- June 10, 2013Upcoming Meetings:Next Sunday, June 16, 10 a.m. "Breaking through Brick Walls"Einstein Center, SacramentoSunday, June 23, 2 p.m. "Next Steps in Jewish Family Research," Victoria FischDavis LibrarySunday, July 21, 10 a.m. "The WPA: Sources for Your Genealogy," GenaPhilibert-OrtegaEinstein Center, SacramentoMay 19 Meeting NotesPresident Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order. She noted that we have a new venue in Davis, the Yolo County library on E. 14th Street. Meetings will be held there every fourth Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.On May 21, there will be a tour of the El Dorado County Archives and Museum in Placerville; admission is free.Victoria presented the JGSS slate of officers for 2013-14:President -- Victoria FischVice Presidents for Programming -- Art Yates and Dave ReingoldTreasurer -- Bob WascouRecording Secretary/Publicity -- Susanne LevitskyThe slate was voted upon and approved.Mort Rumberg was thanked for his many years of finding program speakers -- "It takes two people to replace him," Victoria said.Teven Laxer was welcomed as the new librarian. He noted that there are some 20 books out on loan that should be returned; he will start contacting the borrowers.Teven said we have about 300 volumes in the library that are part of the inventory, with maybe another 100 not yet inventoried.Dave Reingold talked about the upcoming National History Day -- "we're always looking for topics and people to work with students." Those interested can contact Dave at camp_wiseowl@....The Sacramento Public Library continues to offer a free 45-minute session, "book a genealogist."Victoria mentioned that the Western States Jewish History group is putting together a series of online museums-- check out their website for online exhibitions, starting with Los Angeles and San Francisco.The Boston IAJGS conference in August 4-9; Bob Wascou and Teven Laxer are among those planning to go. Victoria Fisch and Jeremy Frankel have decided to not to go, due to one of the speakers included in the program.May Program -- Jim Rader on "The New Super DNA Tests"Jim talked about FamilyTree DNA, which tests different parts of your DNA. Details can be found on FamilyTreeDNA.com. He says this test does all the search work.National Geographic sends its test to Family Tree DNA, he says.Jim says you can search for a surname or can set up a group -- there are more than 6,000 groups out there now.Bennett Greenspan, founder of Family Tree DNA -- "his reason for starting it was to do his Jewish genealogy research," Jim says.Family history and DNA will be the focus of several speakers on June 6 at the upcoming Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, which Jim will be attending. It takes place just two blocks from the Burbank airport.23andme.com -- the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin is involved with this site, which plans to test one million people to establish a large database and track diseases.Some questions to ponder:When does your ancestry have an ethnicity?What date did you become a member of a nationality?Jim says race is a social construct, not a biological one.You have to break that old notion that you're from Germany. But where did those ancestors come from?AncestryDNA -- can go back to your great, great-grandparents.Each company doesn't have rights to other companies' databases.Jim showed what he received from three different companies -- FamilyTree DNA, Ancestry DNA and 23andme -- different results for each.FamilyTree DNA -- showed he had 87% Western Europe ancestry,12.08% European (Scandinavia, Turkey, Finnish)Ancestry DNA -- 67% Central Europe, 38% Scandinavian23andmeDNA -- 100% European"As we get more and more tests, it gets more and more foggy," Jim says.FamilyTreeDNA Family Finder tests 289 markers; Ancestry DNA 100; National Geographic 200.When something is "autosomal" it tests all of your DNA>FamilyTree DNA's Family Finder Feature tells you who has the same actual DNA that you have, Jim says. "It definitely goes back three generations.""The very largest pool is FamilyTree DNA."Common uses for your DNA findings:-- finding adoptee relatives-- find fellow sperm donor siblingsTests 700,000 locations out of three billion. "You can map your whole chromosome now for $1500," Jim says.Before, the DNA focus was on STRs; now the focus is on the SNP -- single base pair substitutions--which account for many of the genetic differences between you and others (appearance, diseases, etc.)Most--no observable differences."With the SNPs, we can figure out where you are in the timeline."Hundreds of video clips on YouTube to check out re DNA,SNPs, etc.Jim says FamilyTree DNA stores your DNA for 20 years -- "none of the others do that." And your test will always be updated with the latest science.www.yhrd.org -- if you want to create a map, you put your results in. Haplotype database.Family Tree DNA does Y-DNA STR testing, has the best set-up for surname projects, and the largest genealogical database.23andme -- does medical risk testing as well, possibly the best for the ethnic admixture.Ancestry DNA -- only does autosomal DNA now, links to trees on Ancestry, US only."There's no commonality in the tests," Jim says.Jim noted that if you want to read up on DNA and genealogy, there are about 30 books on Amazon.com, some on forensic genealogy.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Gary Mokotoff's Avotaynu E-Zine: May 26U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to TelevisionThe U.S. version of the family-history based show Who Do You Think You Are? is returning to television on July 23 at 9 p.m. It will appear on the TLC network with Ancestry.com remaining as the sponsor. There will be eight one-hour episodes in the new season. The celebrities featured this year include: Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, Chris O’Donnell and Zooey Deschanel.
New “Forced Labor 1939–1945” WebsiteA website “Forced Labor 1939–1945” has interviews with nearly 600 persons from 26 countries who had to perform forced labor during the Nazi period. It is located at https://zwangsarbeit-archiv.de/archiv/en/archive. Some are undoubtedly Jews because 25 of the interviewees live in Israel.
An interactive map shows sites of biographical relevance to the interviewees: place of birth, deportation, camps, companies and prisons, places of residence after 1945. You check off which of nine categories are relevant to your search and then all locations are highlighted on the map. Clicking on a location identifies which interviews include the location. If you are registered, you can listen to the interview. The most comprehensive search is “Mentioned Places” which includes hundreds of locations.
To hear the interviews requires registration which is processed by the site’s creators. You then receive a response in e-mail containing login details if your application to register was successful. I registered but never received a response.
UK National Archives Adds Naturalization Records OnlineThe records of thousands of 19th-century immigrants to Britain are now available to search and download online at http://tinyurl.com/UKNaturalisation. The collection, which covers the period 1801 to 1871, includes records relating to more than 7,000 people who applied to become British citizens under the 1844 Naturalisation Act, as well as a small number of papers relating to denization, a form of British citizenship that conferred some but not all the rights of a British subject.
The records include:
• All naturalization applications to the Secretary of State, 1844–1871
• Some naturalizations by private Act of Parliament, 1801–1868
• Some letters applying for denization, 1801–1940
The announcement can be found at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/840.htm.
JewishGen Offering Intermediate-Level Course in New York ResearchMany Jewish family historians have ancestors or collateral relatives with roots in New York City. Starting June 1, JewishGen is offering an intermediate-level course in New York City research. It will focus on the more esoteric documents generated such as naturalization, probate, landsmanshaftn, voter registration, newspapers, and court cases.
The four-week course has seven text lessons that are downloaded; there are no specific times for the course; students interact with the instructor though a 24/7 forum, in a query and answer format. Phyllis Kramer, JewishGen Vice-president for Education, is the instructor. Tuition is $100 (there are no waivers for this course). Additional information, including a video, is at http://www.JewishGen.org/education.
JOAN GRIFFIS , Commercial NewsThe Commercial-NewsSun May 19, 2013, 01:00 AM CDT May 19, 2013Noted genealogical author Megan Smolenyak has reported in the Huffington Post that after a bit of a lull in genealogical programming, four genealogy series will premiere on U.S. television in the near future. First one was Christopher Guest and Jim Paddock’s mockumentary series, “Family Tree,” on May 12 on HBO.The remaining series that are “under production” are “Who Do You Think You Are?” (TLC) and “Finding Your Roots (PBS) — which both focused on celebrity subjects — and Genealogy Roadshow, “an Irish import … with an emphasis on family history mysteries, historical events, and ‘average Joes.’”Smolenyak’s website, Honoring Our Ancestors, at http://www.honoringourancestors.com, should be bookmarked and visited frequently for helpful advice and other information. For example, a click on the toolbar title “Library” allows one to click on “Internet Research” with links to Smolenyak’s articles from the Huffington Post, Ancestry Daily News, Family Chronicle, and others.“Celebs” on the toolbar, provides links to interesting articles including President Obama’s roots, Michelle Obama’s roots, and Annie Moore’s roots (the little girl who was the first to step on Ellis Island).Smolenyak’s generosity is greatly appreciated by the 600 recipients who've received her no-strings-attached genealogical grants since May 2000. Read the stories of the genealogical projects she's supported. Perhaps a local society could request similar help? (The online application is brief and easy.)Under the toolbar title, “Submit,” one can click on a link to share with Smolenyak information or stories under the topics Orphan Heirlooms (“treasures” that need to be returned to owners/descendants), Lost Loved Ones’ Stories, and Brick Wall/Mystery Stories. She welcomes such new challenges, and although she “can’t tackle all cases,” her expertise might be just what is needed.In her latest book she remarks, “It’s high time for all of us to let our roots show.” Start searching.Avotaynu, May 19 edition:European Holocaust Research Infrastructure Adds New ToolA new tool for researchers is now available on the website of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure. It is called “EHRI National Reports” and provides for 47 countries an historical overview of the Holocaust period and what archives in the country have Holocaust-related material. Finally, there are published works cited that provide information about the Holocaust period. A description of the project is at http://www.ehri-project.eu/drupal/national-reports-on-website.
JewishGen Memorial Plaque Project
JewishGen wants to grow its Memorial Plaque Project. This is a database primarily of plaques placed on a memorial board on synagogue walls. Also known as “yahrzeit plaques,” they exist to memorialize relatives, usually parents or siblings. On the anniversary of the person’s death (yahrzeit), the plaque is illuminated by two small lights on each side. The name is read to the congregation at the Sabbath service before the yahrzeit. These plaques are of genealogical value because they usually include the name of the deceased, date of death reckoned by both the secular and Jewish calendars and the person’s religious name, which includes the name of the person’s father (above example: Chaim ben [son of] Meir.).
Information on how to submit data can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Memorial/Submit.htm. The database is at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Memorial.
MyHeritage Introduces “Record Detective”MyHeritage has added a feature to their record search capability called “Record Detective.” When you identify a record of interest in their collection of historical records, Record Detective will provide a summary of additional records about the person, or about people related to that person. For the more advanced researcher, the feature would be a disadvantage, because it will make the person aware of records s/he already knows of. For example, locating a person in the 1940 U.S. census might produce a result showing that the person in the 1930 and 1920 censuses. The reaction of the advanced researcher might be that the records are known, yet it might be new information to the beginner.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From the newsletter of the JGS of Ventura and the Conejo Valley:First American JewsGeni.com has made available Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern’s book, First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654-1988. It identifies more than 25,000 members of the earliest Jewish immigrants to the U.S. beginning in the colonial days. It's available to be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/bkfr3c7. You may also connect directly to the database by clicking: http://tinyurl.com/acynmo3http://www.jgscv.orgHow The USCIS Helped Break Down a Brick WallBy Jan Meisels AllenThis is a summary of the 5-minute genealogical hint given at the May 5th meeting. USCIS answered the question: What was Aaron Baker’s original name.What I Knew:Aaron Baker was my maternal Aunt Anna’s husband for 57 years—they married in 1922. He was a farmer in Torrington Connecticut, born in Kovno, Lithuania, and according to the 1920 and 1930 censuses he immigrated in 1914 to the United States. He immigrated with his mother Etta. The 1920 census noted his immigration year—1914 and said he had applied for naturalization: PA. At that time he was living in Torrington with his mother Etta.The 1930 census had him married to my aunt and living with their two sons: Allen and Merrill. It stated he immigrated in 1914 and that he was a naturalized citizen. I could not find his ship’s manifest and I had assumed his original name was Beker or Bekerowitz.I was going to Boston in late October for an IAJGS board meeting –I thought I would go a day ahead and do some personal genealogy. Knowing that he was naturalized between 1920 and 1930 from the census records, and that he “probably” immigrated in 1914 I contacted the New England Historic and Genealogy Society asking if they had any records that would either show his naturalization or his name change. They replied they did not and referred me to the National Archives North East Region. They also replied that they had nothing they could find.Superstorm Sandy prevented my original plan to go to Boston a day early—and as neither organization could assist, I contacted Marian Smith at the USCIS and asked if it was worthwhile to make an inquiry to them. Marian let me know that she found his file and it was interesting—the file had 12 documents in it! She also told me his original name was Israel Buruchowitz! I should fill out the USCIS forms and submit the payment to get the records. I went to the JGSCV website http://www.jgscv.org and clicked on “resources”: United States and scrolled down to the USCIS link: http://www.uscis.gov/genealogy and completed the on-line form and payment.When I received the packet, the cover letter explained that they identified 12 documents but were only enclosing 10 documents in their entirety and two partially as under the Freedom of Information Act others were named and they could not provide their confidential information—such as birthdate, Social Security number etc. These would have pertained to my aunt and their eldest child and as I did not need them I did not pursue the appeal which was offered.Of most interest was the New Naturalization Lost or Mutilated Form where Aaron attests that “it was burned up by mistake in burning other papers which I thought were no longer needed”. Aaron started his inquiry for a replacement of his naturalization papers several months after the US entered World War II—he probably needed them to prove he was not an alien during the war.Other documents included in the file and sent to me were: Certificate of Naturalization; Duplicate Naturalization Certificate, a query about different names on the Petition for Naturalization (Israel Buruchowitz) and the Declaration of Intention (Aaron Baker), the name change letter, the new naturalization form when the original is lost or mutilated, and a letter to the Immigration and Naturalization Service dated February 1, 1943 complaining that he had started the reapplication process in February 1942 in their Boston office and followed their suggestions, paid the fee, filled out the forms and told to appear at a local court in April 1942 where he was interviewed and had heard nothing since.Documentary: No Place on EarthA documentary film about Jews who hid in a cave in the Ukraine for more than a year during WWII, No Place On Earth is being released in selected cities across the U.S. To see the trailer go to http://tinyurl.com/blrprhf. To see where and when it's being shown, and to request a screening visit http://tinyurl.com/ag2yw2wWORLD'S OLDEST TORAH SCROLL DISCOVERED IN ITALYAfter conducting carbon dating tests, the University of Bologna in Italy announced this week it has what may be the oldest complete Torah scroll in the world. The scroll had been stored in the university library, but in 1889, was mislabeled by a librarian, who dated it to the 17th century. However, a Hebrew professor recently examined it and realized the script was that of the oriental Babylonian tradition—meaning it was much older than previously thought.Subsequent carbon dating confirmed the scroll may have been written more than 850 years ago.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our meeting next Sunday, June 16th!
- January 9, 2016Upcoming Meetings:Sunday, January 17, 2016, 10 a.m. -- Ron Arons: Handwriting Analysis -- Documents and GraphologySunday, February 21, 2016, 10 a.m. -- Marisa Louie Lee -- 20th Century Immigration and Naturalization RecordsRon Aron's presentation on January 17:This presentation will cover both document examination and graphology. The former is the more accepted discipline of comparing questioned samples with known handwriting samples. For decades courts have allowed document analysis as evidence in probate cases, etc.Ron says graphology is the more questionable "art" of trying to determine personality characteristics and behavior based on the analysis of signatures and handwriting in general. Although a "soft science," graphology has some merit. Examples of how both document examination and graphology can be used in genealogical research will be provided. Also, various software packages and books that can help understand these two topics will be discussed.Ron has spoken to our group many times and is the author of "The Jews of Sing Sing." In 2005 Ron won a Hackman Research Residency Award from the New York State Archives to continue his research of New York Jewish criminals.In January 2008, Ron appeared on the PBS television series, The Jewish Americans, regarding Jewish criminals of New York’s Lower East Side.Save the Date: April 2, 2016 -- Root Cellar Spring SeminarThe Sacramento Genealogical Society's annual day-long seminar will feature Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi's List. The event will be held once again at the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church.November Meeting SummaryThe focus of the meetings was addressing brick walls, with several of our JGSS members participating. Panel members Tony Chakurian, Victoria Fisch and Teven Laxer shared their thoughts, some of which are noted below:Victoria said one of the most important things for success is to be a creative thinker. She also stressed the importance of looking at primary source documents -- civil records, immigration records, wills, probate, etc.Teven noted the common myth of names being changed at Ellis Island. In fact, when immigrants boarded a ship, their names were placed on a passenger manifest, and they had to have a passport and proper documentation.It was noted that name changes in Russia were very difficult to do.Tony noted that on Ancestry.com, you can put in the first name only and approximate age and perhaps find a whole family group.Victoria noted that in city directories, you might find the same address and profession but the "smoking gun" for a name change.Where do you access city directories? Ancestry (also some Canadian, German), Internet Archive (www.internetarchive.org) scans all kinds, the digital material is free.Book suggestion: "The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street" by Susan Gilman -- a novel about an immigrant girl's success."If you are serious, you have to have a subscription to Ancestry or go to the Mormon Library and use their subscription -- FamilySearch is a free online database.San Francisco Genealogy, 1849 to present -- a nonprofit site, web page lists all kinds of databases -- www.sfgenealogy.com/sf/Tony said Intenetarchive has original census books scanned --you can read it there if you can't read it on Ancestry.Victoria -- don't bother with the Ellis Island site -- if you want to use it, go through Steve Morse's portal.Teven talked about ViewMate on JewishGen, where you can upload a document and ask for help in translating. He also mentioned the "Tracing the Tribe" blog.For the census, people were asked what year they immigrated -- these years were often wrong, but use as a window of time.In putting in names to search in Ancestry, use the wild card generator -- * represents multiple characters, ? represents one character.ItalianGen -- good site for New York City vital records, with bride and groom index. From about 1867 up to about 1948. Gives you a certificate number.Teven recounted that the six things he thought he knew about his family history, ranging from where the ship sailed, to what year, to what port, to what name -- all turned out to be wrong.JRI Poland -- photographs and digitization of records.Where to put your family tree? Victoria says she would put your primary tree on Ancestry, but save the data once in a while. "It's crazy to be maintaining more than one tree."Teven -- one of my favorite things about Ancestry is the "shaky leaves," which are hints. But Victoria says beware of the leaves if there is no source. Always look for primary sources.Fold3 -- a subsidiary of Ancestry, has military records (formerly Footnote). War of 1812 pensions just came online.Tony -- Will and probate records from just about every state just came online.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~December Meeting SummaryOur speaker was Jeremy Frankel, on "Thirty Years. A Birthday Cake -- the Wrong Family." Jeremy, president of the San Francisco JGS, is a professional genealogist.It all happened on the 9th of April, 1985, Jeremy said. It was the second night of Passover and as he and his family were finishing the meal, his father asked him, "Did you know my brother was married before?"Jeremy didn't, but the information he subsequently learned led to a discovery of a new part of his family.It turned out that Jeremy's uncle married a woman, Sophie Ost, in 1930 but separated within a year. What his Uncle Charlie may or may not have know was that his wife was pregnant, and Leatrice Levy was born in 1931. When the couple divorced, they all used his changed last name, changed from Levy to Leader.Note from Jeremy: Free BMD is a very useful website for British civil records -- http://www.freebmd.org.uk/.In his presentation, Jeremy described his search for this part of his previously unknown family. He discovered through research that was Leatrice living in Wales; she had married a Nigerian with the last name of Iwobi."What do I do? Do I tell them about their half-sister?"Jeremy wrote to family members, culminating, in April 2015, with a family reunion in London with the different family branches represented.Jeremy said his newly found relatives were very warm people, and "you never know where genealogy is going to take you. If my grandfather hadn't talked to me ..."~~~~~~~~~~Victoria Fisch noted several "accumulator" public record sites that are useful, including
"Advanced Background Check" that posts the last six addresses, along with possible relatives and ages, and also Intelius and US Search.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Southern California Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the 47th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. The conference will be held at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel, Burbank, California, Friday through Sunday, June 3-5, 2016. Registration is now open and available on the Jamboree website. You can either complete your registration through the online shopping cart or download the registration form and mail it in.Jamboree 2016 offers an exceptional educational opportunity for family historians and genealogists of all experience levels. The theme for Jamboree 2016 is "Giving to the Future by Preserving the Past." We welcome all attendees who are interested in genealogy and preserving the past for future generations. Our heritage focus is on German, Eastern European, and African-American research. Topics covered include research methods, analysis and problem solving, organization techniques, family history writing, the use of technology, and more.Jamboree 2016 will feature:
Back by popular demand, SCGS will hold its fourth Genetic Genealogy Conference,"The Future of the Past: Genetic Genealogy 2016," on Thursday, June 2, 2016. also at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. This conference provides the opportunity to hear from some of the top leaders in the field of genetic genealogy, with topics suitable for all levels of experience with using DNA for genealogical research. Six intensive workshops will also be offered during this event that will provide an opportunity for in-depth study of genealogical research techniques of interest to a variety of experience levels (additional fee required). The Genetic Genealogy Conference is separate from Jamboree, and separate registration fees apply.Early Bird registration ends April 23, 2016. Special pricing for 2016 offers a discount to those who register for both Jamboree and "The Future of the Past: Genetic Genealogy 2016" as well as discounts for SCGS members for each event.Don't forget to make your hotel reservations! The Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel room reservations are now open. Room rates range from $165 to $185 per night. To make your reservations online, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/jambo2016Hotel/, or call directly at 800.736.9712. Be sure to mention the group "SCGS Conference" when making your reservation to get the Jamboree rate and to guarantee your room.From the December 27, 2015 Avotaynu E-Zine:
- Over 55 national, regional and local speakers
- JamboFREE sessions Friday morning including Beginning Genealogy, Librarians' Boot Camp, Why and How to Become a Professional Genealogist, Using Social Media for Genealogy, and Genealogy & DNA Roundtables
- Five specialty workshops (separate fee required)
- Free exhibit hall throughout the weekend
- Research tours Thursday and Friday
- Special activities each day
- One-on-one research assistance provided by members of the Southern California Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists
New York Times Cautions on European Union “Right to Be Forgotten” Rule
In an editorial, the New York Times has cautioned European Union that the EU is “clearly motivated by a desire to protect the privacy of their citizens. But they should be careful that in trying to achieve that admirable goal they do not harm other rights, like free speech.” It expressed concern that the planned EU law “would come at a cost to free expression and leave a redacted history for Internet users.”
The editorial can be found at http://tinyurl.com/NYTRTBF. It includes a good summary of the entire controversy.
EU Privacy Regulation Specifically Excludes Holocaust-related Documents
The problem of researchers gaining access to Holocaust-related documents about specific individuals was put to rest by a regulation drafted by the European Union. In past years, it was not uncommon for archivists to refuse access to information about Holocaust victims without proof of death. Archivists would state without proof, they would not release data until 100 years after the birth of a person.
The European Union privacy regulation currently being formulated specifically excludes Holocaust-related data from privacy rules. EU member states are authorized to provide personal data to researchers when there is a general public interest value “for example with a view to providing specific information related to the political behavior under former totalitarian state regimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, in particular the Holocaust, or war crimes.”
An article about the ruling can be found at https://euobserver.com/justice/131633.
Library and Archives Canada -- Web Pages for Genealogy Research by Ethnic Group
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has sections of its website devoted to researching various ethnic and cultural groups in Canada. Each page describes the Canadian history of the group, genealogical resources available at LAC, links to other sites and published material about the group. The Jewish section is located at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/ history-ethnic-cultural/Pages/jewish.aspx.
There are a total of 26 groups presented including Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian. Links to these sites are shown on the Jewish site.
Swiss Banks Release Names of Dormant Bank Accounts Holders
Swiss banks have published the names of more than 2,600 people whose bank accounts in Switzerland have lain dormant for more than 60 years, giving them or their heirs one last chance to claim their wealth before it reverts to the state. It is believed that a number of these accounts are for Holocaust victims.
The names can be searched at https://www.dormantaccounts.ch. Click on the “Publications” button at the bottom of the screen to access the search engine
From the January 3, 2016 Avotaynu E-Zine:Latest Plans to Make More Government Records AvailableNote to JGSS members -- Brooke is our March 2016 speaker.
Brooke Schreier Ganz, creator of the organization “Reclaim the Records,” has indicated on her website, https://www.reclaimtherecords.org, future plans to make additional government records available to the public. They include:
• Index to all New York City marriage records, 1930–2015
• Index to New York State Deaths (Outside of New York City), 1880–1957
• New York City Birth Certificates, 1910–1915
The New Jersey Birth, Marriage, and Death Indices, 1901–1903 and 1901–1914 have been acquired by Ganz. Information about this collection is at https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/records-request/5/. She also received from the New York City Municipal Archives the Index to New York City Marriage Applications, Affidavits, and Licenses, 1908–1929. She now has a New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the New York City Clerk's Office for the New York City Marriage Index 1930–2015.
Ganz wants other family historians to request records under their state’s Freedom of Information Law. Toward this end, she will post to MuckRock.com her filings where everyone can observe the FOIL process in real time, “and hopefully learn that it's not so scary and impenetrable after all.” Her request for the New York City marriage records, 1930–2015 can be seen at https://www.muckrock.com/foi/new-york-city-17/index-to-all- new-york-city-marriage-records-1930-2015-23051. She notes, “If you browse around [the MuckRock] site, you can see all kinds of FOIL requests to all kinds of agencies in every state, coming and going, accepted and not accepted and redacted and fulfilled and ignored and everything else that can happen to a request. It's fun to poke around and see what other people are doing, and how good or bad the various agencies are about their responses.”
She is also asking people who know about historically or genealogically important public records that have limited public access—or no public access—to fill out a survey form at https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/ records-survey. If appropriate she will add it to her “To Do” list, which currently is quite extensive, and can be seen at https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/to-do.
What motivated her to get involved in public access to these records, what she has accomplished to date, and her plans for the future will be the lead article in Winter issue of AVOTAYNU, which will be published in early February.
Can Genetic Research Help You?
Adam Brown, director of the Avotaynu DNA Project recently received an inquiry from a person which said, “My husband and I are exploring our families. Can genetic research help us?”
Below is Brown’s response.
The usefulness of DNA testing is a function of what you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to ascertain whether someone is related to you or not, DNA testing is exceptionally useful. For example, if your husband is a Goldstein and he would like to know whether he and another Goldstein are descended from the same individual through their fathers, that is very easy to ascertain with a Y-Chromosome test for each of the men. If you are trying to ascertain whether you are related to a particular individual within the last four or five generations, and you and that person do not share a common male ancestor, you should be able to figure that out by having you and the other individual take an autosomal DNA test.
If you are unfamiliar with your family history and are taking first steps to explore your family background, an autosomal DNA test can be very helpful by describing your likely ancestral origins and providing a list of individuals who match you to varying degrees. Furthermore, by comparing Y DNA and mitochondrial results to the large database maintained by the Avotaynu DNA project, you may be able to learn about your ancient and medieval origin of your specific patrilineal and matrilineal lines as well.
If you are trying to expand your family tree by identifying specific new relatives through DNA testing, sensational results can be obtained but it requires a bit of luck (relatives need to have been tested) and possibly additional testing. This past year, for example, Avotaynu published an article by an individual who compared his Y chromosome and autosomal results to those of suspected relatives and demonstrated that Strauss families around the world were part of one and the same family torn apart during the Shoah.
Until DNA testing becomes universal among individuals interested in Jewish genealogy (and our Jewish DNA database grows every day), there are no guarantees that DNA research will expand your existing trees, but it will most certainly expand your understanding of your family’s place in the overall Jewish family tree. Undoubtedly you will find DNA matches to numerous individuals with whom you are related. Some close relative matches may appear from out of the blue as Mark Strauss’ did, while other predicted relationships may predate records and not be readily apparent. The important lesson from the Strauss study was that many of the family members whom he matched had been previously tested; Mark had even tested himself. To quote the genetic genealogist Israel Pickholtz: “You do not just get DNA tested so you can find people; you also get tested so that others may find YOU.”
The types of tests offered and the prices charged for them change frequently. You can stay up to date on these by participating in the Avotaynu DNA project, which offers expert advice on DNA testing and will help answer your questions. Keep abreast of the Project by enrolling for Avotaynu Online at http://tinyurl.com/oygl3dr and participate directly in the Avotaynu Project directly by either enrolling your existing test or by purchase a new test at http://tinyurl.com/pd8zjk2. For personal answers to your questions, feel free to email us at AvotaynuDNA@.... Additional information about the project can be found at http://www.avotaynuonline.com/2015/12/ announcing-avotaynu-dna-project.
USCIS Announces Two Genealogy Webinars
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced two webinars to be conducted by USCIS historian Marian Smith as part of its “History and Genealogy ‘Your Questions’” webinar series. The first, “The Curious Case of Albert Miller,” will be held on January 22 at 10 a.m., Sacramento time. This presentation will discuss the search for answers in the case of an immigrant who arrived at Philadelphia in 1908. Questions raised by Albert Miller’s naturalization documents lead to additional information in a variety of places and some very surprising results. At the time of the event, go to https://connect16.uc.att.com/EventEntry/ Websites/?VaccId=uscis&ExEventID=82058965&CT=M&oldee=1 to log on. This session will not be recorded.
The second webinar will be held on March 25, again at 10 a.m. This will be the more usual USCIS genealogy webinar, a question and answer session. Submit questions to Ms. Smith by March 11 via e-mail to cishistory.library@... with the subject line “Your Questions Webinar.” If your question relates to a document, attach a copy of the document to the e-mail. Documents submitted with questions may be shared and discussed during the live webinar. To ensure the hour is of interest to the widest audience, questions answered will be those most commonly asked or that generate the most useful answers.Information about USCIS webinars can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/HGWebinars.
See you on the 17th, 10 a.m.