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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 47 , 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@...
      Upcoming Meetings: --Sunday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m. – Glenn Kurtz, “Three Minutes inPoland – Discovery of a Lost World in a 1938 Film” --Sunday, Oct. 18, 10
      Message 47 of 47 , Aug 17
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        Upcoming Meetings:
        --Sunday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m. – Glenn Kurtz, “Three Minutes in Poland – Discovery of a Lost World in a 1938 Film”
        --Sunday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m., Susan Miller, “Jews in a Moslem World”

        JGSS minutes for meeting on August 2, 2015
        Mort Rumberg took the minutes for Susanne Levitsky who was not present.  (Thanks, Mort!)
        President Victoria Fisch made several announcements concerning scheduling and various genealogical events. She noted that the JGSS will participate in the annual Food Faire on August 30. Volunteers are welcome.
        Mort provided a quick tour of his eight days in Israel for the 35th annual International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. He has a data stick with about two-dozen speaker handouts. The conference program was passed around and if people would like a copy of a conference presentation’s handout, email Mort and he will forward it (his email address is below). He noted that not all presentations had handouts. He said it was an incredible experience being there and would like to return and see the many other sights he missed.
        President Fisch introduced the speaker, Dr. Valerie Jordan, who spoke about Family Secrets and Genealogy – how genealogy may intentionally or accidentally uncover hidden family secrets.
        Dr. Jordan is a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, now retired. Born and raised in New York City, she came to California in 1977. She is a second generation American from Odessa (her maternal great-great grandmother), and from Bucharest (her maternal grandmother). She passed around photos of a very handsome couple (her grandmother and grandfather) and a family photo showing four generations.
        Valerie defined secrets as being an intentional concealment of information from others. The information can be shameful, painful, or harmful to others. She differentiated this from privacy, which she defined as a person not wanting to share information, but the information is not shameful, painful, or harmful. She also differentiated it from unknown or forgotten information or stories.
        When would you intentionally tell people of a family secret? These are some of the times: When they are “old” enough to handle the information; when a specific milestone or family event is reached and it is appropriate; when symptoms or distress becomes unmanageable and needs to be revealed.
        Secrets take many forms. Valerie discussed the following examples of secrets that families may not want revealed:
        Religious secrets – possible crypto or converso Jews in the family history.
        Biological secrets – she gave the example of Bobby Darin’s story where he was devastated when he discovered that his “sister” was actually his mother.
        Secret families – Charles Lindbergh had seven secret children.
        Political secrets – Perhaps someone in the family having, for example, a communist party background – “red” diaper babies, slavery secrets
        Secret affairs
        Mental health secrets – such as suicide, addictions, mental illness, sexual orientation/identity, abuse, etc.
        Adoption secrets
        Incarceration secrets
        Military service secrets
        Next, Valerie discussed genograms. Genograms are charts or pictorial displays used in family therapy and medicine to gather family history, relationship patterns, stories and medical histories. It displays medical history and family stories in a creative and non-genealogical chart. The charts use symbols and terms to describe family members and their relationships and are used by many therapists. She provided examples of such charts using Martin Luther King, Jr.’s family and Bill Clinton’s family.
        Obviously these types of charts have advantages and disadvantages.
        Advantages include obtaining useful information in a collaberative and engaging manner; observing family patterns across generations; collecting stories of resilience and hardships; possibly uncovering toxic family secrets and unknown relationships.
        Disadvantages include providing too much detail; exposing secrets too soon; too much focus on the past; identifying relationships that a client or family member may not be ready for or even want to know. There can be little information available or too few relatives to ask.
        Genograms are different from genealogical family trees: vital statistics and absolutely correct data are not essential, since the focus of a genogram chart is on relationships and stories. However, these charts can be useful as an adjunct to family trees.
        Valerie discussed secrets within her own family, indicating that she had known the “story” her mother told her in 1967 about her maternal grandfather, but subsequently found out that her mother’s story was “wrong.” Research convinced her that her mother’s story was wrong, possibly hiding a secret. She used census data, naturalization documents, passport and travel documents, city directories, marriage certificates, and his obituary in a Marin County newspaper in May, 1962, to flesh out her family story. The information was displayed in a genogram. She is still looking for more details.
        This presentation was extraordinarily interesting and exceptional for the questions and audience participation it stimulated.
        Mort has a copy of her PowerPoint presentation and it is available upon request. Send an email to mortrumberg1@....
        Morton M. Rumberg
        From Gary Mokotoff’s Avotaynu E-Zines:

        New Website Identifies Victims of Disasters
        Was a member of your genealogical family the victim of a train wreck, significant fire, flood, shipwreck, plane crash or other disaster? The Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter notes there is a website, http://www3.gendisasters.com, that identifies such persons.

        The authors of the site must have spent hundred of hours copying newspaper accounts of the disaster and lists of the persons dead and injured or missing. There are 99 air disasters for New York State alone. The well-known Triangle Shirtwaist fire is included, of course. There are 90 overall results for persons names Cohen.

        Site Identifies More Than 5,000 Facebook Sites That Focus On Genealogy
        Katherine R. Willson of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has undertaken the monumental task of identifying more than 5,000 Facebook sites that focus on genealogy. The Jewish section has 25 entries.

        The number of Facebook sites devoted to Jewish genealogy is even greater because the list does not cross-reference a number of items. For example, not included in the Jewish portion is “Jewish Memory, History & Genealogy in Moldova” which is found only in the Moldova section, and “Dutch Jewish Genealogy” found only in the Netherlands section. It would be wise to first examine the Jewish list and then use your browser’s search engine to locate any item on the list that has the word “Jewish” or “Jews” in its name. This also applies to place names. Toronto Facebook sites appear in numerous sections.

        Browse the Table of Contents to understand the scope and organization of the list. The database is located at https://moonswings.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/ genealogy-on-facebook-list-aug-2015.pdf.

        “Right To Be Forgotten” May Be Spreading
        If you are interested in following the battle over the European Union’s “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling, the New York Times has published a comprehensive article about the subject describing the position of the rule’s advocates as well as opponents. It is at http://tinyurl.com/R2BForgotten. Another lengthy discussion can be found at https://euobserver.com/opinion/129823.

        NARA and Ancestry.com Plan To Renew Their Partnership Agreement
        For seven years the U.S National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) and Ancestry.com have operated under an agreement where Ancestry.com and its subsidiary Fold3 can scan documents at the Archives and have exclusive use to these images for five years. Ancestry is permitted to charge for access to the documents. After five years, NARA can use the images in any way it cares to, including making them available to the public at no charge.

        The two organizations are now renewing the agreement with some changes that benefit the genealogical community.
           • The five-year embargo previously started when Ancestry.com placed the images online at their site. Now the clock will start running when they complete the scanning process. Apparently it can take up to two years for Ancestry to place the images online, so the clock will start earlier.
           • The updated agreement encourages Ancestry to post segments of large collections immediately rather than waiting for the entire collection to be completed.
           • The new agreement outlines NARA’s commitment to protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and more specifically spells out Ancestry’s responsibilities if PII is identified.

        Kaunas City Government Agrees to Maintain Jewish Cemetery
        Lithuanian governments at all levels have been severely criticized by some Jewish organizations for refusing to recognize government complicity in the murder of Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust period. Now the Kaunas City Municipality has agreed to maintain a Jewish cemetery in its city at the request of Maceva, the organization involved in maintaining and documenting the remaining Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania. The city plans to tend to the cemetery in several stages and has allocated €8,000 for the inventory and identification of graves. Additional information is at http://tinyurl.com/KaunasJewishCemetery. It includes a number of photographs of the current condition of the cemetery.

        Maceva has its own site at http://www.litvak-cemetery.info/en. Its home page includes a map of Lithuania showing the location of all known Jewish cemeteries.

        Maceva Matching Grant Program. An anonymous donor has offered a matching grant up to $5,000 for the Maceva Cemetery Project. All donations to Maceva made between August 4 and August 31 are eligible to be included in this offer. Go to http://www.litvaksig.org/contribute to make a donation. Select "Maceva Cemetery Project" as the Special Project.

        “New” Database: Name Changes in the Palestine Gazette
        The Israel Genealogy Research Association is adding more databases to their site at http://genealogy.org.il/. One of them, “Name Changes in the Palestine Gazette,” is a list of more than 28,000 persons, mostly Jews, who legally changed their names while living in Palestine during the British Mandate period from 1921–1948. This database has an interesting history.

        I (Gary Mokotoff) am known for creating some of the earliest—pre-Internet—databases for Jewish genealogy including today’s JewishGen Family Finder and the Family Tree of the Jewish People. A lesser known one is titled “Name Changes in the Palestine Gazette.” This minor database has significance today because it was the genesis of the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System.

        The story: At the Jerusalem conference held in 1984, I met the late Rabbi Shmuel Gorr, who was one of the first professional Jewish genealogists. He wrote to me a few months later, knowing I was in the computer services business, stating he wanted to create a database of Jews who legally changed their name during the British Mandate period. These names were published in the official publication called the “Palestine Gazette.” He’d send me photocopies of the pages from the “Gazette” and I’d computerize the list organizing them by original name and new name. This database was valuable to genealogy because many people knew they had relatives who made aliyah (immigration) during the 1920s and 1930s and changed their name but they did not know the new name.

        The list was compiled, placed on microfiche, and distributed to all Jewish Genealogical Societies.

        The project was the genesis of the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System. At that time, I observed that the European names being changed had many spelling variants. Being familiar with the American Soundex System developed by Robert Russell in 1918, I applied this system to the European names and found it did not work. One significant problem was that those names spelled interchangeably with the letter w or v, for example, the names Moskowitz and Moskovitz, did not have the same soundex code. So I developed by own soundex system and applied it to the Palestine Gazette names. This modification to the U.S. soundex system was published in the first issue of AVOTAYNU, in an article titled "Proposal for a Jewish Soundex Code." Randy Daitch read the article and made significant improvements to what I had developed. The joint effort became known as the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System which today is used by JewishGen; the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) for retrieving case histories; and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It can be used to search the Ellis Island database of 24 million immigrants at the Stephen P. Morse One-Step site.
        See you at the end of September.
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