- Jewish Genealogical Societyof SacramentoNovember 7, 2012Our Next Meeting:Sunday, November 18, 10 a.m., Gary Sandler, ViewMateNeed help with translations of historical or family documents? Our own Gary Sandler will talk about the award-winning ViewMate program he helped create. The program, honored at this summer's Paris conference, is found on the www.JewishGen.org website. It offers free translations of old passports, postcards, gravestones, official documents and more. Gary has been the programmer for ViewMate and will introduce its features and capabilities. It has helped thousands of people move past brick walls in their family research.Gary Sandler has been a computer guy and project planner for over 30 years. His interest in genealogy sprang from his curiosity about whether he was related to the actor Adam Sandler (no). He says he's been applying his obsessive- compulsive behaviors to researching and documenting his Russian, Lithuanian and Polish roots for over a dozen years. In 2006-07, Gary worked with Steve Morse to create the “Gold Form” one-step tool for searching Ellis Island passenger records.Future Meetings:Sunday, December 16, 10 a.m. – Lynn Brown, Citizenship Records and ImmigrationSunday, January 20, 2013, 10 a.m. -- Janice Sellers, Reconstructing Family Information From Almost NothingOctober 21, 2012 Meeting NotesPresident Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests. She said we had a great booth at the recent Davis Food Festival and had 49 people sign up expressing an interest in genealogy.At last week’s Family History Day at the State Archives, the State Archivist, Nancy Zimmelman Lenoil, was among those stopping by (she has spoken to our group on several occasions).Victoria said she will attend Marc Dollinger’s presentation on “Jews of the West” in Davis this afternoon.The Sacramento History and Genealogy group has printed up a list of resources; they are selling them for $1 each. Victoria has some available.Art Yates mentioned that for those who may not be able to attend next year’s international conference in Boston, he recommends they try to attend something a little cheaper –the Southern California Jamboree in Los Angeles June 7-9. He says it’s very similar to attending the international conference; he’s been twice so far.The Sacramento Central Library continues to offer genealogy classes.Susanne mentioned the value of having “Google Alerts” set up for less common names you’re researching (or ancestral town names, etc.). You receive daily contacts when the word or words you've selected show up online. She recently connected with a long lost first cousin, prompted by a Facebook photo that showed up in one of her alerts.Victoria expressed thanks on behalf of the group to Maribel Reingold and Susan Rumberg, who alternate in providing baked goodies for us at each meeting.(Editorial note about the October program -- in the more than 15 years I've been a JGSS member, this is the first time I've heard a presentation on this topic. Extremely valuable program, outstanding presentation -- Susanne)October Program – Gen-Legacy: What Happens to Your Research After You’re Gone?Patricia Burrow was the meeting’s speaker. She retired from a Silicon Valley tech career and went on to publish a few articles about her ancestors. She's now working on a book about her adopted grandmother. Patricia leads several genealogy groups, including an indexing project at the Santa Clara County Archives, a family surname group and a surname DNA project.Patricia started off by asking, “How many of you have been threatened with a dumpster?”She said you have to think of your own research and what you’ve done over the years. “We’re historians, and we don’t want that history to get lost.”Patricia said she would like her own descendants to get the benefit of the research she’s already done.She asked the group how many had had the experience of cleaning out a relative’s house. Most had. She told of helping clean her husband’s uncle’s home, where one family member dumped desk drawers into trash bags. Patricia was able to rescue his military medals and other things. “These are the kinds of things that can happen.”People may not have more than 8-10 hours to clean out a home and need to move fast.She said her own father had a file folder under D in his file cabinet, for death, and things he thought were important to place there.“We have to think about some of these things we have and what to do to get them preserved so they can last 1-2-3 more generations.”Member Teven Laxer recounted how after his father-in-law, a Holocaust survivor, passed away, he left hundreds of three-ring binders, that Teven is still working on indexing five years later. He’s been in touch with the Leo Beck Institute and Yad Vashem about the collection. He also said that his mother-in-law gave away books written in German, some of which he’s been able to retrieve from neighbors and friends, noting their value as family heirlooms.Patricia said the major word for today is “Publish.” --The best way for our work to continue and be available for future generations.”She cited a Chinese proverb – “The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory.”“My kids are not going to throw away a book that has their name on it,” Patricia said. “It’s a good way to distribute your genealogy.”She said if you can’t publish, make the material “look important.” People might be reluctant to throw away something with their surname.Patricia also stressed the importance of:-- photos that are labeled-- Memorabilia With a Story-- organizing for a strangerPhotos That Are Labeled“My theory is that we’re going to lose 2-3 generations of photos, because of digital photos.Patricia suggested place like Shutterfly, Snapfish, the I-Street Press (also Costco) will help you turn your photos into books. But be sure the captions clearly indicate who is in the pictures (not like a baby book she saw that just identifies the parents as “Mom and Dad” and provided no details about the baby’s birthdate or other information).Memorabilia With a StoryPatricia said no one will know if there’s a story behind an object – write down the story of where it came from, what it is.Organize for a Stranger… so your heirs do not get hysterical, fed up and just give up and toss.“And I’m going to call our children strangers,” she said.Patricia's Suggestion – Name a Gen-ExecutorWhen you put together your will or trust, do not think of yourselves as hobbyists – you are historians.Patricia provided possible wording for a codicil to a will naming a particular person to take charge of one’s research. “It is our wish that our daughter Susan Jones Taylor take possession of all files, books, pictures and related materials. We wish her to, in reasonable time, distribute the materials to the appropriate families at her discretion.”Patricia said you might specify a sum of money to go with this request.“If you do not do it formally, you do take a chance that your wishes may not be invoked,” she said. “If you think you have kids that are dying for your family history, good for you.”Member Sid Salinger, who has thousands of names on his family tree, said his family members would likely fight over his research: “You take it – no, you take it.”Victoria Fisch said she would try to compile for the group a list of places that might accept material. If you have suggestions, email them to Victoria. For example, the Sacramento archives might take material relating to the area. She said we might want to talk to the State Archivist, Nancy Zimmelman Lenoil, about how material should be prepared.Gen-Executor – Patricia said this doesn’t have to be someone who will finish or continue your research, but someone with a reverence for history and appreciation of the family. “We’re just asking them to preserve the collection, who might have room for it.”Letter to the Executor“I put a letter in front of all my binders,” Patricia said. “We have spent many long hours researching this material, representing our heritage….”“I just put this letter everywhere,: she said. (Burt Hecht suggested maybe a short video, as well.)“I would set aside some money for someone to sort, organize and distribute your research, maybe find someone to finish a family book, if that’s underway.”Drop-Dead Book“This would include a list of societies I belong to, a pedigree chart, how the material is organized in the computer, paper files, where are photos, books, memorabilia located.Teven asked whether she mixed financial assets with genealogical assets; Patricia said no.You might also want to consider a back-up Gen-Executor, Patricia said.“Describe for a stranger what your work area looks like, where you can find files, binders, etc.Talk your way through the organization you have, include passwords and contact information.”Patricia said a screen shot of digital files would also be a good idea.Digital Material:She explained her 3-2-1 system:Three digital copies of everything important to you on two different media (hard drive, CD/DVD). Flash drives should not be used for long-term storage. Keep one copy offsite – in your safety deposit box, with your brother, etc.Patricia said the website www.practicalarchivist.com has more info on how to care for photos.Patricia says the scenario of the grandkids eyeing Nana’s new computer (with all her research), and taking it, is not hard to imagine.Paper“I’ve already told my daughter, anything not in binders, throw away.” Patricia uses metal-edged containers for her paper documents.PhotosPatricia said her father had Alzheimer’s but responded to photos. So she made books for him, and had his brothers and sisters send stories and photos to include.Do not use magnetic albums – will ruin your pictures.Use corners, do not use anything sticky on the photo.You need to say “ lignin-free, acid free,” not just archival. Can buy material at Costco, get Avery sleeves.Displaying photos – do not want to put original photos on the wall. Kinko's can scan large photos for you.If digitizing, label, label --iPhoto can add meta data.Books, Bookmarkswww.librarythings.com – free – can index“I put bookmarks in my books,” Patricia said (see samples in photo, attached). Three kinds – family book, history book, resources book.“This tells the Gen-Executor what to do with the book. Say where you want your books to go.”MemorabiliaPhotograph each item.Describe their provenance.Teven suggested people open books they’re possibly discarding, to see if there is an inscription inside.Books – who do they go to, put this in your drop-dead file.The question of family history medical information came up --- Bob Wascou said he used an Excel spreadsheet.Patricia summarized her suggestions:PublishMake It Look ImportantOrganize for a Stranger~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Gary Mokotoff's Nov. 4 Avotaynu:Cyndi's List: It is reported that some unnamed website has copied Cyndi’s List in its entirety. Cyndi’s List, started in 1996 by Cyndi Ingle Howells, is a list of Internet sites of value to genealogists. It currently identifies more than 325,000 sites divided into 192 categories. The Jewish category has 707 links divided into 26 subcategories.
Whether the person did it with malice or because the person feels s/he has a legal right to do it may have to be decided in a court of law. The confusion emanates from a Supreme Court decision in 1991 that you cannot copyright facts, and Cyndi’s List, the defendant can argue, is nothing more than a bunch of facts and, therefore, not protected by copyright law which protects original works.
Prior to the Court decision, facts could be copyrighted if they were gathered by the “sweat of your brow,” that is, if the facts were very difficult to accumulate. This would be true of Cyndi’s List. Since the decision, federal courts have backed off somewhat on the broad ruling. My opinion is that based on the “Implications” section of this article, the person violated copyright law.From the JGS of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County:Sarina Roffe publishes Genealogy Detective, a blog that focuses on Sephardic genealogy. Recently, Sarina listed her top 10 tips for using databases. You can see them at http://tinyurl.com/8lrvqbp.Billings woman gets over 4 years for tax fraudPublished 6:49 a.m., Friday, September 28, 2012BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Billings woman who said she filed false tax returns using the Social Security numbers and birth dates of deceased people she found while doing genealogy research online has been sentenced to more than four years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $130,000 in restitution to the IRS.The Billings Gazette reports 41-year-old Shannon Kathlina Grimm was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, who noted she was on probation when she committed the federal fraud.Grimm pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud and false claims. She admitted filing at least 90 false tax returns seeking a total of $402,833 in refunds. Prosecutors say she laundered the $129,498 in refund money she did receive through accounts of others to whom she paid a fee.Information from: Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you Sunday morning, November 18th!
- June 29, 2015Upcoming Meetings:July – No meetingSunday, August 2 (note date change) – Valerie Jordan, "Uncovering Family Secrets Through Genealogy"Sunday, Sept. 27 (note date change) -- Glenn Kurtz, "Three Minutes in Poland"Meeting Notes – June 14, 2105President Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order. She said she recently spoke at RootCellar, and, at their initiation of officers, they described what their society was all about.Dave Reingold circulated an article from 1991 describing the three major world religions.Teven touted the book “American Ghost” by Hannah Nordhaus, mentioned on the NPR program “Fresh Air.”Mort Rumberg, in charge of our JGSS nominating committee, proposed the following slate:President -- Victoria FischVice-Presidents in charge of programming – Sheri Venezia, Dave ReingoldSecretary – Susanne LevitskyTreasurer – Judy Persin (our founding JGSS president)No other nominations were presented. Joan Jurancich moved the officer slate be approved. Gerry Ross seconded. The motion carried.Saturday, July 18 is Family History Day, to be held this year at the California Museum downtown (right next to a light rail station). It is free to the public. Mort has responded and requested we have a table.Mort will be attending the International JGS conference held this year in Jerusalem. There was discussion as to whether we should purchase flash drives from the conference, or access to the top 50 lectures available online for several months.June Program – Tony Chakurian“The Magners – A Journey in Recovering Lost Family Heritages”Tony, a member of the JGS, says he joined our group after talking with members at a Family History Day event a few years back.He began his research in 2008. At the time, he believed his background was1/2 Armenian, 3/8 Irish and 1/8 German. He believed the Magner family branch to be Irish Catholic. That was not what he ultimately discovered.Tony’s roots go back to 19th century California, with his great-great grandmother, Rose Underwood, born in the mining town of Copperopolis in Calaveras County in 1866.Rose’s daughter, Hazel Mary Magner, was born in San Francisco in 1895; her father, Emanuel, husband of Rose, was born in Stockton about 1868.Tony showed census records documenting these relatives, including an 1880 census showing Emanuel’s parents as having come from Prussia, not Ireland.Emanuel was buried in Colma, Tony learned from JewishGen and the JewishGen Online Burial Registry, but moved to Holy Cross Cemetery in 1943. So Tony's question -- was Emmanuel born Jewish? He found the death records of his parents, both buried in Colma as well, and confirmed that Emanuel was born Jewish.After doing his research, Tony talked with his grandmother and asked if she knew the Magners were not Irish. He says that's all he said. She replied that "They were were German Jewish, I know."Tony showed a photo of his great-grandmother in her first communion dress, indicating she was raised Catholic.Because Max Magner, Emanuel's father, died in 1903 before the San Francisco earthquake and fire, many of the records Tony sought were lost. He pieced together information fom the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses, all of which indicated Max had been born in Prussia, not Ireland.Tony said from the Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames, he found the name Magner in the province of Posen, which was part of Prussia in 1860.Rose Underwood, the wife of Emanuel who was born in Copperopolis, was of Chilean descent, and Tony confirmed details through the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censues. He also recounted a family story that Rose's mother, Maria, encountered famed California bandit Joaquin Murietta on horseback while she was a girl in California, giving him a cup of water. This would place Maria in California before the bandit died in 1853.To check what he had learned about his family by another means, Tony took the Ancestry DNA autosomal DNA test. It confirmed both his Jewish (8% European) and Chilean (5% Iberian Peninsula) ancestry. He also tested his mitochondrial DNA ("autosomnal only goes back six generations), using the National Geographic Genome 2.0 test. He found he was in group 2, one of the major Native American haplogroups. The group is very broad, he noted, including both North and South America.In February of this year National Geographic updated their mitochondrial results, refining Tony's haplogroup to B2i2b, which is generally found in central and southern Chile.Tony summarized the results of his research:-- The Magners didn't have Irish ancestry.-- Emanuel Magner was of Jewish ancestry and Maria Muscoc, one of his maternal ancestors, was born in Chile.-- Emanuel's parents were bron in the province of Posen in Prussia and Baden, Germany.-- Autosomal testing confirmed Tony's Chilean and Jewish ancestry-- Mitochondrial DNA indicated the B2i2b haplogroup, which is Native American with original in central and southern Chile.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Avotaynu's June 14 E-Zine:Stephen P. Morse Site Unblocked
Recognizing the importance of the Stephen P. Morse site (http://stevemorse.org), its Internet Service Provider, GoDaddy, has unblocked the site a number of days prior to its normal procedure. The site was taken down when GoDaddy received a complaint from a woman who stated that displaying her picture in a yearbook at the Morse site was in violation of her copyright. Morse challenged the complaint asking her to prove she was the copyright owner, and the woman was given two weeks to respond (which has now ended).
Citing Ben Affleck’s ‘Improper Influence,’ PBS Suspends ‘Finding Your Roots’PBS said on Wednesday that it was postponing a future season of “Finding Your Roots” after an investigation revealed that the actor Ben Affleck pressured producers into leaving out details about an ancestor of his who owned slaves.PBS will not run the show’s third season until staffing changes are made, including hiring a fact checker, it said.The show, which is hosted by the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., traces family histories of celebrities and public figures, and has run for two seasons. The concern about Mr. Affleck’s relative surfaced in the WikiLeaks cache of hacked Sony emails after Mr. Gates asked a Sony executive for advice about a “megastar” who wanted to omit a detail about a slave-owning ancestor.“We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found,” Mr. Gates wrote to a Sony executive, Michael Lynton, in July 2014. Mr. Gates added that this would violate PBS rules, and “once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”When the episode was broadcast in October, it did not mention the slave-owning ancestor. After the emails were posted to WikiLeaks, Mr. Gates said that producers had discovered more interesting ancestors from Mr. Affleck’s family, including a relative from the Revolutionary War and an occult enthusiast.Mr. Affleck said in April that he was “embarrassed” when he discovered that he was related to a slave owner. “I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves,” Mr. Affleck wrote on Facebook.In the investigation, PBS said that producers violated network standards by letting Mr. Affleck have “improper influence” and “by failing to inform PBS or WNET of Mr. Affleck’s efforts to affect program content.”The network said that before the third season of “Finding Your Roots” can broadcast, the show needs to make some staffing changes, including the addition of a fact checker and an “independent genealogist” to review the show’s contents.PBS also said that it had not made a decision about whether to commit to a fourth season of the show.In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Gates said, “I sincerely regret not discussing my editing rationale with our partners at PBS and WNET and I apologize for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming.”Freeze damaged heirloomsConservators and students at the University of Texas have been assisting flood victims salvage their heirlooms and documents following the devastating floods in that area. An article about their activities can be read at http://tinyurl.com/p5canb8, and an important bit of advice is appropriate to repeat here. "Wet papers and photographs, textiles, scrapbooks, books and other sentimental objects should be frozen, if possible, and not thrown out."A phone number and further advice is available at the website.From the June 28 Avotaynu E-Zine by Gary MokotoffBBC Strikes Back at EU “Right to be Forgotten” Rule
As previously reported numerous times, the European Union has declared Google must remove from its site links that provide objectionable information about its citizens. The British Broadcasting Corporation has struck back by placing on its website a list of BBC links Google removed as a result of the “right to be forgotten” decision by the European Court of Justice in May 2014.
The BBC will publish each month links to those pages that have been removed from Google's search engine. BBC stated they are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. They think it is important that those with an interest in the “right to be forgotten” can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. They hope it will contribute to the debate about this issue. BBC added that they also believe that the integrity of the BBC's online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.
Links to the removed pages can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/entries/ 1d765aa8-600b-4f32-b110-d02fbf7fd379. The most recent removal concerns a 2006 article about a man named Richard Holtby who strangled his girlfriend Suzy Healey the weekend before her 40th birthday. BBC does not indicate whether the request to have the offensive article removed came from the strangler, Holtby, or the family of the victim, Healey. From here in the United States, I Googled “Holtby Healey strangle” and got hits for the The Guardian, Daily Mail, and at least 10 other British newspaper sites. Suzy Healey is even listed in FindAGrave.com.
The bottom line is that the European Union has opened up a can of worms. Google has demonstrated its reach is so vast, it is impossible for a person to be forgotten even if he becomes a monk in the Himalayas. Rest assured that some day, someone will post to the Internet a list of all monks who live in the Himalayas and Google will index the list.
Thank you Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, for making me aware of this development, as well as the hundreds of situations she reports to the genealogical community every year about record access matters that affect family history research.
WDYTYA-US Summer Season Will Include J.K. Rowling
Though not officially announced, this summer season of the American version of Who Do You Think You Are will include Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Other celebrities who will discover their ancestral past are Tom Bergeron, Bryan Cranston, Ginnifer Goodwin and Alfre Woodard. The season premiere is Sunday, July 26 at 9 pm ET on TLC. Additional information is at http://tinyurl.com/WDYTYASummer2015.
Celebrities to appear on summer season of the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are have been announced. The exact dates were not given. Great British Bake off presenter Paul Hollywood, modeling legend Jerry Hall, Last Tango In Halifax stars Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, andactress Jane Seymour are among those on this year’s series.
Online Collection of Postcards Depict Scenes of U.S. Towns
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that USGenWeb has online a collection of postcards consisting of scenes of U.S. towns. The collection is at http://www.usgwarchives.net/special/ppcs/ppcs.html. They may be useful is dressing up a family history book you plan to publish. The site is interested in growing the collection. If you want to contribute postcards in your possession, click the “Submissions” link at the site for additional information.
New FamilySearch Additions
After a three-week hiatus, FamilySearch has announced it has added 15.6M indexed records and images to its site. he list is substantial, and it is worthwhile to glance through the entire list.Notable collection updates include 5.5M records from the Iowa 1925 State Census, 2M records from the California Death Index (1905–1939) and 1.2M images from Ontario Marriages (1869–1927).
DNA Testers: Be Patient
Israel Pickholtz has written an excellent article in his blog about the frustration people are having when DNA testing does not locate previously unknown relatives. His conclusion is to be patient.
He states, “…the realistic view is that with only five years of autosomal testing in the various companies' databases, we should not think that we are testing to find our relatives. We are testing so that when our relatives test someday, we will be there waiting to be found. In the meantime, we check our new matches every week or two. That ‘someday’ may be this week.”
Reminder: Have You Signed the Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights?
With all the talk about privacy rights by other interest and political groups, the genealogical community created its own “Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights” last May. The Declaration of Rights is a statement advocating open access to federal, state, and local public records. The Declaration affirms America’s long history of open public records, which has been threatened the last few years over concerns about identity theft and privacy.Genealogists advocate the right of access to records held by government agencies including but not limited to vital records (births, marriages, deaths, divorces); land conveyances and mortgages; tax assessments; guardianships; probate of estates; criminal proceedings; suits of law and equity; immigration; military service and pensions; and acts of governmental entities. Genealogists further advocate that they need to be allowed access to original records when photocopies, microfilm, digital images, or other formats are insufficient to establish clear text, context or completeness of the record. The rights of genealogists specified in the Declaration object to numerous barriers created to deny them access to records. We cannot have our voice heard in Congress without showing we are a formidable number of voters. Readers can read and sign the Declaration at http://tinyurl.com/GenealgyDoR.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our next meeting -- August 2!