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Genealogy Update

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  • SusanneLevitsky@...
    March 5, 2013 Upcoming Meetings: Discovering a Family Branch That Survived the Holocaust -- Shlomo Rosenfeld Sunday, March 17, 10 a.m., Albert Einstein
    Message 1 of 58 , Mar 5, 2013

      March 5, 2013
      Upcoming Meetings:
      Discovering a Family Branch That Survived the Holocaust -- Shlomo Rosenfeld
      Sunday, March 17, 10 a.m., Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento
      Shlomo Rosenfeld of Berkeley will talk about his family discovery, learning about some of the Rosenfelds who survived the Holocaust, living relatives his father did not know about.
      Shlomo, who was born in Tel Aviv, says his detective story started about two years ago, when he found an old family envelope and correspondence along with records from the German Lodz ghetto. Using birth and marriage records, he was able to trace his family back to the mid-1700s.  When Israel's Yad Vashem posted Holocaust archive records, Shlomo found a living branch of his family.  He and his sister now have three newly discovered second cousins, whom he's met in the Bay Area, Florida and Israel.
      Sunday, March 24, 2013, 2 p.m., Davis  
      "A Walk Through the Jewish Gen Website" -- Bob Wascou
      Congregation Bet Haverim, Davis
      Sunday,  April 14, 10 a.m., Sacramento
      "Return to Galicia, Land of My Ancestors" -- Sherry Venezia  
       Albert Einstein Residence Center.
      February 17, 2013 Meeting Notes
      Program Chair and Past President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order. He passed around several recent articles -- "genealogy is in all the papers!"  They included an obituary of someone deeply involved in genealogy; a story from The Forward on an Italian converso finding his roots; a genealogist focusing on African-American research; and more.
      The Sacramento Central Library continues to hold genealogy classes.  you can also book a genealogist for a free consultation.  Call 916-264-2920 for details.
      April 28 is the date set for this year's Jewish Heritage Festival, to be held at 20th and Capitol.  We'll have a table -- if you'd like to spend a half hour or an hour and volunteer, then get a chance to see all the others booths, let Mort know.  "It's a fun day," he says.  Art Yates added, "Wear your JGSS T-shirts!"
      Upcoming meetings were announced -- see above.
      The recent February presentation in Davis, on Super Bowl Sunday, generated five new members.
      If you haven't yet paid your $25 dues for 2013, you need to do it.  And Bob Wascou is seeking someone to take over the treasurer's job from him.  "Most of the work is done online," Bob says.  His time is increasingly occupied as the research coordinator for ROM-SIG (Romanian Special Interest Group).  They are focusing on a project involving Bucharest vital records.
      Mort said a slate of officers for the coming year will be put together soon -- "Join us and help us get some new blood involved in the organization."
      Teven Laxer said the Jewish Film Festival is coming up in March, with another day added.  It will start Thursday, March 7 and run through the 10th.
      He mentioned the PJ Library organized by the Jewish Federation -- every month children get a free book by mail.  It's free to participate.
      Art Yates mentioned that you can sign up now for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, to be held at the Burbank Marriott, June 7-9.
      Our February presentation was a talk entitled "Doings in the Cemetery," presented by our president, Victoria Fisch, and Jeremy Frankel, president of the Bay Area JGS.  They focused on how Jewish tradition in deaths and burials can aid genealogy research.  Victoria asked that no notes be provided on their talk, as it is copyrighted material.
      From the February 23 and March 3 E-Zines, by Avotaynu's Gary Mokotoff:
      Connecticut Considering Ban on Access to Death Records
      Reacting to attempts by the public to access the death records of the 20 children and six adults shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Connecticut state legislature is considering a bill to restrict public access to records for any children under age 18.
      Specifically, the proposed law states that the copy of the public record could be restricted “when the disclosure of the death certificate is likely to cause undue hardship for the family of the child.” Playing the identify theft card, one town official proposed to the legislature that the public should be denied access to all death certificates. Read an article from the Hartford Courant on the proposal here http://tinyurl.com/CTDeathCert.
      Hi Tech in Grave Identification: Version 4
      There have been many attempts to integrate today’s technology with grave identification.

      1. The simplest was the suggestion that a grave be identified in a genealogical database by its latitude/longitude using GPS (Ground Positioning Satellite) data.

      2. Some years ago, a company, Memory Medallion (http://memorymedallion.com) offered placing a microchip in a tombstone that contained information about the deceased including text, photos, videos, etc.

      http://avotaynu.com/Gifs/NWN/QRCodeCatalog.png 3. Memory Medallion has now upgraded their technology by offering a QR code option to the microchip. Scanning the code with a smartphone links to a website that describes the life of the deceased through text, photos, videos, etc, etc., etc. The company has announced plans to link to family trees on FamilySearch. Can links to Geni, MyHeritage, Ancestry be far behind?

      The latest, fourth, innovation is by Otter Creek Holdings, parent company of BillionGraves.com. No chip, no QR code, just use their LegacyTec app on your smartphone, take a picture of the tombstone, and the app will bring up headstone details from BillionGraves, Family Search, My Legacy Memorial “and other sites.”

      American Version of Who Do You Think You Are? To Be On TLC
      Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter is reporting that the American version of Who Do You Think You Are? is returning to television and will be on cable channel TLC. Despite apparent popularity, the show was cancelled by NBC last year.

      As proof of its return, the pop rock star, Kelly Clarkson, was recently spotted in Americus, Georgia, prior to filming her segment of the program at the Andersonville National Historic Site. The location is the home of a notorious Confederate military prison where 45,000 soldiers were held during the Civil War and 13,000 died.

      From the JGS of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County:
      Harriet Rochlin, publisher of a Western Jewish History blog, has reviewed the above-mentioned book and describes it as, “Edited by Dalia Taft, archivist for the Orange County Jewish Historical Society, Jewish Pioneers of Orange County: The Jewish Community of Orange County, California from the 1850s – 1970s is the first comprehensive book about the Jewish community in the area. The book includes updated versions of every Orange County article from the Western States Jewish Journal, personal histories written by long-time residents, and a section ofJewish ads and newspaper announcements from the 1870s to the 1960s. The book can be purchased through the Orange County Jewish Historical Society by emailing historical@... or calling 949-435-3484.

      Published February 24, 2013, 12:00 AM
      DNA testing goes mainstream with genealogy enthusiasts
      Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune
      CHICAGO — As she swabbed the inside of his cheek, Patt Heise assured her 84-year-old father that she wasn’t crazy, just curious.
      She mailed off the saliva sample and waited for results. Her dad died a month later, too early to find out what DNA testing had revealed — a list of potential relatives from all over the world and a migration chart dating back to Adam.
      That would be “Genetic Adam,” who lived between 70,000 and 140,000 years ago in Africa, scientists believe.
      Heise, 61, of Palatine, Ill., acknowledges she is overwhelmed with the information but eager to use it to fill in her family tree.
      “I really would like to see a book on ‘DNA for Dummies,’” she said.
      Genetic testing for genealogists has gone mainstream, with costs plummeting as private companies refine their techniques and improve the accuracy of results. For as little as $99, anyone can order a do-it-yourself kit that comes in the mail, then submit their spit for analysis and receive results within six weeks.
      Genealogy hobbyists liken the quest to track their family tree to a scavenger hunt, laden with clues, surprises and dead ends. For some, a snippet of genetic material has helped confirm a specific family tie or provide new leads when a paper trail has run cold. Others have blown up ancestral land mines along the way, shredding oft-repeated family stories or, as in Heise’s case, discovering a notorious distant relative.
      “I found out I was related to Charles Manson — eeewww,” Heise said. Her e-mail is filled with messages from strangers, at least one in German, asking about her family lineage because of DNA test results.
      Recently, scientists used the technology to confirm the identity of a skeleton buried beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, as King Richard III, who died in battle in 1485. The scientists matched the bones to two living maternal-line relatives, according to the University of Leicester, which conducted the analysis along with radiocarbon dating and a skeletal exam.
      Closer to home, not everyone is excited about the DNA technology, as some remain cautious about privacy or simply don’t see the need, such as Heise’s dad. But for others who are adopted or are trying to explain a gap in their family tree, the tests may provide a crucial breakthrough, experts said.
      “I think a lot of people find it of use to them, personally, especially if they are searching for a form of identity they are able to uncover in this way,” said Noah Rosenberg, associate professor at Stanford University’s Department of Biology and expert in evolutionary biology and genetics.
      “Many people have a missing relative or have a parent die young and are searching for some kind of connection,” he said. “We see a significant trend where African-Americans are searching for some understanding of the populations from which their ancestors originated from Africa.”
      There are no federal regulations that govern the direct-to-consumer ancestry tests, said Hank Greely, a Stanford law professor who specializes in the ethical, legal and social implications of new biomedical technologies.
      “Basically, both state and federal regulation only cover tests sold or done for health purposes,” Greely wrote in an e-mailed response to questions.
      “I would note that various false advertising statutes and regulations could be applied to genealogical testing — and, frankly, I think some of the sites are not always very clear about what they can and cannot detect.”
      Meanwhile, as more people contribute their own DNA to the mix, the pool of potential genetic matches grows. Private companies store the saliva samples and promise more information in years to come — for additional fees — as technology improves.
      Drawing from the large databases, scientists have been able to determine where groups of people who share matching threads of DNA likely came from and where they migrated.
      Terri O’Connell, 41, of Chicago learned through Ancestry.com that she is 37 percent Scandinavian, “which I thought was a little weird. I am Irish, German and Hungarian,” she said.
      “The percentage was rather large,” said O’Connell, who expects the company to release more information this year. “On their website, they group together people they think are related to you. ... I have almost 100 people in this list. It will break it down like, ‘We think you are fourth or fifth cousin.’”
      O’Connell started studying her family’s Irish lineage because she was young when her grandparents died.
      “I wanted to know who they were and what they went through,” said O’Connell, who was saddened by some of what she found. “They had these big families ... but by the time you look back again, half the kids had died.”
      Early on, the DNA tests used in genealogy were limited to studying the male’s Y chromosome, which is transmitted from father to son going back generations. The maternal line is traced in a different test, which looks at the mitochondrial DNA, known as mtDNA, which a mother passes to her children.
      More recently, Ancestry.com began offering a full genome — or “autosomal” — test that analyzes all 23 chromosomes at more than 700,000 places. The test provides a more recent snapshot of the maternal and paternal line, experts said.
      “It’s like a unique fingerprint that only you have,” said Ken Chahine, senior vice president and general manager of AncestryDNA. “By having that many locations that we can identify, we create a unique signature for you.”
      Family Tree DNA, based in Houston, sold about 300 kits when it first offered the service in 2000, President Bennett Green­span said. Last year, “it was tens of thousands of kits.”
      For $219, the test now offers 11 times more information than it did the first year, while increasing the numbers of DNA markers identified, he said. The particular region of the DNA that is analyzed is called a marker. A test that examines more markers can be expected to provide more specific information.
      “Over time, you can start doing more and more,” Greenspan said. “If you were to test your mother and your father ... you start matching more people, you figure out what line that came from.”
      The company has more than 400,000 people in its database, many of whom have discovered common ancestors, he said.
      “The U.S. population is actually far more related than what people first thought,” Greenspan said.
      Potentially misleading
      The Chicago-based National Society of Genetic Counselors cautions consumers about DNA testing that reveals both ancestral and medical information. The tests can be misleading if left unexplained by a professional counselor, company president Rebecca Nagy said.
      “One of the biggest drawbacks to these tests is they are only testing for a few genetic markers, and those few markers represent the tip of the iceberg,” Nagy said.
      Some people have contacted her office, concerned about results that showed they were at risk of developing cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, while ignoring the bigger medical picture.
      “Be prepared for what you learn, and know what questions to ask so you know what the implications might be,” she advised.
      In 2007, a company called 23andMe began offering both medical and ancestry information for $999, a spokeswoman said. Today, a more encompassing version costs $99 and promises 250 reports, including ethnic breakdowns and health risks.
      “Whatever science can tell you about your DNA, we want to make it available,” said spokeswoman Catherine Afarian, adding that participants can choose not to view their health report. “We try to build in control and choice.”
      For amateur genealogists like Heise, the information on her ancestry alone is enough to keep her busy for years. She has bins of documents left to sort through and 137 new potential relatives to track down, courtesy of DNA.
      She has confirmed that her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was a member of the “French 500” who settled in Gallipolis, Ohio.
      “There are people all over the world who are doing this,” she said, “which is exciting and overwhelming at the same time.”
      See you at our next meeting, Sunday, March 17!
    • SusanneLevitsky@...
      March 28, 2017 Upcoming Meetings: Sunday, April 16 -- Finding Unknown Relatives -- Victoria Fisch Sunday, May 21 -- Documenting Your Family Heirlooms --
      Message 58 of 58 , Mar 28
        March 28, 2017
        Upcoming Meetings:
        Sunday, April 16 -- "Finding Unknown Relatives" -- Victoria Fisch
        Sunday, May 21 -- "Documenting Your Family Heirlooms" -- Teven Laxer
        Sunday, June 11 -- "Gathering Personal Narratives" -- Mary Ellen Burns
        Of interest:
        The annual IAGJS conference is being held this year in Orlando, FL, the last week of July. Registration is now open.
        Saturday, May 6 is the annual Root Cellar Spring Seminar, with Judy Russell, the legal genealogist, as the featured speaker. The seminar runs from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and is held at the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. Cost is $35 for nonmembers and it books us fast. Go to www.rootcellar.org and click on "Spring Seminar" on the left.
        Jewish Heritage Day this year is Sunday, May 7, to be held this year at the Scottish Rite Temple. Our JGS usually has a table and is always looking for volunteers to help with staffing for a few hours.
        February and March program review:
        March 19, 2017 -- Tony Chakurian
        "Using the Autosomal DNA Website GEDMatch.com"
        Tony, a member of our JGS board, noted that there are different types of DNA tests -- featuring the Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, Autosomal DNA and X -DNA.
        Y-DNA focuses on the Y chromosome and follows the paternal lines, only passed on from father to son. Only males can be tested.  It stays the same for multiple generations and can be used to trace a surname.
        Mitochondrial DNA -- This follows the maternal line, passed on from mother to daughter but also to sons. But won't be passed along by sons.  Tony noted you can go back thousands of years with this.
        Autosomal DNA -- Being tested the most by Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and 23 and Me. It tests the DNA first 22 chromosomes. The DNA is shared from each parent. Siblings have different combinations of their parents' DNA.  (Usually test multiple family members, different matches.)
        You can only go back 5-6 generations.
        X-DNA -- This involves the sex chromosome, men only get one from their mother. GEDMatch pulls it out and uses as a tool.)
        Free DNA comparison website.
        Allows comparisons from the three major companies doing DNA testing (Ancestry DNA, Family Tree DNA and 23 and Me.)
        Several free DNA analyzing tools.
        Limited to people who uploaded their data; has additional fee-based  (Tier I) DNA analyzing tools.
        Analyze your DNA
        If you have data from your parents, can put together what DNA you don't have.
        Free DNA Analyzing Tools:
        1-1 autosomal
        1- many DNA comparisons
        DNA measured in centimorgans -- if you share individual matching segments 7 cms or more, potentially related to that person ( +700 SNPs)
        The larger the number of matching segments, the more closely you're related
        Parent/child -- about 3400
        Grandparent, about 1700
        3rd cousin -- about 53.13
        4th cousin, about 13.28
        These are rules of thumb, not exact numbers

        X-DNA -- Family Tree DNA uses one centimorgan as a match.
        Admixture (Heritage) -- different from the other three DNA companies. A lot of different models, not just ethnicity. Look at geography, regions, archeological info, etc.
        Phasing -- you can put in father or mother's DNA
                    pull out to create father's DNA if you have mother.

        Fee-based tests -- $10/month for all, or you can pay for one month only    
        -- matching segment search
        -- triangulation
        -- Lazarus
        similar to phasing, but involves deceased ancestor, 2nd great-grandfather for example
        can enter cousins' kits, can put those matches into a profile if are related to that ancestor
        can put in kits from three different companies
        If parents aren't tested, get them tested.
        February 26, 2017 -- Jeremy Frankel

        "Some Challenges When Searching for Jewish Ancestors in England"
        Jeremy Frankel has been president of the Bay Area JGS for the past 16 years and has been doing research, internationally and in the U.S., for more than 30 years.
        In his presentation, he focused on England and Wales. He said a number of people came to the UK who didn't go to other countries, although the vast majority did leave.
        In 1882, there were about 46,000 Jewish people in the UK. "Jewish people were never more than 1 percent," Jeremy said. In 2011, there were 269,568.  In the United States today, there are about 2 percent of the population.
        Vital records --
        Civil registration was taken over from the church in 1837 -- births, marriages and deaths were registered; after six weeks you would have to pay to do so. Jeremy noted that within 10 to 20 years, there was a high compliance rate.
        Every quarter, the registrations would be sent to London.  Even today, he said you can order anything from 1837 to now --"none of this privacy business we have here."
        In the last few months, records have included the mother's maiden name, "an absolute godsend," since you don't have to guess which record in yours.
        Death index -- includes the age of death
        Free BMD
                    -- presentation style better than Ancestry Find My Past
                    -- can put in "all types"
                    -- get BMD all in one
                    -- can use asterisks
        Jews -- if get married in a synagogue, don't have to registry civilly at the registry office
         32 columns of information in 1980 (1911, for UK, Wales, 16 columns)
         1921 census -- to be released in 2022.  Taken on June 19th, 1921, so people may be listed at the seaside, on holiday.
        1931 -- 26th of April   (census destroyed in WW II, so for 30 years, nada from 1921-1951)
        1941 -- WW II, no census
        19521 -- April 8
        1961 --25th April
        Except -- 1939-- people registered, not a census, very basic, but exact dates of birth so could issue national identity cards.  Continues to be used by British National Health Service
        "Find my Past" redacted entries for people thought to be alive
        Sources for Searching Online
        General Register Office -- https://www.gro.gov.uk
        British Jewry -- website with databases, free but register first.
        Free BMD -- England, Wales 1837-1984
                    Finding My Past has the whole thing up to 2007
        JCR -- UK -- on JewishGen, free
                    cemeteries, marriages -- plug name in and everything comes up
        JGS Greater Britain -- members only
        Cemetery Scribes
        Synagogue Scribes
        Britain from Above -- aerial/oblique views of UK back to the 1920s.
        Google Earth/Street View --modern look at locations
                    British Newspaper Archive (fee for service) -- 1700s to 1950s
        "Challenging" finding evidence of your family member in the paper unless arrested, married
        Jewish Chronicle -- from 1841 -- oldest Jewish language English paper in the world
                    My Heritage put online 1841-1999, now free
                    Search engine "awful."
        London Gazette (also Edinburgh, Belfast) -- free, official paper of record: bankruptcies, name changes, naturalizations
        Social Media
        Facebook sites included "Tracing the Tribe, Jewish London Genealogy and Family Research (also maintains spreadsheet for headstone image requests), Jewish East End of London (memories and reminiscenses, photos), Stepney and Wapping (memories).
        Ordering Certificates -- suggestion, before you order, look at Google certificates to see what they contain.
        A book that may be of interest:
        From Postcard America by Jeffrey L. Meikle.
        Always popular, the so-called "bird's-eye view" map of U.S. cities and towns became a mania in the wake of railroad development and more widespread travel. Between 1825 and 1875, thousands of panoramic maps were produced. Every town had to have one to remain competitive in attracting industry and immigrants, and they often exaggerated the favorable characteristics of the town -- sometimes to the point of fraud. A comprehensive collection of these prints is maintained by the Library of Congress, with some reprinted and sold to this day:
         "Unlike European cities or those of the East Coast, which had developed over centuries and seemed to possess an organic integrity, American cities of the Midwest and West began as haphazard affairs hastily thrown up, expanding in a process of creative destruction, with even relatively permanent structures like city halls, courthouses, and churches lasting no more than a decade or so before being replaced by new construction. Chicago, for example, developed in sixty years from a frontier outpost into a sprawling city, the center of mid­western trade and manufacturing, whose leaders had envisioned its utopian fu­ture in the white neoclassical structures of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. 
        Bird's-eye view of Chicago as it was before the great fire. 1871
        "Nineteenth-century boosters of other new settlements did not hesi­tate to misrepresent them as bustling metropolises, hives of industry where any ambitious migrant could grasp material fortune. From the 1820s to the end of the nineteenth century, printers produced so-called bird's-eye views of virtually every American city, town, and hamlet, some 2,400 places altogether. A typical bird's-eye view, usually in color after about 1850, was a lithograph based on a meticulous imaginary drawing encompassing an entire locality rendered in per­spective from an impossibly high point of view.
        Such a print showed local geographical features in detail, such as streets in the standard grid pattern and individually recognizable buildings, all conveyed in an illusion of three­-dimensionality with the precision of a mapmaker. Although bird's-eye views did not follow picturesque landscape conventions, they typically embedded a city or town in a pristine natural realm defined by ocean, lake, river, or mountains.
        San Francisco. Bird's-eye view drawn lithographed by C.B. Gifford. 1864
        "As happened with natural landscapes, the introduction of photography sub­stantially transformed and popularized urban views. From the very beginning photography was used to encompass a city as a whole, to unite its diverse array of often conflicting bits and pieces. ... Around 1850 daguerreotypists began imitating the effects of bird's-eye city views by aiming their cameras from upper-story windows, looking over rooftops or down a street.
        Other daguerreo­typists recorded panoramas of such cities as Cincinnati and San Francisco by exposing multiple plates, one after the other, arranged to yield a continuous picture that could reach six feet in length. These multi-plate panoramas, which were intended to promote a sense of unity, even grandeur, also inadvertently revealed the ramshackle quality of much urban construction. While an artist could idealize a city by altering details in a bird's-eye lithograph, a daguerreotypist had no choice but to record what was in front of the camera. Because a panorama presented an extended horizontal continuum without a break, it of­ten revealed less than perfect details. However, framing devices at each end -- a harbor, a ring of background hills, thick vegetation -- could circumscribe a city, no matter how provisional or chaotic, within a picturesque framework."
        Bird's-eye view of Los Angeles, California.
                               See you at our April 18 meeting (Easter Sunday).
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