Next Meeting Sunday, March 18
The Jewish Calendar Demystified
Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento
Sunday, March 18, 10 a.m.
Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street.
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento is honored once again to have genealogist extraordinaire Steve Morse speak to us. Steve hosts the "must-see" Web site for genealogists of all levels -- www.stevemorse.org -- and has pioneered the "one-step" search mechanism for many sites and databases.
Steve's talk in March will focus on the Jewish calendar, important to genealogists because Jewish vital records use the Jewish dates. This includes not only birth, marriage and death certificates, but tombstone engravings as well.
The Jewish calendar is both a solar and lunar calendar, with the months being synchronized to the moon and years to the sun. As such, the rules governing the calendar can be a bit daunting. This talk presents the calendar in an easy-to-understand -- and sometimes tongue-in-cheek -- fashion. The aim is not to make you an expert in computing Jewish dates (there are programs that do that) but rather to give you an appreciation for what's involved in such calculations.
The month is defined as a fixed period of time rather than by astronomical observations, leading to a 19-year cycle of 235 months. Steve says several problems surface, and he will present four rules that solve these problems. He'll also discuss the origin of time, showing that creation occurred at the end rather than the beginning of year 1. The method of converting between Jewish dates and secular dates will be given, and errors in the Jewish and secular calendars demonstrated. He'll also describe the method of representing dates on tombstones by using Hebrew letters.
Steve Morse is an amateur genealogist who has been researching his Russian-Jewish origins for the past few years. Several years ago he developed some web-based searching aids which have attracted attention worldwide. He has received both the Outstanding Contribution Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.
In his other life Steve is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering from New York University. He has held numerous corporate research positions and taught at UC Berkeley, Stanford and several universities in New York. According to Steve, he is best known as the architect of the Intel 8086 (granddaddy of today's pentium processor), which sparked the PC revolution 25 years ago.
Steve's talk will kick off Jewish Genealogy Month, March 20- April 18 (Nisan 5767).
Allan Bonderoff Recovering
Several of our members have visited Allan at his current location, in room B-1 of the Eskaton Care Center-Greenhaven, 455 Florin Road, Sacramento 95831, (916) 393-2550. He is making progress and we continue to wish him a speedy recovery. We expect to see him at an upcoming meeting before long.
In Allan's absence, those who still need to submit 2007 dues should send checks to the JGSS c/o the Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento, CA 95825.
Anti-Semitism Program to Air
As you may have seen in the Sacramento Bee and elsewhere, KVIE Channel 6 has now decided it will air the program "Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence," following persuasion by the Jewish Community Relations Council..
The program, which has already aired nationally in many television markets, will be repeated a number of times here, as follows:
Wed. 3/14/07 11 p.m.
Thurs. 4/19/07 8 p.m.
Thurs. 4/19/07 11 p.m.
Sat. 4/21/07 1:30 a.m.
Sat. 4/21/07 4:30 a.m.
Yad Vashem Seeking Volunteers
Yad Vashem wants volunteers willing to contact local institutions and individuals to grow the Shoah Victims Database, whose principal documents are Pages of Testimony. With the aid of promotional materials Yad Vashem has developed, volunteers will reach out to survivors and their families and assist them in registering the names of Jews they know were murdered in the Shoah. This will be done through synagogues, Holocaust centers, Jewish community centers, Jewish student organizations, senior centers and social service agencies. To volunteer send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to names.outreach@... with the subject heading "Names Volunteer."
Internet Genealogy Radio Program
We previously mentioned the new weekly radio program on genealogy topics. Member Shelley Ross has listened to it and recommends it. It airs on Thursdays at 1 p.m. -- check out www.familyrootsradio.com. (And Shelley says the previous programs are archived, so if you can't listen live, you can catch up later.)
(from) GEORGEA KOVANIS: Detroit Free Press
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- June 29, 2015Upcoming Meetings:July – No meetingSunday, August 2 (note date change) – Valerie Jordan, "Uncovering Family Secrets Through Genealogy"Sunday, Sept. 27 (note date change) -- Glenn Kurtz, "Three Minutes in Poland"Meeting Notes – June 14, 2105President Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order. She said she recently spoke at RootCellar, and, at their initiation of officers, they described what their society was all about.Dave Reingold circulated an article from 1991 describing the three major world religions.Teven touted the book “American Ghost” by Hannah Nordhaus, mentioned on the NPR program “Fresh Air.”Mort Rumberg, in charge of our JGSS nominating committee, proposed the following slate:President -- Victoria FischVice-Presidents in charge of programming – Sheri Venezia, Dave ReingoldSecretary – Susanne LevitskyTreasurer – Judy Persin (our founding JGSS president)No other nominations were presented. Joan Jurancich moved the officer slate be approved. Gerry Ross seconded. The motion carried.Saturday, July 18 is Family History Day, to be held this year at the California Museum downtown (right next to a light rail station). It is free to the public. Mort has responded and requested we have a table.Mort will be attending the International JGS conference held this year in Jerusalem. There was discussion as to whether we should purchase flash drives from the conference, or access to the top 50 lectures available online for several months.June Program – Tony Chakurian“The Magners – A Journey in Recovering Lost Family Heritages”Tony, a member of the JGS, says he joined our group after talking with members at a Family History Day event a few years back.He began his research in 2008. At the time, he believed his background was1/2 Armenian, 3/8 Irish and 1/8 German. He believed the Magner family branch to be Irish Catholic. That was not what he ultimately discovered.Tony’s roots go back to 19th century California, with his great-great grandmother, Rose Underwood, born in the mining town of Copperopolis in Calaveras County in 1866.Rose’s daughter, Hazel Mary Magner, was born in San Francisco in 1895; her father, Emanuel, husband of Rose, was born in Stockton about 1868.Tony showed census records documenting these relatives, including an 1880 census showing Emanuel’s parents as having come from Prussia, not Ireland.Emanuel was buried in Colma, Tony learned from JewishGen and the JewishGen Online Burial Registry, but moved to Holy Cross Cemetery in 1943. So Tony's question -- was Emmanuel born Jewish? He found the death records of his parents, both buried in Colma as well, and confirmed that Emanuel was born Jewish.After doing his research, Tony talked with his grandmother and asked if she knew the Magners were not Irish. He says that's all he said. She replied that "They were were German Jewish, I know."Tony showed a photo of his great-grandmother in her first communion dress, indicating she was raised Catholic.Because Max Magner, Emanuel's father, died in 1903 before the San Francisco earthquake and fire, many of the records Tony sought were lost. He pieced together information fom the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses, all of which indicated Max had been born in Prussia, not Ireland.Tony said from the Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames, he found the name Magner in the province of Posen, which was part of Prussia in 1860.Rose Underwood, the wife of Emanuel who was born in Copperopolis, was of Chilean descent, and Tony confirmed details through the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censues. He also recounted a family story that Rose's mother, Maria, encountered famed California bandit Joaquin Murietta on horseback while she was a girl in California, giving him a cup of water. This would place Maria in California before the bandit died in 1853.To check what he had learned about his family by another means, Tony took the Ancestry DNA autosomal DNA test. It confirmed both his Jewish (8% European) and Chilean (5% Iberian Peninsula) ancestry. He also tested his mitochondrial DNA ("autosomnal only goes back six generations), using the National Geographic Genome 2.0 test. He found he was in group 2, one of the major Native American haplogroups. The group is very broad, he noted, including both North and South America.In February of this year National Geographic updated their mitochondrial results, refining Tony's haplogroup to B2i2b, which is generally found in central and southern Chile.Tony summarized the results of his research:-- The Magners didn't have Irish ancestry.-- Emanuel Magner was of Jewish ancestry and Maria Muscoc, one of his maternal ancestors, was born in Chile.-- Emanuel's parents were bron in the province of Posen in Prussia and Baden, Germany.-- Autosomal testing confirmed Tony's Chilean and Jewish ancestry-- Mitochondrial DNA indicated the B2i2b haplogroup, which is Native American with original in central and southern Chile.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Avotaynu's June 14 E-Zine:Stephen P. Morse Site Unblocked
Recognizing the importance of the Stephen P. Morse site (http://stevemorse.org), its Internet Service Provider, GoDaddy, has unblocked the site a number of days prior to its normal procedure. The site was taken down when GoDaddy received a complaint from a woman who stated that displaying her picture in a yearbook at the Morse site was in violation of her copyright. Morse challenged the complaint asking her to prove she was the copyright owner, and the woman was given two weeks to respond (which has now ended).
Citing Ben Affleck’s ‘Improper Influence,’ PBS Suspends ‘Finding Your Roots’PBS said on Wednesday that it was postponing a future season of “Finding Your Roots” after an investigation revealed that the actor Ben Affleck pressured producers into leaving out details about an ancestor of his who owned slaves.PBS will not run the show’s third season until staffing changes are made, including hiring a fact checker, it said.The show, which is hosted by the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., traces family histories of celebrities and public figures, and has run for two seasons. The concern about Mr. Affleck’s relative surfaced in the WikiLeaks cache of hacked Sony emails after Mr. Gates asked a Sony executive for advice about a “megastar” who wanted to omit a detail about a slave-owning ancestor.“We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found,” Mr. Gates wrote to a Sony executive, Michael Lynton, in July 2014. Mr. Gates added that this would violate PBS rules, and “once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”When the episode was broadcast in October, it did not mention the slave-owning ancestor. After the emails were posted to WikiLeaks, Mr. Gates said that producers had discovered more interesting ancestors from Mr. Affleck’s family, including a relative from the Revolutionary War and an occult enthusiast.Mr. Affleck said in April that he was “embarrassed” when he discovered that he was related to a slave owner. “I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves,” Mr. Affleck wrote on Facebook.In the investigation, PBS said that producers violated network standards by letting Mr. Affleck have “improper influence” and “by failing to inform PBS or WNET of Mr. Affleck’s efforts to affect program content.”The network said that before the third season of “Finding Your Roots” can broadcast, the show needs to make some staffing changes, including the addition of a fact checker and an “independent genealogist” to review the show’s contents.PBS also said that it had not made a decision about whether to commit to a fourth season of the show.In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Gates said, “I sincerely regret not discussing my editing rationale with our partners at PBS and WNET and I apologize for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming.”Freeze damaged heirloomsConservators and students at the University of Texas have been assisting flood victims salvage their heirlooms and documents following the devastating floods in that area. An article about their activities can be read at http://tinyurl.com/p5canb8, and an important bit of advice is appropriate to repeat here. "Wet papers and photographs, textiles, scrapbooks, books and other sentimental objects should be frozen, if possible, and not thrown out."A phone number and further advice is available at the website.From the June 28 Avotaynu E-Zine by Gary MokotoffBBC Strikes Back at EU “Right to be Forgotten” Rule
As previously reported numerous times, the European Union has declared Google must remove from its site links that provide objectionable information about its citizens. The British Broadcasting Corporation has struck back by placing on its website a list of BBC links Google removed as a result of the “right to be forgotten” decision by the European Court of Justice in May 2014.
The BBC will publish each month links to those pages that have been removed from Google's search engine. BBC stated they are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. They think it is important that those with an interest in the “right to be forgotten” can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. They hope it will contribute to the debate about this issue. BBC added that they also believe that the integrity of the BBC's online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.
Links to the removed pages can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/entries/ 1d765aa8-600b-4f32-b110-d02fbf7fd379. The most recent removal concerns a 2006 article about a man named Richard Holtby who strangled his girlfriend Suzy Healey the weekend before her 40th birthday. BBC does not indicate whether the request to have the offensive article removed came from the strangler, Holtby, or the family of the victim, Healey. From here in the United States, I Googled “Holtby Healey strangle” and got hits for the The Guardian, Daily Mail, and at least 10 other British newspaper sites. Suzy Healey is even listed in FindAGrave.com.
The bottom line is that the European Union has opened up a can of worms. Google has demonstrated its reach is so vast, it is impossible for a person to be forgotten even if he becomes a monk in the Himalayas. Rest assured that some day, someone will post to the Internet a list of all monks who live in the Himalayas and Google will index the list.
Thank you Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, for making me aware of this development, as well as the hundreds of situations she reports to the genealogical community every year about record access matters that affect family history research.
WDYTYA-US Summer Season Will Include J.K. Rowling
Though not officially announced, this summer season of the American version of Who Do You Think You Are will include Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Other celebrities who will discover their ancestral past are Tom Bergeron, Bryan Cranston, Ginnifer Goodwin and Alfre Woodard. The season premiere is Sunday, July 26 at 9 pm ET on TLC. Additional information is at http://tinyurl.com/WDYTYASummer2015.
Celebrities to appear on summer season of the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are have been announced. The exact dates were not given. Great British Bake off presenter Paul Hollywood, modeling legend Jerry Hall, Last Tango In Halifax stars Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, andactress Jane Seymour are among those on this year’s series.
Online Collection of Postcards Depict Scenes of U.S. Towns
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that USGenWeb has online a collection of postcards consisting of scenes of U.S. towns. The collection is at http://www.usgwarchives.net/special/ppcs/ppcs.html. They may be useful is dressing up a family history book you plan to publish. The site is interested in growing the collection. If you want to contribute postcards in your possession, click the “Submissions” link at the site for additional information.
New FamilySearch Additions
After a three-week hiatus, FamilySearch has announced it has added 15.6M indexed records and images to its site. he list is substantial, and it is worthwhile to glance through the entire list.Notable collection updates include 5.5M records from the Iowa 1925 State Census, 2M records from the California Death Index (1905–1939) and 1.2M images from Ontario Marriages (1869–1927).
DNA Testers: Be Patient
Israel Pickholtz has written an excellent article in his blog about the frustration people are having when DNA testing does not locate previously unknown relatives. His conclusion is to be patient.
He states, “…the realistic view is that with only five years of autosomal testing in the various companies' databases, we should not think that we are testing to find our relatives. We are testing so that when our relatives test someday, we will be there waiting to be found. In the meantime, we check our new matches every week or two. That ‘someday’ may be this week.”
Reminder: Have You Signed the Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights?
With all the talk about privacy rights by other interest and political groups, the genealogical community created its own “Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights” last May. The Declaration of Rights is a statement advocating open access to federal, state, and local public records. The Declaration affirms America’s long history of open public records, which has been threatened the last few years over concerns about identity theft and privacy.Genealogists advocate the right of access to records held by government agencies including but not limited to vital records (births, marriages, deaths, divorces); land conveyances and mortgages; tax assessments; guardianships; probate of estates; criminal proceedings; suits of law and equity; immigration; military service and pensions; and acts of governmental entities. Genealogists further advocate that they need to be allowed access to original records when photocopies, microfilm, digital images, or other formats are insufficient to establish clear text, context or completeness of the record. The rights of genealogists specified in the Declaration object to numerous barriers created to deny them access to records. We cannot have our voice heard in Congress without showing we are a formidable number of voters. Readers can read and sign the Declaration at http://tinyurl.com/GenealgyDoR.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~See you at our next meeting -- August 2!