Genealogy Meeting Oct. 17
- Coming up for our next meeting, Monday, October 17, 7 p.m.
Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento
“City Directories -- Clues to Your Family Tree”
John Powell is a professional genealogist with a probate research firm as
well as a licensed private investigator. He’ll talk about his work tracing
genealogies to locate the nearest living relatives for estate distribution. During
the last ten years he’s solved hundreds of genealogies ranging from missing
children to cases involving more than 800 cousins.
One valuable tool? City directories. He’ll share tips on how to use the
directories to trace families from year to year and offer several clues to using
other records that help in compiling a more complete family tree.
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Allan Bonderoff, JGSS treasurer and a resident of the Einstein Center,
advises of us that they’re seeking volunteers to staff their snack room on Mondays
and Wednesdays, 11:30 to 1 p.m. The volunteer would be responsible for making
sandwiches and handling money. For details, contact the Einstein Center.
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September 19, 2005 Minutes
Vice President Burt Hecht opened the meeting. He noted that the International
Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies is seeking nominations for its
Stern Awards, including grants to local organizations and achievement awards
for outstanding contributions by Internet or electronic form; outstanding
program or project advancing the organization’s objections, and outstanding
Burt mentioned that the Web site of the Houston Jewish community,
www.houstonjewish.org is providing information for Hurricane Katrina victims in the area.
Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer’s report: there is a balance of
$805.85 in our account.
In addition to John Powell on Monday evening, October 17, we will host author
Stuart Tower on Sunday morning, November 20 and the infamous Steve Morse on
Sunday morning, December 18. Mark your calendars!
Family History Day at the State Archives will be held October 15; Art Yates
is in charge. He and other members will staff a table.
September speaker: Dr. Daniel Khazzoom, Memoirs of Baghdad
Dr. Daniel Khazzoom was featured at our September meeting. He has been
writing his memoirs over the last three years and gave an impassioned description
of life growing up in Baghdad’s Jewish community.
He described the Babylonian Jewish community as going back 2800 years. “We
were the refuge for Jews from all over the Roman Empire,” he said. Twice a
year, a Babylonian Academy was held, with Jews coming from around the world.
Dr. Khazzoom grew up as one of ten children, not uncommon at that time, given
the high male infant mortality. Girls often went to substandard schools, but
Dr. Khazzoom recounted his parents' interest in education and efforts to
bring high quality teachers for all children.
Dr. Khazzoom was taught to swim using floaters of palm trees.
He illustrated his talk with photos from his childhood, including family
members and schools. He showed one photo of King Faisal of Iraq, who was enamored
with the Jewish schools and would often visit them.
In discussing Jewish community customs, he noted that his family didn't light
candles on the Sabbath but rather lit bowls filled with oil and water and
hung from the ceiling. He showed a photo of a kiddush cup with a dove of peace,
usually on top of a six-pointed star. "And we didn't send greeting cards at
Rosh Hashana, but rather at Passover," he said.
"For my bar mitzvah, we had a big celebration at home, not at the synagogue."
He didn't know his birthday, as Jews didn't celebrate birthdays. Rather they
celebrated the accomplishments of the person. "When my sister got married,
my father told her her birthday," he said. "I had to do detective work to find
In 1951, he left for Israel at age 17, where he immediately faced heavy rains
and floods in his new location. "That year was our Katrina."
In the second half of his remarks Dr. Khazzoom described Iraq's history of
violence. It wasn't always that way -- "my dad cherished memories of the
Turks," he said.
In 1932, Iraq became an independent country, with King Faisal on the throne.
He was supportive of the Jewish community but died in 1933. When he son
ascended to the throne, it was the beginning of dark times and anti-Jewish
actions, Dr. Khazzoom said. In June 1941 there was a big massacre of the Jews of
Baghdad --"my family barely escaped."
He described hearing the screams of Jews being held nearby and tortured,
something he can't forget to this day.
Dr. Khazzoom noted that Iraq was the only country which invited the Nazis to
come and make Iraq part of the Axis. "Most people didn't know the Nazis were
in Iraq." He said it meant swastikas painted and Jewish shops looted.
"Iraq remains a violent society," Dr. Khazzoom said. "Saddam Hussein is not
an aberration. No peaceful society would have tolerated Saddam Hussein."
"I'm often asked if I want to go back to visit my birthplace. Absolutely
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