Mark Your Calendars -- Sun. Nov. 19
"The Internet Beyond JewishGen and Steve Morse's Web Site"
Sunday, November 19, 10 a.m.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento
Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright St., Sacramento
While the JewishGen Web site and Steve Morse's site provide great tools for researching your family tree, Bay Area Genealogist Ron Arons says there is so much more on the Internet. His presentation will discuss the "best bet" Web sites to find many other materials online, including historical documents, newspapers and articles; living people; maps and photos; foreign language translators and aids; and much more.
Arons will provide numerous examples of how the Internet has worked for him. A regular speaker at genealogy conferences, Arons last spoke to the Sacramento JGS about the Jews of New York's Sing-Sing prison, the subject of a book he's currently writing. In 2005 he won a research grant from the New York State Archives to assist in this effort.
The meeting will be held Sunday, November 19, 10 a.m., at the Albert Einstein Residence Center , 1935 Wright Street , Sacramento . For more information about the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento, visit www.jgss.org, e-mail the JGSS at jgs_sacramento@... or leave a message at 916-486-0906 ext. 361.
A few articles of interest:
Mapping out business: Maine co. is like MapQuest on a time machine
By Jay Fitzgerald, Boston Herald General Economics Reporter
Sunday, November 5, 2006
What do you get when you mix Google Earth-like software with stacks of printed 18th, 19th and early 20th century maps?
You get Historic Map Works Inc.’s new online product that allows users to plug in current street addresses - and pull up all antique maps of the area in its database. You can then search the maps and identify what a particular property appeared like on charts decades or even hundreds of years ago.
Type in the rough address coordinates for Fenway Park and - presto! One map comes up of a swampy Fenway area, another when there was just a street and nearby railroad line, and yet another from 1915, three years after Fenway Park was built, showing the map outlines of a young stadium surrounded by new streets - though not the yet-to-be-built Mass. Turnpike.
“Boston has the best (map) coverage” of any city in Historic Map Works’ vast and growing database, said chief executive Charles Carpenter, who founded his Westbrook, Maine-based company three years ago.
Historic Map Works hopes to make money selling actual prints of antique maps, ranging from $29.95 to $59.95. But starting in January, it plans to launch a new subscriber model that would allow professional and amateur genealogy enthusiasts, as well as history buffs, to search the company’s massive database of some 15,000 maps that Carpenter has quietly purchased in recent years. A free printed map will come with each one-year subsrciption.
Carpenter, 56, a trained scientist, successful health-care executive and a long-time collector of rare science books, isn’t shy about saying he and his partners ultimatey envision selling the company to Google or some other digital-mapping company.
The idea for the company can be traced back to the early 1990s, when Carpenter stumbled upon an old map of his property outside Portland, Maine. The antique map listed the long-ago owner of Carpenter’s 240-year-old home, William Moses.
Then five years ago, Carpenter was in a New Hampshire book store when he stumbled upon an old county atlas, with so-called‘cadstral’ maps that carefully listed names of streets and the names of individual property owners.
“I thought to myself, ‘Wow, there’s a business here,’ ” recalled Capenter, who since has spent about $1 million of his own money buying county atlases and maps across the country, via direct sales or online auctions. The maps are then scanned into computers and, with digital-mapping software, they’re matched up with current addresses.
Historic Map Works’ technology is similar in concept to Google Earth’s or MapQuest’s address-search capabilities.
For now, though, typing in a specific address at www.historicmapworks.com will only bring up maps of a specific neighborhood, town, county or state. At the Web site, a user can manually zoom in to focus on a specific street or property.
If there are enough‘layers’ (industry jargon for how many maps there are for an area and how far back they go), then one could conceivably trace, say, a piece of property when it was farmland and later a lone buiding and then later a dense neighborhood.
“It allows viewers to go back in time,” said Carpenter, who has trademarked the phrase‘residential genealogy’ to describe how his technologyy can help people find ancestors or previous residents of homes and neighborhoods.
Historic Map Works’ 14 employees are now developing software that eventually will allow users to instantly focus in on individual properties after entering an address-specific search, Carpenter said.
“The true value of this (company) is the huge database we’re compiling,”said Carpenter, noting that the genealogy and map businesses are quite lucrative.
U.S. TV hot for British genealogy series
By UPI, Nov 4, 2006, 19:00 GMT
LONDON, England (UPI) -- The major U.S. television networks are anxiously bidding for the rights to a wildly popular new British show that traces the genealogy of celebrities.
The Times of London reported Saturday that NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox are all competing for the U.S. rights to 'Who Do You Think You Are,' and that Discovery, National Geographic and even the History Channel have also shown a keen interest as well.
The British Broadcasting Corp. show centers on celebrities who discover information about their past relatives on camera. Alex Graham, head of the London production company that created the show, says producers have no editorial control over the search results and the emotions shown are the raw reactions of the celebrity.
(Text only version of October items and notes below -- version with photos not received by everyone.)
Jewish Genealogical Society
November -- Sunday, November 19, 10 a.m. (Back to Sunday morning schedule)
Ron Arons -- The Internet Beyond JewishGen and Steve Morse's Web Site
December -- Sunday, December 10, 10 a.m.
Reva Camiel -- A Video For My Grandchildren: Showcasing Our Family History
January -- Sunday, January 21, 10 a.m.
Allan Bonderoff -- "From Shtetl to Hester Street)
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Thanks to Allan Dolgow for passing on this Web site:
"People of a Thousand Towns": The Online Catalog of Photographs of
Jewish Life in Prewar Eastern Europe http://yivo1000towns.cjh.org/
From the Tracing the Tribe blog (http://tracingthetribe.blogspot.com/ by Schelly Talalay Dardashti, comes word of a new Web resource: AncestorsOnBoard.com. "Many of our ancestors arrived in the U.K. in transit from Eastern Europe and later took passage to their final destinations. Before, the only way to see these documents was to hire a researcher or take a trip to the National Records office at Kew (in London) and look for yourself. This record group - BT27 Outward Passenger Lists - has never been available online or on microfilm.
The records are being scanned and transcribed, says the AncestorsOnBoard Web site, by experienced teams. Manifest images will be available to download, view, save and print. The Web site indicates the lists cover long-distance voyages made from all British ports from 1890-1960 and says some passengers in the 1890s-1900s are listed as going to an inland destination such as Chicago or Detroit, indicating these passengers had purchased all-inclusive tickets covering both sea and rail. Indeed, in examples online, 1890 passengers to Montreal are shown going to Spokane, Washington and Calgary, Alberta via the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Web site is commercial, but no fee information is listed yet.
Schelly also notes that Steve Lasky of the Museum of Family History offers two Web sites of interest: 1) a 40,000+ list of immigrants from Warsaw he apparently put together from those who came through Ellis Island http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/lee-ftp-warszawa-01.htm
and 2) a Web page he created with photos and details about six of the historic Lower East Side synagogues still standing: http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/soles.htm.
October 16 Meeting Notes
President Burt Hecht called the meeting to order and mentioned upcoming meetings. In November (Sunday, November 19, 10 a.m.), we'll hear from Ron Arons about the Internet beyond JewishGen and Steve Morse's Web site. In December, (Sunday, December 10, 10 a.m.), member Reva Camiel will present the family video she produced from hundreds of family photographs.
Other items: The blue JGSS T-shirts with "We Dig Our Ancestors" on the back are still available for $16. Bob Wascou showed off an updated brochure for our organization.
Mark Heckman said we're still working on computerizing our library and check-out procedures. Two new books have been added: "The Galitzianers, The Jews of Galicia 1772-1918," by Suzan Wynne, and "From Haven to Home, 350 Years of Jewish Life in America," donated by Burt Hecht.
Allan Bonderoff gave the treasurer's report -- our account has a total of $854.04.
Burt noted that next year's IAJGS international conference will be held July 15-20 in Salt Lake City. We'll have a speaker talking about the Family History Library there for our April meeting.
Art gave a report on the Family History Day at the State Archives October 14. He said there were a few disappointments, with tables from some of the groups missing this year. Gerry Ross coordinated the volunteers and she thanked Susan Abrams, Allan Bonderoff, Burt Hecht, Mark Heckman, Julie Lavine, Les Malkin, Sid Salinger and Bob Wascou. Gerry said Art Yates was a great help with booth set-up.
Art noted that the annual Genealogical Assoc. of Sacramento bus trip to the Sutro Library and National Archives is coming up next Wednesday, October 25. Contact Sharon Bias if you'd like to go. Art said the Sutro Library is almost exclusively set up for genealogy research (Les Malkin noted it is famous for all the phone books from 1890 to 1940, from Brooklyn to San Francisco, all on microfilm). At the regional archives in San Bruno, all of the censuses are available.
October Program: Mark Heckman -- Tour of Czernowitz
Mark Heckman presented the evening's program, a photo and video look at his May visit to Czernowitz in Ukraine. The reason for the trip was a symposium held in that city with speakers and organized lectures and tours. There were people from all over Europe as well as the United States; most spoke German as their native language, Mark said. The symposium, however, was conducted in English.
Mark and girlfriend Kathy spent about a week at the symposium as well as a few days in Warsaw and Vienna.
Those attending the symposium were part of an e-mail group linked through the Czernowitz Discussion Group Web site: http://czernowitz.ehpes.com. (If you wish to join e-mail list, you can click on Subscribe on the left-hand side of the home page.)
Mark said Ukraine is a cash economy and "almost never" could he use a credit card or find an ATM. The hotel wanted to be paid in cash, in dollars, "with new bills." So wear a money belt, Mark said.
He was able to make the hotel reservation by e-mail, but had to send it several times.
He said there was not a lot of English speakers in the Ukraine -- "German is more useful." Mark got a children's alphabet sheet of Ukrainian letters to help with the language.
The prices, he said, were very inexpensive and most places don't expect tipping. "And the taxi drivers are offended if you put on your seatbelt," he said.
In Warsaw, things were very westernized, with Poland a member of the European Union. While in Warsaw, Mark visited the site of the Warsaw ghetto. "They've rebuilt every part of the city except the ghetto," where Mark showed photos of the many monuments. He said there is one synagogue left in Warsaw.
In Ukraine, Mark rated the hotel, billed as a four-star hotel, as one star by western standards. The weather, however, was nice, with plenty of wildflowers.
At the symposium, attendees also had a chance to meet people from the local community. There are maybe a thousand Jews in the Czernowitz area now, Mark said. The group also had a chance to hear a local klezmer band (Mark played a video snippet for us).
Mark said that western Ukraine seems to be strongly interested in the EU. While they're not sure if they want to be a member or not, the goal is to raise the standards to the EU level. Meanwhile, eastern Ukraine allies itself more closely with Russia. Mark also noted that anti-semitism seems to be on the rise in the country now.
"If you go there, buy health insurance," Mark said. If you're hospitalized there, it's the patient's responsibility to bring in food and linen.
Mark commented that the young women in Ukraine seemed to be dressed in very modern fashion, compared to their grandmothers, who were not. He said many of the older people were apparently on fixed incomes and struggling to make ends meet.
Mark showed photos of Jewish cemeteries, some of which were overgrown (with stinging nettles to boot). Even though members of the symposium had a grid of where relatives were buried, thanks to research done by an Ottawa JGS group, they struggled to find and/or read the tombstones.
Mark and several others joined together to hire a guide for one day to visit several towns in the area, but wished he had been able to spend more time in each location. He showed photos of former Jewish synagogues, now being used for other purposes, such as a gym. The group also was able to see typical villages and homes, each with their vegetable garden and cow.
Mark and Kathy returned to the U.S. via Vienna.
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See You Sunday, November 19!