Jewish Genealogical Society
Our Upcoming Meetings:
January -- Sunday, January 21, 10 a.m.
Allan Bonderoff -- "From Shtetl to Hester Street"
February -- Sunday, February 11, 10 a.m.
Members Show-and-Tell, "Treasures from the Attic"
March -- Sunday, March 18, 10 a.m.
Steve Morse -- "De-Mystifying the Jewish Calendar"
Meeting Notes -- December 10, 2006
President Burt Hecht called the meeting to order. He mentioned that members have been sent notices for dues for the 2007 calendar year and encouraged people to send in their checks to Allan Bonderoff. Allan gave the Treasurer's report -- we have $870.57 in our account. Allan mentioned that we usually provide the Einstein Center with a $100 check; it was then approved that for the Center's 25th anniversary, we donate $200. Member Allan Dolgow generously volunteered $100 of that amount.
Art Yates reminded us that Ancestry.com is free through the end of the year (normal membership can range up to $300 annually). There are many valuable databases. Burt Hecht mentioned that for $35, a subscription to the Godfrey Memorial Library is a very good investment (http://www.godfrey.org/).
Teven Laxer brought in the CD he is donating to the library, the complete presentations and syllabus from this year's New York conference. He is also donating the New York National Archives learning standards CD. Teven said he is beta testing Steve Morse's new Gold Form on the Ellis Island Web site, and has found a few bugs he is working with Steve to correct. Steve will be our speaker in March.
Burt attended the November 20 meeting of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, where Valery Bazarov spoke. Mr. Bazarov works for the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). He said the organization is now focusing on post -1920 immigration and currently is involved in rescuing Jews from Iraq. Over the years, HIAS has been instrumental in bringing about four million into the U.S.
Vice-President Mort Rumberg gave a brief update on future speakers -- Allan Bonderoff will give a presentation, "From Shtetl to Hester Street" on January 21. On Sunday, February 11, we'll hold another of the popular "Treasures from the Attic," a chance for members to show and tell about family memorabilia. Start thinking now about what you might bring,
Sunday, March 19, Steve Morse will disuss "De-Mystifying the Jewish Calendar."
Reva Camiel: A Video for My Grandchildren
Member Reva Camiel presented the program for the meeting, a 43-minute video about her family members, past and present. She hired someone to help put it together.
Reva passed on some questions to consider before you begin putting a family video together, a production which can take at least a year.
First, who is your audience? (Grandkids, adult family, friends, etc.) How long do you want the video? Do you want to be interviewed in it? Who do you want to interview you?
Do you want to read the text with your voice, or someone else's? Do you want a professional to put it together? If so, how much are you willing to pay? Do you have the photos, audiocassettes, video clips, music, etc. that you want in the video?
Once you've answered these questions, Reva says it's time to "call a professional/nerd or a talented grandchild." Talk to that person about your goal and find out if they think they can do, and are interested in the project. You decide if you want to work with them.
Reva says make sure you have a written contract of what they will do for you and an exact charge. She ended up spending about $2000 on her video and devoted about six hours once a week for seven weeks.
When organizing your material, develop a system to gather all your photos, videos, etc. so you can easily return them to their original albums and locations. Reva pulled material from 60 photo albums for her video and noted how much of it was able to be accommodated on one DVD. "I know I won't have room for 60 albums when I end up living here at the Einstein Center, but I can take a DVD, "
Reva's video included photos and film from her Roosevelt High School days in Los Angeles, to her initial college days at UC Berkeley, to her children, grandchildren, trips to India and 20 different countries. Captions helped pinpoint the people and places in her photos. Her narration includes comments about the Japanese internment during World War II, her wish for a peaceful world, and much more.
"It's wonderful having you enjoy my family," she said after the video concluded.
In the discussion which followed, member Victoria Reed mentioned that a friend of hers, Minette Siegal, produces videos, is inexpensive, and great to work with, even for those with a small budget. She can be e-mailed at minettesiegel@...; people can also check out her Web site at http://www.ino-sieg.com/home.shtml
Our next meeting is Sunday, January 21, when Allen Bonderoff will present "From Shtetl to Hester Street' about immigrations paths to this country.
Internet Translator Site -- thanks Allan Dolgow:
Limitation is 1000 characters at a time. Seems to be a reasonably good translator and it is free.
From Avotaynu's Nu? What's New, E-zine e-mailed newsletter -- (free if you're not already a subscriber): http://www.avotaynu.com/nuwhatsnew.htm.
Nu? What's New? Survey Provides Interesting Results
The first Nu? What's New? survey completed. More than 3,200—47% of the 7,200 subscribers—participated. Some stereotypes of a Jewish genealogist were confirmed and others were not. Here are some observations based on the results:
- Most Jewish genealogists are relatively new to the hobby—more than half have been researching their family history for less than 10 years.
- Jewish genealogists rely on the volunteer efforts of others—68.8% of the respondents claim they do not volunteer for genealogy projects.
- We are a computer-oriented, high-speed Internet-oriented group, but this appears to be true of all genealogists.
- Jewish genealogists are well educated—47.7% have advanced (masters/doctorate) degrees.
- Are we "little old ladies in tennis sneakers"? Unfortunately, an important question was accidentally left out of the survey—What is your gender (male/female)? But the survey did ask age and, remarkably, the typical Jewish genealogist is nearly seven years older (61.2 years) than the non-Jewish genealogist (54.6).
Many Wikipedias for Genealogy
Jean-Pierre Stroweis, past president of the Israel Genealogy Society, notes that there are now three Wikipedias for genealogy; one each for English, French and Hebrew. They are located at:
English: 4,757 articles at http://genealogy.wikia.com
French: 44,688 articles at http://www.geneawiki.com
Shoah Victims' Names Database Grows and Grows
Since the Shoah Victims' Names Database went online in November 2004, Yad Vashem has added more than 500,000 additional records and has plans to add one million more in 2007. Yad Vashem is using a variety of sources such as yizkor books, which account for half of the names added since 2004.
The Archives director says that during the past few months, Yad Vashem has begun to systematically enter data from its archival collections (as opposed to Pages of Testimony or list projects done by others). Each personal record contains information about the individual and also about the document in which it is found, the file, and the collection. The first group of entries is the reports of the Soviet Extraordinary Commission; the first 150,000 or so of these records should go online soon.
A book of interest:
Member Marilyn Amir would like to bring to the attention of the JGSS a newly-published book which tells about Jewish history during the Holocaust relating to the Sephardim in North Africa as well as Middle Eastern Jews. It’s “Among the Righteous” by Robert Satloff. She notes that as we're aware, Askenazim were not the only ones affected by the Holocaust.
Reaching Youth About Genealogy-- Summer Program:
(From Kimberly Powell, About Genealogy):
Many of us are concerned about how to convey the importance of genealogy to young people. The Center for Jewish History in New York has an excellent summer genealogy program for students in grades 9-12.
The Samberg Family History Program, co-sponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society, is seeking outstanding high school students to receive attendance fellowships, with full scholarships, for this academic summer program to run July 2-27.
No previous genealogical experience is required. Among featured benefits for participants is learning while having fun, standing out on college applications, embarking on a personal journey from past to future, visiting the city's historic institutions, creating personal family trees and learning about Jewish history. For more information, e-mail samberg@....
Genealogy Logic Puzzle
Take a break from those perplexing ancestors and try your hand at this logic puzzle -- it is a fun diversion from your genealogy brick walls.
On June 1st, five couples who live in Trumbull will celebrate their wedding anniversaries. Their surnames are Johnstone, Parker, Watson, Graves and Shearer. The husbands' given names are Russell, Douglas, Charles, Peter and Everett. The wives' given names are Elaine, Joyce, Marcia, Elizabeth and Mildred. Keep in mind that no two couples have been married the same number of years. From the clues, determine the husband and wife that make up each couple and the number of years they have been married.
- Joyce has not been married as long as Charles or the Parkers, but longer than Douglas or the Johnstones.
- Elizabeth has been married twice as long as the Watsons, but only half as long as Russell.
- The Shearers have been married 10 years longer than Peter and 10 years less than Marcia.
- Douglas and Mildred have been married for 25 years less than the Graves who, having been married for 30 years, are the couple who have been married the longest.
- Neither Elaine or the Johnstones have been married the shortest amount of time.
- Everett has been married for 25 years
You can view the entire puzzle plus a Logic Grid to help you solve it at www.genealogyworldwide.com.
Sacramento Spring Genealogy Seminar
The Spring Seminar 2007 is set for Saturday, March 31, 2007 at the Fair Oaks
Presbyterian Church. Paula Stuart-Warren, who has written numerous genealogy books, will host the daylong conference. More information will follow. (Editor's note: I went last year when John Philip Colletta was the featured speaker. )
Ukraine Synagogues and Sites
Allan Dolgow reports receiving a copy of JEWISH CEMETERIES, SYNAGOGUES, AND MASS GRAVE SITES IN UKRAINE. "It's worth sending away for, not only for the information it contains but the photographs." To get a copy send an e-mail to uscommission@...
- March 28, 2017Upcoming Meetings:Sunday, April 16 -- "Finding Unknown Relatives" -- Victoria FischSunday, May 21 -- "Documenting Your Family Heirlooms" -- Teven LaxerSunday, June 11 -- "Gathering Personal Narratives" -- Mary Ellen BurnsOf 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.)GEDMatch.comFree 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 DNAIf you have data from your parents, can put together what DNA you don't have.Free DNA Analyzing Tools:1-1 autosomal1- many DNA comparisonsPhasingDNA 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 relatedParent/child -- about 3400Grandparent, about 17003rd cousin -- about 53.134th cousin, about 13.28These are rules of thumb, not exact numbersX-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 DNApull 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-- Lazarussimilar to phasing, but involves deceased ancestor, 2nd great-grandfather for examplecan enter cousins' kits, can put those matches into a profile if are related to that ancestorFebruary 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 deathFree BMD-- presentation style better than Ancestry Find My Past-- can put in "all types"-- get BMD all in one-- can use asterisksJews -- if get married in a synagogue, don't have to registry civilly at the registry office32 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 census19521 -- April 81961 --25th AprilExcept -- 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 aliveSources for Searching OnlineGeneral Register Office -- https://www.gro.gov.ukBritish Jewry -- website with databases, free but register first.Free BMD -- England, Wales 1837-1984Finding My Past has the whole thing up to 2007JCR -- UK -- on JewishGen, freecemeteries, marriages -- plug name in and everything comes upJGS Greater Britain -- members onlyCemetery ScribesSynagogue ScribesBritain from Above -- aerial/oblique views of UK back to the 1920s.Google Earth/Street View --modern look at locationsNewspapersBritish Newspaper Archive (fee for service) -- 1700s to 1950s"Challenging" finding evidence of your family member in the paper unless arrested, marriedJewish Chronicle -- from 1841 -- oldest Jewish language English paper in the worldMy Heritage put online 1841-1999, now freeSearch engine "awful."London Gazette (also Edinburgh, Belfast) -- free, official paper of record: bankruptcies, name changes, naturalizationsSocial MediaFacebook 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).