September Genealogy Info
Jewish Genealogical Society
September 2, 2007
Mark Your Calendar:
Monday, September 24, 2007, 7 p.m. -- Gary Frohlich:
Our Heritage and Health -- Update on Jewish Genetic Disorders
Saturday, October 13, Family History Day, State Archives
Monday, October 15, 7 p.m. -- Pam Dallas: Beginning Genealogy Research
Sunday, November 18, 10 a.m. -- Carol Baird: German Jewish Research
Sunday, December 16, 10 a.m. -- Aaron Kornblum: Western Jewish Research Center , Berkeley
Cast Your Vote by Sept. 19
Paid members will have received an e-mail (others will be shortly be contacted by phone) about their preferences for our meeting day. Should it be half Sunday mornings and half Monday evenings, all Sunday mornings or all Monday evenings? Please respond to President Burt Hecht's e-mail with your preference by September 19. This will aid us planning for speakers in the coming year.
September Meeting: Update on Jewish Genetic Disorders
On Monday, September 24, 7 p.m., genetics counselor Gary Frohlich from Southern California will present up-to-date information on the genetic conditions that occur more frequently in Jews of Ashkenazi descent.
His presentation will explore the diagnosis, management and treatment of all 11 of the Ashkenazi Jewish genetic conditions with a focus on the most common Jewish genetic disorder -- Gaucher disease.
More than 9 out of 10 Jewish- Americans are unaware of Gaucher disease. Approximately one in 450 people may have Gaucher, and the carrier rate is approximately 1 in 14. Gaucher disease is two-and-a-half times more common than Tay-Sachs.
Frohlich will share information about the "Founder Effect" among the Ashkenazim and provide information about physicians and treatment centers specializing in diagnosing, managing and treating the Jewish genetic conditions.
Meeting Notes -- August JGSS Meeting
President Burt Hecht called the August 20, 2007 meeting to order. New members and guests were introduced. Burt said he had received correspondence from Terry Ayers with the LDS Church in Chico, asking whether we might like to have a display or send a speaker to their October 27 all-day genealogy fair.
Mort Rumberg gave an overview of upcoming programs (see "Mark Your Calendar" section); we are also looking for topics of interest for 2008.
Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer's report -- there is $1,803.15 in our account.
The August program featured a look at the July international IAJGS conference in Salt Lake City. Four members who attended shared their thoughts.
What's New on JewishGen
Bob Wascou mentioned that there were a number of new databases -- Lithuanian, Bessarabian, Philadelphia Jewish newspapers, obituaries, with new information to access.
Bob gave a demonstration of the two "easy search" boxes on JewishGen's home page to find your ancestral surname and ancestral town. There are also tool tips when your mouse hovers over certain words and different town names. You can see what country the town was located in at different periods of time, different town names, etc.
Bob also talked about FamilyTreemaker 2008. "Keep the version that you have on your computer," Bob said, "enter data on both until you're happy with the new version." At the current time, he said you can print out more types of family trees in the old version than in this newest version. "I would not buy it just yet."
Mark Heckman said there are many records from Ukraine, now indexed, that weren't accessible before. Go to www.nechamaslist.com. It includes an updated list of Jewish records in the Family History Library Catalogue. It's usually updated about once a year, but "I discovered a bunch more records that are new in the last six months," Mark said, including Czernowitz records.
In Salt Lake City, there are new records available by microfilm, and you can do a digital scan and save them to a USB drive, Mark said. Check out www.familysearch.org and the Family History Library catalogue. It's about $6 per film to order from Sacramento.
Mark said he searches Nechama's list site before he goes to the catalogue.
Mark also talked about the film festival at this year's conference, going on simultaneously with the talks and labs. ( The labs included computer labs -- Mark was in charge of all the computers -- Photoshop classes and a genealogy treasure hunt.) Back to the films -- there were about three dozen been shown all the time -- Mark was especially impressed by the "The Last Klezmer," about a man who stayed in Poland after the war, and made a trip back to Ukraine. He said they plan to have the film festival at next year's conference in Chicago as well.
The syllabus and family finder from the conference will be donated to our library; and thanks to member Sandi Kniep who will donate the audio version of the talks.
New library additions
Lester Smith showed off some of the outstanding additions to our library, most which came from Ancestry.com or Avotaynu. The new books include:
"A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames."
"A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries,"by Nolan Menachemson. Includes symbols on grave, how to read Jewish graves, burial locations of famous Jews and major Jewish cemeteries.
"Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel."
"Finding Ancestors in U.S. Census Records," by Loretto Szucs
"They Came in Ships," updated version by John Coletta.
"Military Records" at Ancestry.com
"The Source," latest version published by Ancestry.com . "This is probably the number 1 book on genealogy in the U.S., " Lester said. There is also a new chapter on computers and technology.
"Ellis Island," by Loretto Szucs.
"Guide to Naturalization Records of the U.S.; state-by-state, county-by-county.
"Official Guide to Rootsweb.com"
"Chicago, Cook County: A Guide to Research," by Loretto Szucs
If you're a JGSS member, you can check these books out for a month at a time, or take a look at them before or after our meetings.
Among the many conference offerings, Art Yates said he attended two presentations of particular interest:
1) Eastern European Internet Sites. He has a list of Web sites that includes www.rusarchives.ru for Russian research.
2) U.S.Citizen and Immigration Services (under the federal Homeland Security Agency). "This is the best talk I went to," Art said.
The agency oversees information on naturalization files, alien registration forms, visa files, registry records and more, and will be increasing access to the genealogists and the public.
There will be a fee for service; "everyone's under the impression it's going to be expensive," Art said. You can choose to receive documents by fax, e-mail or snail mail -- the service is expected to go into effect January 1. "I think they'll be snowed under by requests, even with expensive costs."
With regard to his personal research, Art had good luck. "The best thing that happened to me -- I wanted to find my wife's mother's Hungarian family and I found an 1869 census for her town. Each house had four pages of information."
Art advises finding a paid library employee not a volunteer to help you -- their knowledge levels are vastly different. "The lady from Budapest in Salt Lake City was just fantastic."
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See you Monday evening, September 24!
A few articles that may be of interest:
Allan Dolgow spotted this:
Professor Sherman L. Cohn, Georgetown
University Law Center
PRESIDENTIAL FIRSTS ....
GEORGE WASHINGTON was the first President to write to a synagogue.
In 1790 he addressed separate letters to the Touro Synagogue in
Newport, RI, to Mikveh Israel Congregation in Savannah, GA, and a
joint letter to Congregation Beth Shalom, Richmond, VA, Mikveh
Israel Philadelphia, Beth Elohim, Charleston, S. C., and Shearith
Israel, New York. His letters are an eloquent expression and hope
for religious harmony and endure as indelible statements of the most
fundamental tenets of American democracy.
THOMAS JEFFERSON was the first President to appoint a Jew to a
Federal post. In 1801 he named Reuben Etting of Baltimore as US
Marshall for Maryland.
JAMES MADISON was the first President to appoint a Jew to a
diplomatic post. He sent Mordecai M. Noah
to Tunis from 1813 to 1816.
MARTIN VAN BUREN was the first President to order an American
consul to intervene on behalf of Jews abroad. In 1840 he instructed
the U.S. consul in Alexandria, Egypt to use his good offices to
protect the Jews of Damascus who were under attack because of a
false blood ritual accusation.
JOHN TYLER was the first President to nominate a U.S. consul to
Palestine. Warder Cresson, a Quaker convert to Judaism who
established a pioneer Zionist colony, received the appointment in
FRANKLIN PIERCE was the first and probably the only President whose
name appears on the charter of a synagogue. Pierce signed the Act of
Congress in 1857 that amended the laws of the District ofColumbia to
enable the incorporation of the city's first synagogue, the
Washington Hebrew Congregation.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN was the first President to make it possible for
rabbis to serve as military chaplains. He did this by signing the
1862 Act of Congress which changed the law that had previously
barred all but Christian clergymen from the captaincy. Lincoln was
also the first, and happily the only President who was called upon
to revoke an official act of anti-Semitism by the U.S. government.
It was Lincoln who canceled General Ulysses S Grant's "Order No. 11"
expelling all Jews from Tennessee from the district controlled by
his armies during the Civil War. Grant always denied personal
responsibility for this act attributing it to his subordinate.
ULYSSES S. GRANT was the first President to attend a synagogue
service while in office. When Adas Israel Congregation in Washington
D.C. was dedicated in 1874, Grant and all members of his Cabinet
RUTHERFORD B. HAYES was the first President to designate a Jewish
ambassador for the stated purpose of fighting anti-Semitism. In
1870, he named Benjamin Peixotto Consul-General to Romania. Hays
also was the first President to assure a civil service employee her
right to work for the Federal government and yet observe the
Sabbath. He ordered the employment of a Jewish woman who had been
denied a position in the Department of the Interior because of her
refusal to work on Saturday.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT was the first President to appoint a Jew to a
presidential cabinet. In 1906 he named Oscar S. Straus Secretary of
Commerce and Labor. Theodore Roosevelt was also the first President