Although some think of chochka as just the Yiddish word for a dust collector on a shelf, such items can provide clues to our families.
Is yours a set of silver spoons engraved with a strange Cyrillic letter, or a ruby-colored glass with white dots? Family lore says both were brought over by a great-grandmother.
Do you have an old ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) and can’t read it? Old religious books? Shabbat candlesticks or tefillin may provide hints and clues. Prayerbooks can indicate if ancestors were Sephardi or Ashkenazi.
Have an old picture of ancestors and don’t know where or when it was taken?
If you have family items you’ve been wondering about, here’s your chance to get help at the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in New York.
Styled on the popular television program, Antiques Road Show, noted genealogist Rafael Guber will present a panel of experts for the "The Jewish Chochka and Ephemera Road Show" on Friday, August 18, from 9 a.m.-noon. Even better, while conference events are only open to registrants, this session is open to others, for a nominal charge at the door.
Guber invites researchers to bring items, documents, photographs and more for experts to analyze, translate and uncover secrets, helping owners understand what each says about their ancestors. The panel won't tell you what each is worth, however, "because we know it's priceless."
For more information, click www.jgsny2006.com/conference_program.cfm, and scroll down to Friday, August 18.