30 April 2010

San Diego: Using Ancestry.com, May 16

Our geneablogging colleague Randy Seaver will speak on "Using Ancestry.com Databases and Family Trees Effectively," at the next meeting of the San Diego Jewish Genealogical Society, on Sunday, May 16.

The program runs from 1-3pm, at the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla.

Randy will discuss and demonstrate these topics and more and will offer recommendations.
The Ancestry.com subscription website has many wonderful features - it's like a lavish buffet where it is difficult to choose! What is best to do and how do you use it?
Searches: basic or advanced search; new or old search screens; exact or ranked matches; full names or wild cards; specific or all databases; restricted collection or whole collection.

For family trees: public or private; one-editor or group editors; GEDCOM upload or enter-by-hand; upload photos and documents; attach historical documents; add stories; "collect" data from others; synchronization with software; etc.
A native San Diegan, Randy is a graduate of San Diego State University in Aerospace Engineering, and is a retired aerodynamics engineer with a 38-year career at Rohr/Goodrich in Chula Vista. His ancestry is mainly colonial New England and Upper Atlantic, with some colonial German, French and Dutch forebears, and several 19th-century English immigrants.

Randy is one of our master geneabloggers, authoring Genea-Musings, The Geneaholic and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe.

His many genealogy activities include the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (former president, current newsletter editor and research chair); speaking to Southern California societies, libraries and groups; teaching OASIS senior adults beginning computer genealogy classes; authors the Genealogy 2.0 column for the FGS's ForumMagazine; and is a member of NGS, NEHGS, SDGS and CGSSD.

29 April 2010

Ohio: Cleveland's cemetery database, May 5

Do you have roots in Cleveland, Ohio?  There's a new database that may help you document individuals of interest in some 71,000 burials from 16 Cleveland-area cemeteries.

The project was carried out by the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland’s Commission on Cemetery Preservation. The Federation staff person coordinating the project is Susan Hyman and she will be the speaker at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland on Wednesday, May 5.

The program begins at 7.30pm, at Menorah Park, 27100 Cedar Road, Beachwood, Ohio.

The topic is “Using 21st Century Technology To Find Your 19th Century Ancestors - Jewish Cleveland’s New Cemetery Database.”

She has been, since 2007, the Federation's Information and Referral Specialist in the Community Planning, Allocations and Community Services Department. In addition to helping those affected by the economic downturn, sharing information about community programs and services, her portfolio includes cemetery preservation and other areas as well.

On March 13, a story - "A new database helps Jewish families find graves of ancestors" - by Grant Segall appeared on Cleveland.com detailing the project and successes.

According to the story, genealogists in Cleveland and elsewhere are networking via computers to share and collaborate on family history.
A California woman slogged through Cleveland snow this month and found more than 50 family graves.
In a way, the snow helped. Ricki Lee Davis Gafter of San Jose used handfuls to moisten headstones and make the letters stand out in her photos.
Gafter got much more help from a new database compiled by the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland's Commission on Cemetery Preservation. A dozen volunteers, some of them from the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland, spent about six years compiling some 71,000 records of burials in 14 Jewish cemeteries and in Jewish sections at two other cemeteries.
"It's been really helpful," said Gafter, who spent a few days here in her hometown visiting the living and finding the dead. "My family came to Cleveland in the late 1800s, and no one knew where everyone is. There was no record."
Using the database, she discovered not just stones but facts. "I just found my great great-grandma, who I didn't even know had made it to the U.S. Now I know who paid for her plot."
While some area Jewish cemeteries are professionally staffed, others are run by volunteers and there are no burial lists.

The project brought together data from cemeteries, synagogues and other sources. In one example, someone had filled a scrapbook with Jewish obituaries.

There are some estimated 85,000 area plots, so the 71,000 records in the database offer a good sense of history. Volunteers will continue to expand and update it, and it is expected to be online in a few months.

If your family comes from the Cleveland area and you'd like more information, email Hyman.

JGSLA 2010: New programs, classes, workshops!

In addition to lectures, JGSLA 2010 will offer programs on maps, roots travel, films and filmmakers, classes and crafts.

"This year in LA" is the 2010 mantra for Jewish genealogists around the world.

Don't miss the early registration discount for the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, July 11-16, in Los Angeles. Discounts end April 30, don't miss out. Go to JGSLA 2010 and register today.

Two fascinating speakers have been added to the program, and see further down for even more additions to the program.


USC Shoah Foundation Institute executive director Dr. Stephen Smith will speak on Wednesday evening, July 14.

He was founding director of The UK Holocaust Centre, the UK's first dedicated Holocaust memorial and education center. For this work, he was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.). Additionally, Smith co-founded the Aegis Trust, withe the goal of prevention of crimes against humanity and genocide. He chairs the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which organizes the UK national Holocaust commemoration.

A dynamic speaker, he is dedicated to bringing the Shoah Foundation’s survivor testimonies into the 21st century by making them accessible to a worldwide audience. His talk will address this topic.  The conference resource room will offer streaming Shoah Foundation survivor testimonies daily during the conference, beginning on Sunday, July 11, at 10am.


Professor Delores Sloane will discuss her new book, “The Sephardic Jews of Spain and Portugal: Survival of an Imperiled Culture in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,” a storyteller’s account of what happened to the expelled Iberian Jews who built new lives in exile after leaving what had been their home for 1,500 years.

Sloan believes that history is best understood through the experiences of those who lived it.

In 1996, she traveled through Spain and Portugal for five weeks, by train, bus and by foot, looking for footprints left by the remarkable Jews who had created a golden age of learning and discovery.

Her new book offers a compelling portrait of Sephardic Jews, who created a Golden Age on the Iberian Peninsula under Moslem rule for nearly seven centuries, and continued to advance science, medicine, political economy, government and the arts under Christian rule that followed. See the link above for more information.

Here's even more to absorb:

Maps and more

Ukraine and Galicia are on the menu with the famous Brian Lenius speaking on cadastral maps and landowner records; Alexander Dunai (from Lviv) on maps in the Ternopil (Tarnopol) archives; and Alexander Denysenko (from Lviv), on roots travel. Dunai and Seattle's Sol Sylvan will present how you can plan the trip of a lifetime. Other experts will be able to discuss roots travel to Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia and Lithuania.


Filmmaker, researcher and travel planner Michael Masterovoy of Moscow is flying in to  speak at the Belarus SIG luncheon (don't forget to sign up for this added event!). He'll speak about his recent trip to several Belarus towns, including Vitebsk, home to Movsha Shagal (AKA Marc Chagall).

He has created documentary and campaign videos for North American Jewish organizations and the film festival will screen several of his films, including “Brailov: A Town Without Jews."

In about two weeks, the complete Film Festival schedule will be online.

Arts & Crafts, Workshops, Classes

Frequent conference-goers know we all need breaks from lectures.

Some classes and workshops:

  • Sunday, Lil Blume will offer a two-part workshop on “Writing Family Stories and Memoirs.”
  • Monday-Thursday: Lynn Saul - “Creating and Retelling Your Family's Stories: A Participatory Writing Workshop;” Mike Karsen - “How to Create Your Family History;” and Marlis Humphrey - “I Couldn’t Put it Down! New Ways to Publish Family History.”
  • A Tallit–making class will cover the history of the Jewish prayer shawl, the Hebrew prayer for the atarah (or collar), the aleph bet chart with various Hebrew fonts, images to stitch to decorate the tallit, how to tie tzitzit (corner fringes), and sha'a'tnez. (prohibition of using two different fibres in the same textile).
  • “How to Create a Genealogical Quilt” using ancestral photographs as the artwork.
  • “Pomegranate Jewish Papercut” session to learn the art of Jewish paper cutting, using scissors. References to Jewish paper cutting date from 14th century and it became an important folk art among both Ashkenazim and Sephardim in the 17th-18th centuries. Each participant will have a papercut that they can display at home. There's a $10 kit fee for the project materials.
Holocaust, Sephardim, maps, roots travel, writing, films and filmmakers, along with arts and crafts! No matter your specific interests, there will be something - and lots of somethings - for you.

Tracing the Tribe looks forward to greeting you in Los Angeles.

28 April 2010

California: Jamboree mini-course registration begins May 1

In the Los Angeles area? Here are 14 more reasons to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree (June 11-13), in Burbank).

Registration opens May 1 for these 14 mini-course workshops (one or two hours each) - a really good line up of classes and instructors. If you are interested, sign up fast (only online as of May 1). These will likely fill quickly with only 17 seats per class.

You may sign up for the workshops only if you've already registered for Jamboree, but you can do both at the same time. Each registrant may sign up for only one workshop. All workshops (except one) require attendees to bring laptops or netbooks.

Download the complete Jamboree program grid here, so you'll be better prepared to organize your time.

Read instructor bios, class descriptions and whether there's an advance assignment to complete. Some courses require attendees to download something, register for an account, bring family details, have a specific program on your computer.

Seating is limited, so choose a second if your favorite has already filled. 

Course times, titles and instructors:

  • Friday: Using Google Earth to Map Your Ancestor’s Home, Google Docs for Beginners, Using Excel in Genealogy.
  • Saturday: Platting Your Ancestor’s Land, FindAGrave, Skype - The Cool New Way to Talk to the Grandkids, Blogger for Beginners, WordPress for Beginners, Writing Your Family History Using Microsoft Word.
  • Sunday:  Using Your Computer, Video Camera and YouTube, Second Life: A New World of Online Genealogy, Using Excel in Genealogy, Scanning Tips and Tricks, Google Reader for Beginners.
For complete mini-course descriptions, instructors and requirements, click here.

26 April 2010

New Resource: SCIRUS finds people!

Are there academics or scientists in your family? Would you like to know? Do you want to cast a wider family search net? Here's a new resource to help you.

SCIRUS.com is considered the most comprehensive science-specific search engine on the Internet, it searches more than 380 million science-specific Web pages. Researchers can pinpoint scientific, scholarly, technical and medical data; find the newest reports, articles, patents, journals, websites, homepages, courseware and repository information that other search engines might miss; and help scientists and researchers.

Importantly, it is also great for genealogists and family researchers looking to cast a wider net.

My search centered on our TALALAY and DARDASHTI families, and I was very pleased with the results.

There are quite a few academics and scientists in our TALALAY family, and this search engine found them. From Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins Medical School, to Dr. Mikhail Talalai (a Russian historian who lives in Italy), Dr. Pavel Talalai (Misha's brother in Saint Petersburg, a specialist in deep-sea ice), Dr. Alexander Talalai (communications) and many others, including Dr. Boris Talalai (originally of Saint Petersburg, now Beersheva University). Paul's daughter Rachel, a film/documentary producer, even got a mention.

Results: For TALALAY, there were 9,835 hits;  for TALALAI, 58 hits (this is the Russian spelling and also for a family of Polish Catholics in New Jersey and elsewhere). There were even 261 hits for TALALLA (sometimes the Spanish spelling as LL=LY, which can also be Talalya). A search for TALALAJ (a variant Polish spelling) produced 274 hits for people in Poland, the US and elsewhere. TALLALAY produced 13 hits, seemingly with TALALAY misspelled (I knew the people referred to, such as cousin Paul).

Our DARDASHTI family is also well-represented: Cardiologists Drs. Iraj Dardashti and Omid Dardashti; musician/anthropologist Dr. Galeet Dardashti; some in Iran (although I have no way of figuring out how they might be related at this point in time); some in Germany, Sweden, Norway; Dr. Kambiz Dardashti, our Philadelphia cousin Ephi Dardashti, and more. Tracing the Tribe even got a mention on a posting on the Sephardi Studies Caucus. There were 1,055 hits, with just one for DARDASHTY (a variant rare spelling).

Areas represented cover medicine, research, patents, culture, technology, anthropology and much more. It is well worth a visit and a search, particularly if you are dealing with an uncommon name.

Tracing the Tribe is not sure if a search for COHEN will turn up useful information for a particular family. Non-family names, such as my old New York pediatrician, Isaac Newton Kugelmass - who was in his 90s when I last knew him - got six mentions.

It is so successful at locating these types of results that it was voted Best Specialty Search Engine (2001. 2002) and Best Director or Search Engine Website (2004-2007).

And, since Tracing the Tribe often brings readers more than esoteric bits of information, here's the background on how the organizers selected the name SCIRUS:
"To the Eleusinians who were warring against Erechtheus, came a man, Scirus by name, who was a seer from Dodona, and who also established at Phalerum the ancient temple of Athena Sciras. After he had fallen in the battle, the Eleusinians buried him near a winter-flowing river and the name of the region and the river is from that of the hero."
We chose the name Scirus because seers and prophets are said to judge the signs of what is to come. And science is a visionary discipline in which you are continuously working on new ideas and developments. The Scirus search engine will pro-actively support your role as a seer.
*Excerpt from "The Description of Greece" by Pausanias, translated by August A. Imholtz, Jr., CIS Executive Editor
Check it out and see if Scirus can help you. See what you can find.

25 April 2010

Los Angeles: Changing Eastern European Borders, April 26

To understand in detail where our ancestors lived requires knowledge of the changing borders of Eastern Europe.

If you're in or near Los Angeles, try to attend the next Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles' meeting tomorrow (Monday, April 26), which will focus on "The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe," presented by Hal Bookbinder.

The program begins at 7.30pm at Tracing the Tribe's former home synagogue - Valley Beth Shalom - in Encino.

I've seen Hal's border changes presentation several times. It is excellent and puts everything into perspective. Researchers are likely to learn details that they never knew before. At left, compare only two screens for 1914 and 1937 to see some very major differences.

While the towns didn't move, the borders moved around them. My grandfather, born in Suchostaw (Galicia->Poland>Ukraine), used to say that he never knew where they were living until they heard how the teacher said good morning to the class.

Some towns have been in several countries, and this impacts archives and extant records, depending on  which government was in charge when. Border changes - country changes - also impacted the lives of our ancestors and knowing about those changes also helps. Changes impacted the languages in which records were kept, where the records may be found, migration patterns and more.

Hal uses his own ancestral town of Dubno as an example of these changes.

A past president of the IAJGS and a current JGSLA board member, he's been researching his family for more than two decades, has traced two lines to the mid-18th century and identified more than 3,000 relatives.  He's written several Jewish genealogy articles and contributed to several books. In his professional life, he directs computing for UCLA Healthcare and teaches university-level Information Technology.

Fee: JGSLA members, free; others, $5. The group's traveling library will be available at 7pm.

For more information, visit the JGSLA website.

23 April 2010

Israel: US-version of WDYTYA air times set

According to YES, the American version of "Who Do You Think You Are?" will air Thursdays at 11pm and Fridays at 7pm on YES Docu (channel 8).

Tracing the Tribe believes the Friday screening will be the repeat of the previous evening.

Set your recorders!

Boston: Daniel Laby's Sephardic roots, April 25

Dr. Daniel Laby will share his family's Sephardic journey from 13th-century Zaragoza, Spain to the New World with members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, on Sunday, April 25.

Read Tracing the Tribe's post about the meeting, which also features Brandeis Professor Jonathan Decter, here.

The Canton Citizen's story about Laby and his family is here.

The pediatric opthamalogist, also a professor at Harvard Medical School, also has family connections to Lerida, where Tracing the Tribe found the first document for our family.

His family's journey has covered Spain, Hebron, Salonika, North Africa, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Dan began researching his family in high school when the earliest date he knew was his paternal grandfather's 1904 arrival in the US.

Since then, he's reached back into the 13th century. Family members worked as financiers, diplomats and doctors for the Kings of Aragon.

A few years ago, three generations of his family visited their ancestral family home in Zaragoza and other cities in Spain. He put together an excellent multimedia presentation on the family trip which he shared with JFRA Israel members.

Research on his grandfather's family, from Hebron, was furthered by a book on the history of that community. It included detailed land deeds which helped him trace back several hundred years.
“I think to really understand what your future is going to be … you have to understand where you came from and what your past history is,” Laby said.

“I think anyone could do it,” Laby said of tracing ancestry. “You just have to have curiosity and patience and determination.”
It was interesting to see Dan's quote, that he was “fortunate to have an obscure name.” This is in line with my own views. Dan says if he was looking for Cohen or Levy, it would be more difficult to find the documents for his ancestors.

Tracing the Tribe feels much the same; hunting for Talalay and Dardashti makes it much easier!

While we can trace with probability our kosher winemaker ancestor in Lerida mentioned in a document dated 1358, Dan has gone back to 1202 for his prominent family, which helped arrange the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, as well as funding for Columbus's trip to the Americas.

Dan and I have joked that our ancestor made the wine his ancestors drank way back when.

Using ancient property ownership maps in Zaragoza, he was able to visit the site of the ancestor's home during his trip to Spain.

His family, along with other Spanish Jews, was expelled in 1492. Family members went to North Africa, Italy, Greece and Israel. Through his research, he's met relatives and, in Israel, met the Alazar descendants, whom their ancestors had known in Spain.
“When you do this kind of family history you learn those small details, which makes it real and makes it personal, which is what is fun about it,” he said.
His documents include arrival records, passenger logs, land deeds, maps, and a 1435 ketubah (a Jewish marriage contract).

The Internet has helped, of course, and he aso worked through reams of microfilm at the National Archives, Washington DC. He also uses DNA to help,

How far back does he want to go? "To Abraham," he jokes.

Jerusalem Post: Tracing the Tribe, other gen resources mentioned

David Shamah, who writes on Internet and technology for the Jerusalem Post (print/online), published a roots column today listing various Jewish and general genealogy resources.

"Hi-Tech 101: At the roots of it all" noted that "If you’ve thought about the idea of putting together a family tree, the Internet can be a great friend."

Sources mentioned for tips, information and how to peel away the layers of the past included:

-- Google's cache, Google Earth and Google News
-- Genealogy Gems podcast and the regular site.
-- Cyndi's List
-- Tracing the Tribe (happy dance!)
-- Roots TV's Jewish Roots channel
-- Yad Vashem
-- JewishGen
-- Ellis Island
-- Tribal Pages

In my opinion, there were two major omissions: SephardicGen.com and MyHeritage.com.

Shamah noted links to a page of common genealogical research mistakes at ShoestringGenealogy. A link (broken) was given to a page that I hope refutes the myth that anyone's name was changed at Ellis Island - if we only had a penny for each time this myth has been perpetuated by people who should know better.
Read the complete article at the link above.

22 April 2010

AP Styebook: 'Web site' is now 'website'

Language changes are always interesting, and the AP Stylebook (print/online) has announced two changes to become the rule on May 15.

Finally, we can now write "website" instead of "Web site," according to the copy editor's bible:
Tracing the Tribe has been doing this for a long time. Now I don't need to feel so guilty about it.

However, Internet remains cap-I, Web remains cap-W, and e-mail still has a hyphen, according to recent AP Online questions.

Another change, also adopted long ago by Tracing the Tribe to prevent confusion among international readers - is to spell out the names of US states and also to write Canada instead of the province after major cities. This is the AP announcement:


The Associated Press is changing its style on state abbreviations and Canadian cities to create a consistent and universal style for international and domestic use. Starting May 15, the proper style will be to spell out the names of U.S. states in all stories and datelines where a city is followed by a state name. SACRAMENTO, Calif., for example, will become SACRAMENTO, California. We also will drop the practice of including names of Canadian provinces in datelines. We will instead use Canada. VANCOUVER, British Columbia, for example, will become VANCOUVER, Canada.
Changes become the rule on May 15, for those who do not already follow the new style.

Now, if there were only one official spelling for Chanukah-Hannuka-Hanukah-Channuka, etc.

Maybe that will come next.

Southern California: 'Genealogy in the round," May 2

"Genealogy In The Round: Share Your Successes, Failures, Artifacts and Brick Walls" is the topic at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County, on Sunday, May 2.

It begins at 1.30pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks.

Sharing problems, solutions and other aspects of family history research helps everyone. One person's experience may solve another's problem.

Come and share a genealogical success, failure, brick wall, or genealogical artifact! This is your meeting - we all learn from one another - take this opportunity to share your genealogical story - success or failure, ask questions about your brick walls, and more!
If you wish to participate in the program, contact Jan Meisels Allen at president@JGSCV.org. Each participant will be given 5-10 minutes to share - depending on the number of presenters. Whether you are a JGSCV member or a potential member - we'd love to hear your genealogical story.
There is no fee to attend this meeting.

21 April 2010

Israel: US-version WDYTYA to air on YES (not HOT)

CORRECTION: Tracing the Tribe indicated the news was on HOT, but it was on YES Channel 8 "Docu."
Do I need more sleep? Yes! Apologies.

Well, well, well. What a surprise tonight!

In addition to learning that BBC will air the American version of "Who Do You Think You Are?" beginning April 25, Tracing the Tribe was also delighted to see the following announcement on TV tonight:

YES cable's Channel 8 Docu advertised that the US version of "Who Do You Think You Are?" will be airing soon.

Tracing the Tribe will try to get a start date from the channel and inform readers.

Los Angeles: Jamboree discounts end April 30

The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is just around the corner, June 11-13, at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel and Convention Center.

Some 1,600 attendees will benefit from 120 sessions, workshops and events; 50 internationally known speakers, and 70 exhibitors displaying products and services.

The geneabloggers will again be there in force with two special Blogger Summit sessions. Go from zero to blogging in only 60 minutes in the first, while the second will take you higher as you learn how to market your blog, make it more appealing and even more important issues.

Tracing the Tribe is on the panel for the second blogger session (11.30am-12.30pm, Saturday, June 12, "Now that You’re a Genealogy Blogger") My genea-colleagues for that session are Lisa Louise Cooke, Kathryn Doyle, Thomas MacEntee and Craig Manson.

Later that day (2-3pm), I will present "The Iberian Ashkenaz DNA Project: The Administrator's Viewpoint." it will cover developing and building a DNA project from initial concept, project goal, criteria, participation and results.  

Early-bird discounts end April 30. Register by then and receive a $10 registration discount, $5 discount on all special events, and a free copy of the printed syllabus ($20 value).

More reasons - there are many - include:

-- Free Friday kids' session for ages 8-16, as well as librarians and beginner researchers.

-- Free "Genealogy World" roundtable small group discussion sessions Friday morning - dozens of topics lead by experts (Tracing the Tribe and Daniel Horowitz will each lead one on Jewish research). Topics include regional and ethnic research, searching birth families, genealogy society management sessions. The Jamboree blog will detail these roundtables scheduled over three hours.

-- Free document and photo scanning provided by Ancestry.com.

-- Free webinar to help get the most out of any genealogy conference, including Jamboree. Click on the webinar image here.

-- Friday morning tour of Evergreen Cemetery (Los Angeles), followed by lunch at Philippe's Who says genealogy isn't delicious? Philippe's is where, according to legend, the French Dip sandwich was created!

-- Excel, Word, Skype, blogging and Google applications in hand's-on minicourses.

-- Door prizes - worth thousands of dollars - include a week at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, a weekend at Strawberry Creek Inn or Bunkhouse B&B (Idyllwild, California).

-- Beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.

-- Live podcast Saturday - with Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems Podcast.

-- Friday night banquet with Chris Haley, nephew of Alex Haley ("Roots").

-- Free webinar Saturday morning with DearMYRTLE. Societies from across the US and Canada can participate from home via GoToWebinar. Join us onsite for breakfast (fee) or over the web.

Dates to remember:

April 30: Early bird registration ends at midnight.
May 1: Mini-sessions registration opens.
May 10: Marriott hotel discount ends.
June 1: Pre-registration closes.

Get all the details on Jamboree; click on the Jamboree logo.
Follow all Jamboree blog updates.

See you in Burbank!

20 April 2010

South Africa: Seeking Ochberg Orphan descendants

Genealogists are detectives, so here's a case many of us might be able to help solve.

David Solly Sandler of Australia is seeking 2,000 South Africans - the descendants of 60 Ukrainian war and pogrom orphans, known as Ochberg's Orphans.

Writes David: 
In 1921, Isaac Ochberg, representative of the South African Jewish Community, travelled to Poland and the Ukraine and brought back with him to Cape Town 167 "Russian, Ukraine and Polish War and Pogrom Orphans" plus 14 "attendants and nurses," mainly older siblings.
Half the children were placed in the care of the Cape Jewish Orphanage (later Oranjia) and half went to Johannesburg, under the care of the South African Jewish Orphanage (later Arcadia). Many children were adopted by Jewish community members, who contributed generously to a fund to bring the children to South Africa and care for them.
What's David's connection to Arcadia? Born in 1952, David grew up from age 3-17 at Arcadia, the South African Jewish Orphanage in Sandringham, Johannesburg. Now a semi-retired chartered accountant, he lives in Western Australia and has completed two books on Arcadia (see below for more information). For the history of the orphanage - established in 1899 - click here.

David is now in month 18 of the 27 months he's allocated to record the life stories of the Ochberg Orphans. Of the 181 children, the stories of 90 have been recorded, contact has been made with another 30, but 60 still remain to be contacted.

How did he arrive at this number? David believes - for the so far "missing" 60 - that each child was born around 1910, married and had three children, nine grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, thus there should be more than the estimated 2,000 descendants cited above. Of course, no one knows for sure.

However, what is really important in this story is that many descendants might not know their connection to the Ochberg Orphans. The children did not often speak about this and many tried to hide the fact from their children because of the stigma of being an orphan.

One descendant wrote, says David:

Today, as for the general South African Jewish community, half  of the 2,000 descendants likely have left South Africa and now live around the world in Israel, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
“The general attitude of the community was that it was a mitzvah to have adopted one of those poor orphans, a good deed in a dark world, but you really wouldn't want one of them to marry into your family, would you? After all, you knew nothing of their parents and extended family, their health history and their genetic background. This is a generalisation that isn't true of all the adopters but it was certainly true of a fair number, nervous, insecure, only to do nothing that would jeopardise their increasing prosperity and emergent social solidity.”
Here's the kicker - here are the names of these orphans. If you have someone with this name in your family tree, born c1910, there's a chance you might be an Ochberg Orphan descendant, so read the list carefully and if you find a name of interest, contact David (email below).

-- CWENGEL Saul,
-- ELMAN Blume, ELMAN Jentl/ Izzy, ELSHTEIN Abo, ENGELMAN Jakob,
-- H/GURWITZ Rosa,
-- JUDES Rubin,
-- KAHAN Channe, KAHAN Golda, KAHAN Morduch/Mordche, KAHAN Shachna, KAILER Rywka, KAUFMAN Cypora, KAUFMAN Soloman/Shlama, KAWERBERG Mayer, KAWERBERG Mees/Moshe, KIGIELMAN Jacob, KNUBOVITZ Zlata, KREINDEL Rejsel, KRUGERr Rejsel, KRUGER Abram, KRUGER Jacob,
-- LIPSHIS Moishe, LIPSHYTZ Perel,
-- NUDERMAN Gdalia,
-- TREPPEL Jacob
-- WEIDMAN Sheindel.
David adds that by the end of 2010, the lifestories of some 130 of the children will have been collected. They will be included in a book to be published and sold internationally with all proceeds going to Arcadia and Oranjia, as are the Arcadian Memory Books.

Readers who recognize names of interest should email David for more information, or if you are a descendant and want your family's story included.

"100 Years of ARC Memories" (March 2006) celebrates the centenary book of Arcadia, formerly the South African Jewish Orphanage.

"More ARC Memories" (December 2008) is the sequel to the first volume, and includes 17 chapters on the Ochberg Children.

Together, the books total 1,100+ pages and hold the memories of more than 250 children. All proceeds go to the Arcadia Children's Home that still exists and looks after children in need. By the end of 2009, some Rand 365,000 had been raised and the target is Rand 1 million. The set of two books costs $100 plus $10 shipping (click here for more information).

19 April 2010

San Francisco: New Mexico's Sephardic Legacy, April 29

Along our journey of discovery, we meet many people who inspire us, who teach us, who enlighten us as to topics that others consider esoteric.

One of Tracing the Tribe's most interesting encounters years ago was with Dr. Stanley M. Hordes of New Mexico, who specializes in Crypto-Jews of that state. He treats those involved in his research with great dignity and understanding, and his skill in genealogical research and history has enabled many links to be made.

San Francisco residents will have an opportunity to hear Stan present "The Sephardic Legacy in New Mexico: A History of the Crypto-Jews," on Thursday, April 29, at 7.30pm, at the Jewish Community Library.

During his tenure as New Mexico State Historian in the 1980s, Stanley Hordes began to hear stories of Hispanics who lit candles on Friday night and abstained from eating pork.

Hordes is adjunct research professor at the Latin American and Iberian Institute of the University of New Mexico and a Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies board member.
Puzzling over this phenomenon, Hordes realized that these practices might well have been passed down through the centuries from early crypto-Jewish settlers in New Spain. His theory was corroborated after hundreds of interviews and extensive research and led to his award-winning book on the history of the crypto-Jews in New Mexico.

Dr. Hordes will talk about the conversos from their Jewish roots and forced conversions in Spain and Portugal to their migration to central Mexico in the 16th and 17th centuries and their part in the colonization of New Mexico.
Using slides, he will describe customs and consciousness that have survived to this day, the recent reclamation of Jewish ancestry within the Hispano community, and the challenges of reconstructing the history of a people who tried to leave no traces.
His book (above left) - "To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico" - received the Gaspar Perez de Villagra Prize in 2006 by the Historical Society of New Mexico for outstanding historical publication of the year.

If you have not yet read this book, do get a copy. It is a truly fascinating read. He is also working on another book, documenting the same culture in other New World communities.

The event is co-sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, Be'chol Lashon (In Every Tongue) and Lehrhaus Judaica.

For more information, click here.

18 April 2010

Florida: 'Googling Goodies for Genealogists,' April 25

"Googling Goodies for Genealogists" will be presented by Paul L. Enchelmayer at the next meeting of the  Jewish Genealogical Society of Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), in conjunction with Nova Southeastern University (NSU), on Sunday, April 25.

The free program begins at 1pm at NSU's Alvin Sherman Library, 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd, Davie.

Enchelmayer has spoken to nearly two dozen societies and clubs, presenting programs to help others learn how technology can aid in family history projects.

He is chair of the Genealogy Group, University Club, Winter Park; past president and current webmaster, Central Florida Genealogical Society, Orange County; member and webmaster, Florida State Genealogical Society's Speakers Bureau; member, National Genealogical Society; and member, Hamilton County Genealogical Society, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Seating is limited, pre-registration required, so click here to let them know you're coming.

For more information, click on the JGSBC site, or send an email. A link on the JGSBC site will lead to the library site, with a map and directions.

Connecticut: Genealogy guru Arthur Kurzweil, May 2

Famed genealogist and author Arthur Kurzweil will give the keynote presentation, "Jewish Genealogy as a Spiritual Pilgrimage," at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford's Family History Day, on Sunday, May 2.

His book, "From Generation to Generation," was one of the first books on Jewish genealogy and inspired a generation of individuals to begin their journey of discovery (including Tracing the Tribe). He was also among the founders of the very first Jewish genealogical society, in New York City.

Kurweill will also be the scholar-in-residence at this summer's 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy - JGSLA 2010 - July 11-16, Los Angeles.

The venue is Beth El Temple in West Hartford, from 12.30-5pm. Kurzweill will also lead two workshops at the event. One will be for experienced genealogical researchers and one to help those discover what happened to relatives during the Holocaust. Fee: members, $12; others, $15. View the event brochure here for complete information on all 10 workshops and registration.

Family History Day is an opportunity for adults and middle- and high-school aged children to learn how to save family memories and treasures for future generations. The program will include 10 expert workshops on topics including conducting an effective interview; writing your own memoir; conducting genealogical research; archiving precious photos, papers and artifacts; and creating keepsake memories. A vendor showcase will display products and services related to genealogical research.
He was interviewed - "Jewish genealogy as a spiritual pursuit" - in the Jewish Ledger.

Among his other books: "On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz: 25 Years of Pre-Dawn Car Trips, Mind-Blowing Encounters and Inspiring Conversations with a Man of Wisdom;" "The Torah for Dummies," "The Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy" and "My Generations: A Course in Jewish Family History," a popular text used for almost two decades in North American synagogue schools. An accomplished magician, he is also coordinator of the Talmud Circle Project, directed by Rabbi Steinsaltz.

He received the Distinguished Humanitarian Award (Melton Center, Ohio State University) for his unique contributions to Jewish education, and the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award.
In the interview, Kurweill says:
I believe that in the same way that the Talmud says that when the Temple was destroyed, they rebuilt by doing their family trees, in our generation we have the same task. As a rebuilding generation, we are doing our family trees to rebuild, to put the pieces back together again, to take that shattered people and to bring them back together again. Our work is mitzvah work. I think we are doing a good job.
Learn how he developed an interest in genealogy:
When I began investigating my family history I found that there were no guidebooks. I ended up writing the book I wish I had been able to find.
How does an absolute beginner start?
The first step is to talk to relatives. That's always the first step. The documents will wait. The people don't wait. Talk to every relative you can find. Talking to relatives is the most important thing to do. After that, I'd say you should explore www.jewishgen.org. This is cyberspace headquarters for Jewish genealogy. If you are interested in Jewish genealogy and you go to this website, we won't see you again for months!

Interest in Jewish genealogy is growing. More and more people each year are becoming convinced that you can be very successful in climbing your Jewish family tree. There is no question that the major factor in the growth of this pursuit is the Internet and all that it offers the researcher.
The story also addresses how his spiritual life meshes with genealogy:
It seems to me that every step of the way when we pursue our genealogical research, we are involved in mitzvahs. Who more than we honor the elderly? Who more than we reach out to the elderly people in our family and our communities and make them feel like we need them - because we do. And what is that but a mitzvah, to honor the elderly. Who more than we ask questions? The Talmud consists of questions, thousands of ways of asking different questions. Did you ever ask the question, "Where did you get that information from?" Well, there is a little code word in the Talmud for the question, "Where did you get that question from?" And who has perfected the art of asking questions more than we have?

Who like we genealogists performs the mitzvah of ahavat Yisrael, the love of the people of Israel, which really means tolerance. What Jews in the world are more tolerant than Jewish genealogists? Why are we tolerant? We are tolerant because we learn that on this branch of the family there are Galicianers, and on this branch there are Litvaks, and on this branch there are assimilated Jews and on this branch there were intermarriages! And we see that each of our families really is everybody, and in the process we become tolerant.
Read the complete interview at the link above

Lebanon: Ashkenazi, Sephardi Beirut burials online

Jeff Malka, creator of SephardicGen.com, informed Tracing the Tribe that Beirut Jewish Cemetery data is online now at his site.

In 1948, some 24,000 Jews lived in Lebanon. Most of them were in Beirut. Today, there only 30 seniors.

Jewish community symbols in Beirut today are the Magen Avraham synagogue and the Jewish cemetery (with 3,300 burials).

Tracing the Tribe has previously written about Beirut and its Jewish community.

 During the Lebanese civil war, the cemetery was the border of  the Christian Phalange forces. Although damaged by bombs, it was never desecrated.

A Lebanese Christian, Nagi Georges Zeidan, has memorialized the Jewish community of his country by researching its history and creating a database, using both cemetery and civil registrations, with 3,184 gravestone inscriptions
Both Ashkenazi and Sephardi burials are included in the searchable database.

Click here for the English database and here for the French version.

Do check out the many searchable databases covering numerous countries and topics at SephardicGen.com.

17 April 2010

Your Tweets are History!

How Tweet it is - for eternity!

If you have ever sent a Tweet, your descendants will now have an even better picture of what you were like, your life, your interests.

For genealogists, this may be quite helpful to future generations who really want to know what their grandparent had for lunch.

Others do not feel quite the same.

Read on for the upside, and the down, of this recent development.

The Library of Congress, according to Matt Raymond's blog post, has acquired the entire Twitter archive. Every 140-character-or-less tweet that you have ever sent since Twitter launched in March 2006 - in anger, in humor, in simple status updates - will now be available at the LOC.

How many are there? Twitter gets more than 50 million - Twitter says some 55 million - tweets a day, totalling billions of the darned little things.

It was announced to the Twitter community via the LOC's own feed (@librarycongress); the LOC's feed has more than 50,000 followers:

Twitter posted the information on its own blog.
Library to acquire ENTIRE Twitter archive -- ALL public tweets, ever, since March 2006! Details to follow. (11:36 AM Apr 14th via web Retweeted by 100+ people)
That blog post also mentioned Google Replay.
"... It is our pleasure to donate access to the entire archive of public Tweets to the Library of Congress for preservation and research. It's very exciting that tweets are becoming part of history. It should be noted that there are some specifics regarding this arrangement. Only after a six-month delay can the Tweets will be used for internal library use, for non-commercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation. ..."
"... Today we are also excited to share the news that Google has created a wonderful new way to revisit tweets related to historic events. They call it Google Replay because it lets you relive a real time search from specific moments in time. ..."
Read about Google Replay here. Although it currently only goes back a few months, it will include the very first Tweets ever created.

Raymond indicated that soon there will be a LOC press release with even more details, focusing on scholarly and research implications.

Other facts gleaned from these announcements: the LOC holds 167 terabytes of web-bsed information. That includes legal blos, national office candidates websites and Congressional members' websites.

For positive and negative reactions to this development, see the LOC post comments at the link above. Remarks included: Awesome, who owns the copyright (Twitter or the re-Tweeter)?, what right does the government have to a private individual's Tweets, is the 167 terabytes backed up?, tax dollars at work, waste of time and money, banal and narcissistic, no warning?, awful, access policies?, incredibly valuable resource, be careful what you Tweet online, what happens if a public Twitter account goes private?, can't put the genie back in the bottle, who owns non-US-generated Tweets? and more.

As should always be the case, be careful as to what private information you post on any social media networking site, such as Facebook, Twitter or others.

Northern California: 'Sharing, Preserving in Digital Era,' April 19

Learn how to share and preserve family memories in a digital age with speaker Daniel Horowitz at the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society's Peninsula branch in Los Altos, on Monday, April 19.

Doors open at 7pm, the program begins at 7.30pm at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Today researchers have many options for storing and sharing research material, including text, images, videos, documents and sound. Today's tools range from "capturing" devices (such as audio/video recorders, cameras, mobile phones and scanners) to products for sharing (such as CDs, DVDs, portable disc, electronic photo frames) to the Internet itself.

For many, the Internet is the perfect place to share and preserve memories. Publish your material in a range of ways, from those that are completely private to completely public, everything between.

Ask for collaboration or confirmation or simply display the information; and you can control every aspect. Many easy-to-use tools and resources can facilitate the work of setting up websites, blogs, wikis or any other ways to publish the information.

Learn the different available options, establish your goals and decide the best way to publish your research and collected materials, and allow the younger generations to enjoy, help and collaborate in your project.

Born and raised in Caracas,Venezuela, Daniel Horowitz and his family have lived in Israel since 2005. He is translation and database manager at MyHeritage.com, a genealogical social networking site with many exciting features for connecting families around the world.

He's a computer instructor and teacher/creator of the Searching for My Roots genealogy project for young people. A founder/lecturer for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Venezuela, he's a member/webmaster of the Israel-based IGS/JFRA society and the Horowitz Family Association.

He's a frequent lecturer at international Jewish and general genealogy conferences and is a board member/webmaster of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS).

Fee: Attendance is free to all. For more information, contact the SFBAJGS vice president and branch chair Rosanne Leeson.

Hong Kong: 'Asian Jewish Life,' spring issue online

On my recent Hong Kong visit, I met with editor-in-chief Erica Lyons of "Asian Jewish Life: A Journal of Spirit, Society and Culture."

The new AJL spring 2010 issue is now online with stories covering India, Shanghai, Cambodia, foodies, book reviews, film and more.
"Asian Jewish Life is a contemporary journal of Jewish diaspora life throughout Asia. As Jews in Asia we are but a tiny minority unified by tradition, a love for Israel, common contemporary concerns and shared values. While Asian Jewish Life is a common media forum designed to share regional Jewish thoughts, ideas and culture and promote unity, it also celebrates our individuality and our diverse backgrounds and customs."
Here's the table of contents (read each online or download the PDF at the link above):
-- Inbox: Your letters
-- Letter from the Editor
-- India Journal- Life with the Bene Ephraim (Bonita Nathan Sussman and Gerald Sussman)
-- Eating Kosher Dog Meat: Jewish in Guiyang (Susan Blumberg-Kason)
-- Through the Eyes of ZAKA (Jana Daniels)
-- Interview: Ambassador Yaron Mayer

-- Replanting Roots in Shanghai: Architect Haim Dotan’s journey (Erica Lyons)
-- A Palate Grows in Brooklyn: Birth of a foodie (Sandi Butchkiss)
-- Poetry by Rachel DeWoskin
-- The Death Penalty: What Asia can learn from Judaism (Michael H. Fox)
-- Learning to Speak: A cross-cultural love story (Tracy Slater)
-- Book Reviews (Susan Blumberg-Kason)
-- Places I Love
-- Expat Diary: Raising a Jewish Child in Cambodia (Craig Gerard)
-- Film in Focus
Each article provides a diverse look into life in Asia, with a Jewish "hook." Tracing the Tribe will always remember the line "tenderloin of my heart," from Tracy Slater's "Learning to Speak."

Readers and writers with Jewish Asian experiences are invited to submit articles; click here for more information.

If you enjoyed this issue (the winter issue is also online), let Erica know, and tell her you learned about AJL at Tracing the Tribe. Feedback is always welcome.

A great issue, Erica!

Chicago: 'My Uncle, The Hollywood Producer,' April 25

Robin Seidenberg will present "My Uncle, The Hollywood Producer: A Fabulous Tale," at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, on Sunday, April 25.

The program begins at 2pm at Temple Beth Israel, in Skokie.

Seidenberg, who will present this topic (with a slightly different title) at the upcoming JGSLA 2010, will demonstrate how she used online historical newspapers and other research tools to separate fact from fiction about her famous uncle.

Family whispers captured Robin’s curiosity about her uncle, the Hollywood producer. Having made millions in real estate and radio manufacturing, he was known as the zipper king when he arrived in Hollywood. Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Charles Laughton, Barbara Stanwyck, Angie Dickinson, Jane Powell and a future president of the United States starred in his productions.

Always amidst a bevy of beauties, he had several wives, including a Ziegfeld Follies star, a society heiress, and an actress called one of the most beautiful women in the world. Hear this fascinating story and learn how can research your family using online historical newspapers.
A former college French teacher, Seidenberg earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees (University of Chicago) and completed most of her PhD requirements (University of Illinois). A member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, Robin has been researching her family history since 1997. She is the JGSI's executive vice president and Lake County Area Computer Enthusiasts president.

The day begins at 12.30pm, so members can access the JGSI library, and receive help prior to the program.

For more information and directions, click here.

16 April 2010

UK: 160 years of Illustrated London News now online

Researching your ancestors in the UK just became easier, with 160 years of the Illustrated London News now online.
Hosted by Gale, there are some 250,000 pages and about 750,000 photographs and illustrations, from its first issue on May 14, 1842 to the last in 2003. At a time when copper printing was expensive and took time, the ILN developed a fast, cheap woodcut print method for illustrations. Photographs first began to appear in print during the late 19th century.

"It was the multimedia of its day," said Seth Cayley, publisher of media history at Cengage Learning, which has digitised the ILN archive. "In one sense, people didn't know before then what the rest of the world really looked like. ILN was the strongest paper of its sort and helped shape the middle class."
According to the Guardian, highlights include articles by such writers as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Wilkie Collins and Agatha Chrstie. The first illustrated news publication included all the news of the day, such as wars, disasters, exhibitions and work by famed artists of the day.

While access is currently available only to subscribing institutions, there seems to be hope, as noted in the original Guardian story:

The online archive, which goes up to 2003, will initially be available only to libraries and educational institutions.
The archive presents articles both on an individual page, or to view in the original layout next to adverts and other editorial of the day. Pages are full-colour with both text and tagged images indexed for search, though the archive is not publicly accessible and has not been indexed by Google.
Cayley said the firm had improved the archive experience with each previous project, including its work on Times Online, the Economist, the British Library and the FT.
"The Times archive has been so successful it has almost distorted the way people research, because they assume that is the only newspaper archive. But more archives coming online will mean better representation of different reporting and a clearer perspective on the past," Cayley added.
He said it would be ideal for all newspaper archives to be cross searchable in the future, and that Cengage is exploring that option.
From a page at Gale, here's more on access:
Please note: The ILN Historical Archive is only available for institutions to trial and purchase.The archive is not available at this stage for individual subscriptions, although a pay per view site may be considered at some future time. Users of the archive can share images and articles for non commercial purposes only.
If you have access, here's what you'll find.
The Illustrated London News Historical Archive gives students and researchers unprecedented online access to the entire run of the ILN from its first publication on 14 May 1842 to its last in 2003. Each page has been digitally reproduced in full colour and every article and caption is full-text searchable with hit-term highlighting and links to corresponding illustrations. Facsimilies of articles and illustrations can be viewed, printed and saved either individually or in the context of the page in which they appear. Wherever possible Special Numbers covering special events such as coronations or royal funerals have been included.
For more from Gale, click here, which notes that the new archive will be of interest to researchers in many fields:
Use this remarkable resource to support scholarly and enthusiast research in social history, fashion, theatre, media, literature, advertising, graphic design and politics, as well as those interested in genealogy.
The Guardian noted:
The archive includes an 1850s illustration of a "sea serpent" seen by sailors from HMS Daedalus on a passage from the West Indies – which they promptly tried to shoot – and a column by feminist Florence Fenwick Miller. She describes using cocaine drops to combat sea sickness. "All chemists keep it, and my readers undertaking a sea-voyage should have no difficulty in procuring a supply."
Tracing the Tribe hopes for future access for all.

San Francisco: Hidden Jewish Heritage, April 26

How would you react if you realized an important family secret had been kept from you?

What happens when adults discover their hidden Jewish heritage?

Find out on Monday, April 26, at 7.30pm, at a program co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Library (JCL) and the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society (SFBAJGS), at the JCL, 1835 Ellis St., San Francisco.
Four people from very different backgrounds discuss the discovery of their Jewish heritage, the circumstances surrounding the revelation, and how it affected their lives, their relationships, and their identities.

"Sudden Jews: When Adults Discover Their Hidden Jewish Heritage" brings together Marny Hall, Irene Reti, Jim Van Buskirk and Cecilia Wambach to discuss this topic, at the Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco.

Irene Reti is the daughter of two Holocaust refugees who hid their Jewish identities. She is the author of "Keeper of Memory: A Memoir and Kabbalah of Stone," a novel about hidden Jews (conversos) in 15th century Spain. Reti is the director of the oral history research office at UC Santa Cruz.

Jim Van Buskirk, book group coordinator at the Jewish Community Library, is the co-editor of "Identity Envy: Wanting to Be Who We're Not." He is currently working on an intergenerational family memoir about discovering his Jewish heritage at age 54, "My Grandmother's Suitcase."

Marny Hall discovered she was Jewish at age 30. She is a sex therapist and author whose books include The Lavender Couch, Sexualities, and The Lesbian Love Companion. Hall is also the co-author of Queer Blues.

Cecelia Wambach is professor emeritus of mathematics education at San Francisco State University. For almost eight years, she has been involved in a project to research her father's ancestry, which has taken her to the Czech Republic, Israel and Uruguay and is the subject of her forthcoming book, "Hide and Go Seek: The Search for My Father's Family."

The discussion is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the JGS San Francisco website.

15 April 2010

Boston: Sephardic Jewry history, DNA - April 25

Two Sephardic presentations (covering history, genealogy and DNA) are on the program of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston on Sunday, April 25.

The program begins at 1:30 pm, at Temple Emanuel, Newton Centre, with Brandeis Professor Jonathan Decter, and Tracing the Tribe's good friend Dr. Dan Laby of Harvard University Medical School.

In “Sephardic Jewry after the Expulsion from Spain,” Decter will talk about Sephardic migration after 1492 - to Portugal, the Ottoman Empire, Europe, and the Americas, with a focus on Eastern and Central Europe. He will discuss intellectual and economic connections across the Sephardi Diaspora, and the nature of Sephardi identity.

Laby will present “Tracing Family to 13th Century Spain,” Dr. Daniel Laby will describe his quest to trace his Laby- De La Caballeria family. Using both modern (DNA) and classical methods (microfilms), he was able to follow the trail from western Massachusetts and New York’s Lower East Side all the way back to the Ottoman Empire and pre-inquisition Spain.

[NOTE: In fact, Dan holds a document dated 1202 from the same archive - Lerida/Lleida (in Catalunya, about 140km NW of Barcelona) where our first Talalay document, dated 1358, was discovered. We share the same researcher in Spain.]

Decter is Associate Professor and the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Sephardic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. His first book, "Iberian Jewish Literature: Between al-Andalus and Christian Europe," received the 2007 Salo W. Baron prize for best first book in Judaic Studies.

Laby is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and is a specialist in Sports Vision working with the Boston Red Sox as well as several other professional and Olympic teams.

Fee: JGSGB members, free; others, $5.
Click for directions. For more information about JGSGB, click here.

14 April 2010

JGSLA 2010: You don't have to be Jewish!

1,000+ genealogists, 150+ speakers, 300+ programs, six days.

What do these refer to? Only one thing Tracing the Tribe knows: The 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, or JGSLA 2010, to those in the know.

It is open to all. You don't have to be Jewish to love Jewish genealogy or to attend JGSLA 2010. Those who suspect Jewish roots or those who just want to learn from world experts, are welcomed.

This once-a-year event provides access to experts covering the diversity of Jewish genealogy and encourages networking and collaboration.

Programs start early Sunday morning July 11 and run through mid-day Friday, July 16, in Los Angeles.

Learn from scholars, archivists, authors and other experts. Enjoy a genealogy film festival (directors and Q&A), methodology/ technology workshops, musical performances, and network with a truly global genealogical community.

Many sessions and workshops have applications to general genealogy for all ethnicities.

Here's just a glimpse of the event's first day, Sunday, July 11. For the rest of the week, program abstracts and speaker bios, click JGSLA 2010 and click the top tab for Program (there will be additions and changes).

What can you expect? Take a deep breath, and away we go!

Day 1 offers three time slots each with many concurrent sessions, along with films, special lunches, computer/technology workshops, Market Square Fair, two klezmer concerts and official event opening.


-- From DNA to Genetic Genealogy to the Animal Kingdom: everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask
-- Genealogy at the Los Angeles Public Library
-- Haunting Cemeteries: A Genealogist's favorite pastime
-- Only in New York
-- Razzle Dazzle 'em: Using Technology to Present Your Family History Research with Pizzazz
-- The Wonderful World of Genealogy Blogging
-- Absolute Beginners: Computer Basics for Technology-Challenged Genealogists ($ computer lab)


-- Introduction to JewishGen: Beginners Computer Workshop ($ computer lab)
-- Clued-in: Case Studies from Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist
-- Jewish Genealogical Research Beginner Strategies, Part 1
-- Demystifying the Hebrew Calendar
-- My Uncle, The Hollywood Producer: A Spicy Tale
-- Researching Your Criminal Ancestors
-- Writing Jewish Family Stories and Memoirs, Part 1


-- DAVKA, The Survival of a People
-- Finding and Using Los Angeles County Records
-- From Shiterein to Showpiece: Cooking Jewish for the 21st Century
-- Jewish Genealogical Research Beginner Strategies, Part 2
-- Jewish Geography and DNA: A Player's Guide
-- Writing Jewish Family Stories and Memoirs, Part 2

There are two klezmer concerts, from 3.30-4.45pm and 5-6.15pm with master Yale Strom and friends.

The conference officially opens at the 7.45pm opening ceremony and keynote address, followed by a 9pm dessert reception.

Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) bloom bright and early, from 8am breakfasts-with-the-experts ($), workshops ($), birds-of-feather meetings, five time slots with many concurrent sessions each, special lunches, and major evening sessions. Friday is a light day, offering "only" 15 sessions, ending at 12.30pm.

Click JGSLA 2010 for the full program (subject to changes and additions), registration for the event (early-bird discounts end April 30, so don't miss out!) and the hotel (the JW Marriott at L.A. Live, downtown Los Angeles).

Have questions? Want more information?  Send an email. Sign up for the conference newsletter, blog, discussion group, or stay tuned to Tracing the Tribe for all the news.

Montreal: Getting-started panel, April 21

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal, in association with the Jewish Public Library, will present a getting-started panel on Wednesday, April 21.

The program begins at 7.30pm at the Gelber Conference Center.

On the panel are Rikee and Maryn Madoff, Susan Shulman and Sorel Friedman - all JGSM members. They will discuss how they got started and their subsequent research, recount their collective experiences and successes, as well as provide tips.

Check out the JGS Montreal site and look at the wealth of information available in databases, projects, cemetery indices, Montreal and Quebec Province vital records. If you had family members who lived there, make sure to look at these resources. 

12 April 2010

Survey: Genealogists, historians and copyright issues

From the National Genealogical Society blog, comes this nugget:
Dear Genealogist,
A research project at the University of Maryland aims to learn more about how historians and genealogists deal with copyright issues when using online archival sources.

In particular, we are looking for genealogists who have used the online holdings of American archival institutions in their research, and who are willing to participate in a focus group or telephone interview to discuss how you deal with copyright issues that arise in your uses of online archival material.

Focus Groups: will be held on a weekday in the Washington, D.C., area will last for approximately 2 hours will consist of 5-8 participants. Participants will receive a $50 honorarium.

Interviews: will be conducted by telephone will last for approximately 1 hour. Participants will receive a $25 honorarium.

Interested? Contact Dr. Jean Dryden, principal investigator, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland College Park.

Sacramento: Facial recognition technology for genealogy, April 18

"Facial Recognition Technology for Genealogy," with Daniel Horowitz, will be the topic at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento (California), on Sunday, April 18.

The program begins at 10m, at the Albert Einstein Residence Center.

Facial recognition technology is used worldwide in the security industry. It can also help identify people in old family photos, discover other people related to you and enable reconnection of lost branches.

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Daniel has lived in Israel with his family since 2005. He is the database and translation manager for MyHeritage.com, a genealogy social networking site. Among his other "hats," he's the IAJGS webmaster and at the Horowitz Family Association. He was the founder of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Venezuela.

For additional information, directions and more, see the JGSS site or send an email.

11 April 2010

Oregon: DNA genetic genealogy, April 20

Genetic genealogy with Emily D. Aulicino is on the program at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon, on Tuesday, April 20.

The talk begins at 7.30pm at Congregation Ahavath Achim, Portland. Doors open at 7pm for networking and assistance with genealogy questions.

Genetic genealogy, the use of DNA testing to aid traditional genealogical research, is a new and accurate field for the family historian as it can prove or disprove family connections. In this information-packed program, learn the basics of DNA testing and how it helps your research. Learn about different tests and the value of each. Understand who to test and why.

Find out why FamilyTreeDNA.com's new test, Family Finder, is the next generation in DNA testing and goes beyond what previous tests could do.

Aulicino will answer questions and address such issues as privacy and getting your family to participate.

A $30 gift certificate toward a DNA test will be raffled at no cost to those attending the program.

A retired teacher, Aulicino has researched her family’s genealogy for more than 40 years, traveling nationally and internationally for that purpose. She is a speaker and regional coordinator for the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG), and teaches genetic genealogy at the Genealogical Forum of Oregon (Portland).

She has attended five annual FamilyTreeDNA.com administrator conferences, where she spoke in 2007. In 2008, she presented at the West Coast African American Summit (Bellevue, Washington), and in 2009 and 2010, attended the London UK "Who Do You Think You Are? Live" family history fair.

She administers 13 DNA projects at FamilyTreeDNA (surname, geographical and societies) and seven surname email lists on Roots Web, three genetic genealogy email lists with another that helps helps genealogists and non-genealogists write their  family and personal memories.

Attendees interested in testing with FamilyTreeDNA can receive discounted tests through the JGSO page. For more information on the arrangement, click here.

Fee:  JGSO members, free; others, $5. See the JGSO website for directions and additional information.