared the horrors of the Holocaust has become a national rallying point and a central part of modern Denmark’s national self-understanding.The targeting of Jews today is particularly troubling because, with immigration, mainly from Muslim-majority countries, rising in recent decades, prominent members of the Jewish community have been among the foremost advocates of integrating these new Danes deeply into society. While right-wing parties have grown in popularity here, Danish Jewish leaders have emphasized the dangers of exclusion, prejudice and intolerance.While anti-Semitism isn’t widespread in Denmark, there are a number of radicalized second- and third-generation immigrants who project the Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto local Jews, and see any Jew as a representative of Israel. This creates a latent threat of violence against Jews — as was so sadly demonstrated earlier this month.Most interesting is the number (or lack of numbers) of comments to this article. Apparently concern for and/or fighting antisemitism,...Other groups have been targeted as well. Newspapers and cartoonists have been forced to beef up security due to direct threats and failed attempts to attack them. Indeed, the first deadly attack this month was on a seminar about the freedom of expression. Still, handling this threat presents the Jewish minority and the rest of Danish society with a particular dilemma.For two centuries, Denmark’s strategy of not treating Jews differently has been highly successful. Yet the threat from violent extremists is now undeniable, and no one can guarantee that a similar attack won’t happen again.But how do we provide for special protection when nobody wants the Jewish minority to be seen as special? How can we protect not only the security of Jews and Jewish institutions, but also their traditional position as a well-integrated part of Danish society?The key is to address directly the extremism and the radicalization leading to threats against Jews, cartoonists and others targeted by violent extremists without erecting walls and barriers.In the short run, protection measures will be necessary, but in the end it’s about avoiding escalation and safeguarding Denmark’s open and safe society, and the idea that religious minorities shouldn’t be treated any differently than any other citizens. That’s a much harder challenge — and a more important one.Bo Lidegaard is editor in chief of the Danish daily Politiken and the author of “Countrymen: The Untold Story of How Denmark’s Jews Escaped the Nazis.”~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at next Sunday's meeting, March 15, 10 a.m.