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Genealogy Update

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    December 23, 2012 Upcoming Meetings -- all meetings will be on Sunday mornings in 2013 Sunday, January 20, 10 a.m. -- Janice Sellers, Reconstructing Family
    Message 1 of 46 , Dec 23, 2012
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      December 23, 2012
      Upcoming Meetings -- all meetings will be on Sunday mornings in 2013 
      Sunday, January 20, 10 a.m. -- Janice Sellers, "Reconstructing Family Information From Almost Nothing"
      (Sunday, February 3, (afternoon)  Davis, Bet Haverim -- Beginning Genealogy Research)
      Sunday, February 17, 2013, 10 a.m. --  Victoria Fisch and Jeremy Frankel, "Doings in the Cemetery"
      Sunday, March 17, 2013, 10 a.m. -- Shlomo Rosenfeld, "Discovering a Live Family Branch That Survived the Holocaust"
      Notes from December 16, 2012
      President Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests.
      Dave Reingold noted that the Center for Sacramento History does accept some family genealogies.  Teven Laxer noted that he's compiling a list of Jewish archive repositories that also may be of interest.
      Upcoming meetings, see above.  Victoria noted that all meetings in 2013 will be held on Sundays.  In addition, there will be meetings held at Bet Haverim in Davis, and Victoria would welcome volunteers who would like to assist.
      Bob Wascou said he is collecting $25 checks for 2013 membership dues.  They can also be sent to the JGSS care of the Einstein Center, Room 220, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento, CA 95825.
      December Speaker -- Lynn Brown   
      The "New" Immigration Process-- USCIS
      The new federal agency overseeing customs and immigration is now called the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service.  Also created was a genealogy department within the agency.  The previous Immigration and Naturalization Service ended after 9/ll, and the new agency is part of the Homeland Security Dept.
      Lynn Brown discussed the new agency, and information you can order.  Bottom line:  You'll want to order the "package," not just a single document. 
      Lynn said many records were not available to us until USCIS took over.  There were records but mainly limited to passenger manifests, ship records.
      Now, there are more records available and an online ordering process.
      Lynn's Part 1)_ Naturalization in the United States
      Only about 1/3 of people who who came were naturalized-- did not need to be a citizen, but can't vote or run for office.   There may be religious, cultural or other reasons why they didn't become naturalized.
      Lynn says we now have access to residential records with the new agency.
      "Declaration of Intention," also called "First Papers" -- to become a U.S. citizen.
      In those after 1903, you get the name, country of origin and date of application.  This form was required until 1952.
      Certificate of Arrival -- needed to prove how you got here.  It shows the port and date of arrival, shp's name (or car, plane, other mode of transportation).
      "You might want to look for this document," Lynn said.
      Naturalization Petition -- Final Papers
      Before 1906, Lynn said these did not provide much information. Post-1906, there is much genealogical data, incuded members of the family of the person being naturalized.
      1922-- Petition included photos; women could apply without husband's consent.
      Certificate of Naturalization
      Actual naturalization card immigrants carried with them, important to them.  It was issued after they took the oath of allegiance.   Many states used the term "oath of allegiance."
      Derivative Citizenship
      Before 1922, it was granted to the wife and children of a naturalized male.  After 1922, the wife could do it independently.
      Lynn cited the case of Austrian-born Maria Von Trapp ("who did not go over the Alps") -- she was arrested and had detention papers, if you want to search the National Archives and find them.  "Her husband, the  Captain, was never naturalized and stayed Austrian."
      If a U.S. born woman married an immigrant male, she lost her citizenship.  (Got back after 1922).
      Military Service
      1862-- Could petition for naturalization without a declaration of intent if one-year resident. in 1894 -- extended to 5-year veterans of the Navy and Marine Corps.  Still in use today.
      Lynn's Part 2)  Alien Records
      Lynn says these weren't available for use before.  This includes the Permanent Resident Card  or "green card," which is not green.  Most people carry it with them.
      For immigrants who did not want naturalization:
      -- Visas, begun in 1924, to enter the U.S.
      -- Certificate of Registry, for proof of entry, if arrived before July 1924 and no original arrival record could be located.
      After 1924, had to apply for it.
      Alien Registrations
      First begun in 1789, against France.
      "Enemy alien registration" -- came up in August 1940, only during times of conflict  (WWI, II)
      To fingerprint and create a record of every non-citizen.  In June 1940, it was all non-citizens, 14 years or older.
      For non-enemy alien registrations , everybody else: started in World War I, now run by the states.  Some use forms, some use court minutes, some have photos, some not.
      After World War I, Congress told the states  to destroy the records of enemy alien registrations.  Some did destroy them, some didn't.  After World War II, Congress never told the states to destroy the records, so they are now permanent records.
      Locating WW I Alien Registration Records -- while most were destoryed, Kansas, Phoenix, AZ, St. Paul, MN, Allen County, Indiana do have records, indexed by the National Archives ARC database, with a keyword seardh.
      WW II Alien Registration Records -- USCIS 1940-44-- on microfilm and available upon request.
      Naturalization and Alien Records Research Tools:
      1) NARA ARC-- Archival Rseearch Catalogue 
      .keyword search
      2)  Family History Library Catalogue, with keyword search
      3) State Archives Records Search
      Lynn's Part 3) USCIS   www.uscis.gov
      Genealogy research -- USCIS's genealogy program was created in 2008
      In May 2009, it went online as a "fee for service" operation which includes online e-ordering.
      Lynn advises using this short url:  www.uscis.gov/genealogy
      Some of the records you can get:
      -- those naturalized between Sept. 1906 and March 1956
      -- those who immigrated between July 1924 and May 1951
      -- pre-1906 records that have been updated, changed or corrected
      -- those who were alive and registered under the 1940 Alien Registration Act
      -- Naturalization Certificate Files (C Files)
      -- Registry Files, 1929-44
      -- Visa Files, 1924-1944
      Probably up til 1946 now, since 75 years of privacy on files
      USCIS does NOT have:
      -- records stored at NARA and regional offices
      -- state archive records
      -- those locally held
      Lynn's Part 4 -- Two Types of USCIS Services
      1) Index search -- $20 online  (G-1041)
      2) Record copy requst with valid record citations (USCIS file numbers)
            $20/35   (G-1041A)

      "I recommend your print the forms first then go back and fill them out online," Lynn said.  "I highly recommend that you use the request form for the index search."  Your fee is nonrefundable.
      They don't blackline redacted material, but delete it.
      A single immigrant may have several USCIS records.  File an index search!
      They will want a death certificate on a person you're requesting, 100 years of privacy from date of birth.  They will ask you to upload a death certificate.
      Art Yates noted they will also accept obituary notices.
      Archival Research Catalogue -- ARC -- use keywords to isolate and refine your search.
      What else is at NARA? Records of passports and concentration camps.
      Archives -- Sacramento has California records, San Francisco has all other states.
      Art suggested checking with the county firest -- he has found some records online, such as Westchester County, New York.
      Lynn Brown can be reached at lgbrown@...
      From the (free) Genealogy in Time Magazine Newsletter:
      Spain – The Spanish website Routes of Sefarad has created an excellent mapping system allowing people to explore their Jewish ancestry in Spain. Basically, the website provides an interactive multimedia experience to trace your Sephardic heritage. The website is in English and it is definitely worth exploring. [Jewish Ancestry in Spain]
      Philadelphia Passenger Lists –FamilySearch.org has indexed some 454,000 records of Philadelphia passenger lists, for passengers who entered the port of Philadelphia from 1800 to 1882. Access is free. [Historic Philadelphia Passenger Lists]
      Don's List
      Burt Hecht passes on a valuable genealogy website that includes information for Pittsburg, for example, and many others links to U.S. research and beyond.
      See you Sunday, January 20, 2013
    • SusanneLevitsky@...
      June 29, 2015 Upcoming Meetings: July – No meeting Sunday, August 2 (note date change) – Valerie Jordan, Uncovering Family Secrets Through Genealogy
      Message 46 of 46 , Jun 29
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        June 29, 2015
        Upcoming Meetings:
                   July – No meeting
        Sunday, 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, 2105
        President 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 Fisch 
                    Vice-Presidents in charge of programming – Sheri Venezia, Dave Reingold
                    Secretary – Susanne Levitsky
                    Treasurer – 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 heirlooms
        Conservators 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 Mokotoff
        BBC 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 GuardianDaily 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
        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!
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