February Genealogy Notes
Jewish Genealogical Society
February 19, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 10 a.m. -- "The Jewish Calendar De-Mystified"
Steve Morse (www.stevemorse.org) returns to share his knowledge about the Jewish calendar.
Monday, April 16, 7 p.m. (evening schedule begins) -- "Resources in Salt Lake City"
Joyce Buckland helps us prepare for this summer's SLC conference.
Monday, May 21, 7 p.m. -- "California State Archives"
Presentation by State Archivist Nancy Zimmelman.
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Allan Bonderoff Update
Our treasurer, Allan Bonderoff, was hospitalized once again and at last report was at Kaiser South. We continue to wish Allan the best in his recovery.
Ancestry.ca Free Days This Month
Bob Wascou gives us a heads up that www.ancestry.ca (that's the Canadian version) is offering three free days of access in honor of Canadian Heritage Month. The offer is good February 15-28, with access to World Deluxe Records.
Small Town Papers Online
From a news release: Exclusive Historical Newspaper Archive Now Online for Genealogists
Under a partnership between SmallTownPapers, Inc. and World Vital Records, Inc., one million exclusive newspaper pages from small towns across America are now available on the World Vital Records website. The newspapers, part of the SmallTownPapers collection, represent unique historical content which has never before been available on the Internet and is not available from any other source.
Today, one million pages from small market, weekly newspapers across the country dating back as far as the mid-1800s are accessible through World Vital Records with that number growing weekly. Just as Google, Microsoft and others are beginning to scan books; SmallTownPapers is digitizing the complete archive of more than 300 newspapers from small towns across America, including the current printed weekly editions.
“SmallTownPapers is filling family historians’ needs for historical as well as vital record data from newspapers that otherwise might never be accessed,” said Leland K. Meitzler, genealogist and Managing Editor of Everton’s Genealogical Helper. “I did search my own name and was amazed to discover an item from an early 1970s Eatonville (Washington) Dispatch, complete with a picture, about a nursery business I operated when I was a kid. I had no idea the article was ever run. All of us have family members in small towns of America. This resource is amazing and shouldn’t be overlooked when searching your family history.”
To date, the company has scanned more than two million of its more than 20 million page archive, which will be available online as the digital images are created. For details visit www.smalltownpapers.com.
President Burt Hecht welcomed members and guests. He mentioned that the Bay Area JGS will hold a meeting February 26th in Los Altos Hills; a member will speak on "My Trip to Prague."
The International JGS conference is this summer, July 15-20, in Salt Lake City. Two of our members will be making presentations -- Mark Heckman on computer-related subjects and Bob Wascou on finding Bessarabia records in the Family History Library. In addition, several other Sacramento JGS members are planning to attend.
On Wednesday evening, February 28th, at the Sacramento Library's central branch, Paul Ferrell will give a presentation on techniques for interviewing and recording family members. To register, go to www.saclibrary.org.
Reva Camiel donated her cousin's book on their family, "Zelig's Odyssey," to our library, along with a copy of her family video.
Bob Wascou mentioned that members are thinking of holding an additional meeting, probably on a Sunday, to offer basic tips in getting started in genealogy.
Art Yates noted that 1905-1954 Utah death certificates are online and free, although you may have to enlarge them for readability. He also mentioned that ancestry.com has the Nevada marriage and death index now online, covering 1956 to 2005. (And yes, you can check out Britney Spears' brief Las Vegas marriage.)
Bob Wascou gave a treasurer's update in Allan's absence. Our bank balance is currently $1294.62.
February 11, 2007 Program
The February program featured "Treasures from the Attic," heirlooms and special family memorabilia shared by our members.
Reva Camiel kicked off the program with her Russian samovar. The heavy brass samovar was brought to this country by her mother's parents, who managed to bring it along with five children. "You put in hot charcoal and water heats up around it," Reva said. According to her family tradition, the oldest daughter inherits it.
Susanne Levitsky brought in her great-grandmother's kugelhopf mold, likely more than 100 years old. Kugelhopf is a coffee cake popular in the Alsatian part of France, near the German border, where her great-grandparents were from. Susanne also shared samples of a "zimmer kuchen" coffee cake, a recipe which has been made by four generations of her family and is still made in Alsace today.
Judy Pierini showed a 1945 booklet from the Shasta County Historical Society along with an article about the 90th birthday of a family member, which listed many names for her to search. She learned one of her relatives came west in a wagon train.
Linda Mendoza brought in beautifully framed copies of a naturalization certificate from her great-grandfather from Minsk, as well as a marriage contract from the 1890s. She also showed off a recent heirloom, a book she made for her granddaughter about the family, produced by Heritage Makers, where Linda works. "You can become an author in two weeks," she said.
Judith Gefter, who recently moved here from Jacksonville, Florida, shared several stories from her family. Her mother's family was large, with her father being one of 16 children. She was fortunate to have a cousin who started doing the family genealogy. She says she also learned that her grandfather was a strong man who lifted a wagon in front the future Czar Nicholas. For this he was allowed to work as a draftsman for the Czar and live in the Winter Palace. His work including building boxes for the Faberge eggs. Judith says he learned English because Peter the Great had brought many English books to Russia during his reign.
Mort Rumberg unfolded a family tree he produced through FamilyTree Maker -- 10 pages taped together. Mort was not very impressed with the software, since the various generation levels on the chart did not line up. He also showed binders he prepared for his family research, which include sections for documents, photos, family anecdotes, genealogical humor, recipes from the old country and more. "I asked everyone in my family for anecdotes and gave them 18 months to respond. Only one cousin did, and she was the one who got a copy of my research."
Iris Bachman brought in a book with a comprehensive Jewish calendar, 1900 through the year 2000. "I was going to donate it to the library, but in the back is a real treasure," Iris said. "There is the name and birthdate of every niece and nephew of my uncle." Iris also brought a copy of a photo of her great-grandparents. "It says where the picture was taken, and that's the only indication I have as to what area in Belarussia that they're from."
In addition, Iris showed a copy of a wedding group picture taken at a cousin's wedding in Brooklyn. "I was seven or eight and I remember the photo being taken. My goal is to identify everyone in the picture." She plans to scan the photo and e-mail it to everyone in the family.
And she also had a photo of her grandfather's house, which she obtained through the Dept. of Records and Information Services, Municipal Archives, 31 Chamber Street, New York, NY 10007. Burt Hecht mentioned that the photos are available from the collections at the New York Public Library.
Bob Wascou brought in a framed derringer pistol that his grandfather found hidden in a roof he was working on. He also brought and read from copies of his mother's diary from 1917 and 1918, which did include some information useful for family research.
Art Yates showed a few newer things -- his father is included in the Ellis Island database, including the address where he lived in Leeds, England. "My daughter and her husband put his name on the wall of honor at Ellis Island and framed this certificate of registration for me."
Art also brought a photo of the port of Haifa which he took during the 2004 international conference in Israel.
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See you Sunday, March 18 for Steve Morse's presentation.