31 March 2011

JewishGen: Sarina Roffé elected to board of governors

The Board of Governors of JewishGen announced that Sarina Roffé has been elected to the board.

A family historian and journalist, Sarina is a member of Brooklyn's Syrian Jewish community and an active member of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (JGSNY).

She has published widely on themes connected with Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish genealogy and is a recognized authority on the history and culture of Aleppan Jewry.

She is executive director of New York's non-profit Shehebar Sephardic Center, which fundraises for its rabbinical training program in Israel, and support for schools and outreach centers in more than 60 cities worldwide.

According to Rand Fishbein, PhD, a board member: "We will be looking to her for fresh ideas on how to expand our programming and online resources in Sephardic genealogy. Her knowledge and experience are sure to prove invaluable as we look to expand our outreach activities.”

Tracing the Tribe congratulates Sarina on this election!

San Francisco: 'Cadastral Maps, Landowner Records,' April 10

Northern California genealogists can learn about cadastral maps and landowner records with Pamela Weisberger at the next meeting of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, on Sunday, April 10.

Doors open at 12.30pm for the 1.30pm program, at the Oakland Regional Family History Center, 4766 Lincoln Avenue, in Oakland. The meeting is free.

"Cadastral Maps and Landowner Records: New Horizons for Genealogists" will demonstrate why Galician (today Polish and Ukrainian) cadastral land records and property maps are valuable sources of family history information, especially when vital records are sparse or missing.

Pamela's talk will cover the history and relevance of cadastral maps as an alternative source of genealogical and community information, how to obtain this type of record from overseas archives, the history of Gesher Galicia’s cadastral map program, and how to create your own community projects using these data.

These maps, created in the early 19th-20th centuries, show exact locations of churches, synagogues, cemeteries, schools, and market squares and often have the names of the landowners written onto the plots of land.

The house or parcel numbers can be used to chart a family across several generations and the land records can provide the size and/or values (for taxes) of properties that an individual owned and show inheritance patterns. In some cases, these records may be the only documented evidence of a family living in a particular town or village.
Pamela started out in the film industry working for Otto Preminger, who never took no for an answer, which was excellent training for becoming a genealogist! She is currently the 1st vice president and program chair for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles and president of Gesher Galicia.

In addition to co-chairing/program chair for the 2010 Los Angeles IAJGS conference, she has coordinated the genealogical film festival for the past four events. She chairs the LimmudLA film team and is a professional genealogist.

For more than 30 years, she has conducted research in Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary with a specialty in newspaper research. She holds a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MS from Boston University.

For more information and directions, click here.

29 March 2011

Ohio: 'Researching Israel Resources,' April 5

Daniel Horowitz will demonstrate researching Israel genealogy resources at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland, on Tuesday, April 5.

The meeting begins at 7.30pm, at Menorah Park, Miller Board Room, 27100 Cedar Road, Beachwood.

Daniel's talk is titled, "“Researching Genealogical Resources in Israel from Your Couch.”

For those who do not know him, Daniel is chief genealogist and translation manager at MyHeritage.com; a board member and webmaster of the Israel Genealogical Society (IGS), and a board member and webmaster of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS).

For more information, see the JGS of Cleveland.

27 March 2011

London: Food of the Jews of Babylon, April 3

The Jews of Babylon have a culinary tradition dating back more than 2,000 years, but it is a home-based cuisine rarely found in restaurants.

The Spiro Ark Centre, 25-26 Enford St., London, W1, will host Linda Dangoor, of a well-known Iraqi Jewish family in the UK, on Sunday, April 3, at 7.30pm.

The cost is £12 + £1 Internet booking fee. Click here to book now.

The cuisine, much like Persian food, is well-flavored, aromatic, but rarely spicy or hot.

The event marks Dangoor's new cookbook - "Flavours of Babylon" - and she will talk with Sami Zubaida about Babylonian Jewish food and its significance as a language and badge of identity.

Attendees will also get a chance to sample some foods.

Dangoor has been working in the design field for more than three decades as a designer, painter and ceramicist. The cookbook is her first book.

Zubaida is Emeritus Professor of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has published several books on the religion, culture and politics of the Middle East; and is co-editor of "A Taste of Thyme: the Culinary Cultures of the Middle East." The event will include a book sale by both authors.

Seating is limited; advance reservations are recommended.

WDYTYA: Gywneth Paltrow & JRI-Poland

Jewish Records Indexing-Poland played an essential part in research for the new episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" - spotlighting actress Gywneth Paltrow - to be aired Friday night, April 1, on NBC.

Paltrow's family's original name was PALTROWICZ, a rabbinical family from northeastern Poland, specifically Suwalki, Lomza and other towns. JRI-Poland offers 90 records for the family.

JRI-Poland will appear in the credits for the episode.

Our dear friend Montrealer Stan Diamond (co-founder and executive director of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland) called Tracing the Tribe the other day to let us know about the JRI-Poland connection.

For readers not familiar with JRI-Poland, it is a continually growing resource of more than 4.2 million records used by many readers to discover family data.

The following press release provides more information:

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

4.2 million Polish-Jewish records database is key resource for Gwyneth Paltrow episode of NBC's "Who Do You think You Are?

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s ancestral search, told in a new episode of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”, might not have happened if not for Jewish Records Indexing - Poland.

The April 1st episode of the documentary series features Academy Award-winner Paltrow’s search. The U.S. born daughter of producer Bruce Paltrow ("St. Elsewhere," "The White Shadow"), her roots go back to a long line of rabbis named Paltrowicz from northeastern Poland and the towns of Suwalki, Lomza and nearby shtetls.

The show’s researchers were able to tap into JRI-Poland’s online database as the starting point in documenting Paltrow's ancestry. The website has 90 record entries for Paltrow's ancestors and the WDYTYA team said "JRI Poland is a wonderful resource for anyone researching Jewish Polish ancestry and was invaluable during the research for the Gwyneth Paltrow episode."

Founded in 1995, JRI-Poland was an outgrowth of Montrealer Stanley Diamond's need for access to Jewish vital records of the former Lomza Gubernia area of Poland for research into his family’s genetic history. Diamond is Executive Director and the organization has a global board, hundreds of volunteers serving thousands of researchers, funded by groups and genealogists around the world.

JRI-Poland is creating searchable on-line indices of Jewish records from current and former territories of Poland. The vast database of records going back to the late 18th century belies the misleading notion all the Jewish records of Poland were destroyed in World War II.

The searchable database has indices to 4.2 million records from more than 550 towns, with thousands added every month, vital records and censuses from the Polish State Archives and other sources both inside and outside of Poland. The database also includes army draft lists, cemetery burial indices, ghetto death records, birth, marriage and death announcements in newspapers in Poland, and more.

JRI-Poland has been recognized by the medical and scientific communities for the potential benefit for Ashkenazic families trying to trace medical histories, particularly those at increased risk for hereditary conditions and diseases. As a result of statistical analyses indicating a high incidence of medical and genetic abnormalities in individuals of Polish-Jewish descent, JRI - Poland is creating a finding aid for those who may need answers to medical-related questions or require bone marrow or other transplants. Because of this, JRI-Poland has received commendations from the Gift of Life Foundation and the National Marrow Donor Program.
For more information,  visit JRI-Poland, or contact Stanley Diamond. And for more information on the upcoming episode, click here.

Thank you, Stan, for creating this valuable resource for so many researchers. JRI-Poland's many volunteers are also to be commended for their work over the years and in advance for their future contributions.

26 March 2011

New Mexico: Genealogy 'superstars' to speak, April 2-3

New Mexico family history researchers are in for a treat when two major genealogy superstars will speak on Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3.

Bennett Greenspan (left) - founder and CEO of FamilyTreeDNA.com - and Dr. Steve Morse - of One-Step pages fame - will be in Albuquerque next weekend to speak at two major events, co-sponsored by the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, which is revamping and expanding its genealogy programming. The NMJHS is now a member of the IAJGS.

-- Saturday, April 2, from 10.30am-3.30pm, the Rio Rancho Library's Loma Colorado main branch will host a free "Blast Into Your Past" - a general program aimed at beginners and recent family history researchers, athough the entire genealogical community is invited to attend.

-- Sunday, April 3, from 11am-1pm, the Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque will host both speakers for sessions spotlighting Jewish issues and topics in genetic genealogy with Bennett, and One-Step helpful tools, such as demystifying the Jewish calendar, with Steve. The program is open to the public and all are invited to attend.

See below for more information on each event.

Judging from responses already received by organizers, attendees will be coming from many areas of the state for both sessions.

"Blast Into Your Past" will provide a good basic introduction to family history with the superstars and local experts. Beginning at 10.30am and running through 3.30pm - attendees should bring a brown-bag lunch - there will be an introduction to genetic genealogy with Bennett Greenspan, followed by Steve Morse's intro to the more than 200+ tools on his site.

After a short lunch break, there will be three additional sessions:
-- Michael Barger will present genealogy basics.
-- An ethnic research panel (Hispanic, Jewish, and others) will field questions from attendees and supply information on how to find additional information. Lionel Rael of the Hispanic Genealogy Society will be on this panel, along with others.
-- Social media for family history researchers will be presented by Schelly Talalay Dardashti.
There will also be an overview of genealogical resources at the library, including databases and subscription sites available in the computer lab or accessible at home for library card holders.

There will be time for Q&A.

On Sunday, April 3, both men will speak at the Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque from 11am-1pm. Bennett will address genetic genealogy through a focus on Jewish history and share stories of discoveries, while Steve will focus on One-Step tools that may assist Jewish family history researchers, such as demystifying the Jewish calender.

Again, the library program is free and its general topics are aimed at beginners and those who are recent to family history research. The JCC program - with more of a Jewish genealogy focus - is free for NMJHS members, and $5 for others (the fee may be applied to a one-year NMJHS membership).

We believe that many attendees on Saturday will want to know more about these topics and will also attend the Sunday program, which is open to the public.

The NMJHS, the Library and New Mexico genealogical community is looking forward to this "superstar" weekend. I'm looking forward to greeting Tracing the Tribe readers at both events.

For more information, click on the NMJHS website, or send an email.

Southern California: 'Jews of the Pacific Coast,' April 3

Dr. Ava F. Kahn will present "Jews of the Pacific Coast," at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV), in conjunction with the Western States Jewish History Journal, on Sunday, April 3.

The meeting runs from 1.30-3.30pm, at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, which also co-sponsors JGSCV meetings. There is no admission fee.

From the California Gold Rush of 1849 to the explosion of population centers in the Southwest in the 1980s, Jews have played a significant role in shaping the Pacific West.

In the process, they have reshaped themselves as individuals and as communities. Through their mercantile networks and cultural innovations, their philanthropic institutions and political leadership, western Jews created a distinctive identity.

Using historical photographs from her new co-authored book Jews of the Pacific Coast: Reinventing Community at America's Edge Ava F. Kahn will explore the nature of the Jewish experience in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland and the small towns of the West. She will explain the important differences among these cities, as well as highlighting the ways in which the western Jewish experience has echoed and deviated from the familiar story of American Jewish history.
Speaker Ava F. Kahn, PhD, is affiliated with the California Studies Center, University of California, Berkeley. She has published numerous articles and books on Jews in the West including: "Jewish Voices of the California Gold Rush," "Jewish Life in the American West and California Jews." There will be a book-signing following the meeting.

Western States Jewish History Journal is a quarterly journal dedicated to discovering, chronicling, and making available to the general public information on the Jewish participation in the pioneering and development of the American West, Canada, Mexico, and the Pacific Rim.

For more information, click on the JGSCV website, or send an email.

24 March 2011

Michigan: Polish-language treasures, April 3

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan will host genealogist and author Judith Frazin on Sunday, April 3.

Frazin  will speak on "Discovering the Treasures 
in 19th-Century Polish-Language Records."

The meeting begins at 11am, at the Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills. Admission: JGSMI members, free; others, $5.

A genealogist for more than 39 years, she is the author of three editions of "A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents."

Frazin received the  "2010 Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or Electronic Product," from the IAJGS.
This practical and interactive presentation will first briefly discuss unique factors which impact 19th-century Polish research. Then, with audience participation, it will walk attendees step by step through the process of translating one 19th-century Polish document, and possibly two, if time permits. Documents will be passed out at the workshop.

The program is co-sponsored by the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan.

22 March 2011

Webinar: 'Backing Up Your Data," March 23

Sorry for the late notice, but the indomitable Thomas MacEntee will present a free webinar for Legacy Family Tree on Wednesday, March 23, at 2pm ET (-5 GMT).

Have you ever experienced a data loss when it comes to your genealogy research? Not yet?

If not, have you prepared for what might happen if your hard drive fails? What if your laptop is lost or stolen?

Learn the basics of backing up all genealogy data including identifying data, common backup methods and how to use free online programs to help make sure data will always be available!

Participants will learn various methods for backing up genealogy data including many free online programs such as DropBox, Google Docs, Picasa and more.

Join webinar host Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy Family Tree and Google for Genealogists' presenter Thomas MacEntee for this 90-minute session.
Click here to register for tomorrow's webinar.

Denver: Beginners' program, April 3

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado is offering a beginners' program - Planting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation - on Sunday, April 3.

The program will run from 10am-noon, at Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape St., Denver.

Learn how to share your hard-earned research!

Archives, software, websites, newsletters, family reunions, gifts, and artistic displays will be described.
This lecture and workshop is the final part of the seven-session Jewish Family Tree Initiative: Workshop and Mentoring Series.

There is a $30 one-time fee for non-members for a book and materials which includes a one-year membership in the JGSCo.

Instructors for the program are JGSCo members. The JFTI program will be repeated in fall 2011.

JGSCo is led by the creative, innovative Ellen Schindelman Kowitt. Tracing the Tribe was delighted to see Ellen recently at the Sephardic Memory conference in Colorado Springs, and hopes to speak this coming year in Denver.

For more information, send an email.

UK: 'Jews of Morocco' conference, June 20-22

The British Institute for Jewish Studies is planning a summer conference on the Jews of Morocco.

The conference will take place June 20-22, at University College London, Gower Street WC1.
Jews have lived in Morocco for nearly two thousand years, in desert and mountain regions, in the imperial cities of central Morocco and in towns along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, with Berber and with Arab  neighbours. This conference is a rare opportunity to find out more about the rich and varied culture of Moroccan Jews and their history.
The program has not yet been announced, but the list of speakers includes:
Joseph CHETRIT (University of Haifa),
Emily GOTTREICH (UC Berkeley)
Paul FENTON (Sorbonne)
Henry GREEN (University of Miami)
Oren KOSANSKY (Lewis and Clarke College, Portland, Oregon)
Michael LASKIER (Bar-Ilan University)
Jessica MARGLIN (Princeton University)
Hilary POMEROY (University College London)
Moises ORFALI (Bar-Ilan University)
Vanessa PALOMA (Casablanca)
Norman STILLMAN  (University of Oklahoma)
Susana WEICH-SHAHAK (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
For more information, email the Institute of Jewish Studies at UCL or check out the IJS website.

21 March 2011

Call for Papers: Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies' 21st conference

The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies has announced the call for papers for its 21st annual conference, set for August 7-9, in San Diego, California.

The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS) fosters the research of the historical and contemporary development of crypto-Jews of Iberian origin. Additionally, it provides a venue for the descendants of crypto-Jews, scholars, and other interested parties to network and discuss pertinent issues.

The society was founded 1991 by Rabbi Joshua Stampfer of Portland, Oregon; Dr. Stanley Hordes of New Mexico; and playright Rena Down of New York.

Here is the announcement from the society:

Tracing the Tribe is pleased that this year's conference does not conflict with the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, August 14-19, in Washington, DC. Thus, we can attend this conference before going on to the East Coast.
We invite papers on crypto-Judaism from any discipline (e.g.,anthropology, history, sociology, philosophy, literature, music, etc.) and from any geographic location or time period. We also welcome papers on all aspects of the Sephardic experience and that of other communitiesexhibiting crypto-Jewish phenomena.

Papers breaking new ground in research on the California-Mexico borderlands are particularly welcome.

Interested scholars and professionals, including advanced graduate students, are invited to submit proposals for papers, presentations or workshops.

Proposals are also welcome from individuals with personal stories or other research relating to crypto-Judaism.

Proposals may be for individual papers/presentations or for complete sessions on specific topics.  Please indicate if presentation represents completed research or work in progress.

Proposals must include a 200-word abstract and a brief bio. The deadline is May 1.

Please send proposals or inquiries to Seth Ward in the Religious Studies department at the University of Wyoming,

For more information, see the SCJS website.

20 March 2011

Library of Congress: Szyk Haggadah program, April 4

In the mid-1930s, Polish-Jewish artist Arthur Szyk created a haggadah in the style of medieval illuminated manuscripts.

The Szyk Haggadah will be displayed on Monday, April 4, at a Library of Congress program marking the Abrams publication of a new facsimile edition, with translation and commentary by Rabbi Byron L. Sherwin and Irvin Ungar.

The original Haggadah is housed in the LOC's Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Ungar's talk - "Arthur Szyk and His Passover Haggadah: A Library of Congress Treasure" - will take place at noon, Monday, April 4, in the African and Middle Eastern Division Reading Room, Room 220, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE., Washington, DC. The talk is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but seating is limited.

Arthur Szyk (1894–1951) was an acclaimed artist, activist, illuminator and political illustrator. During World War II, his anti-Nazi caricatures were widely published in the United States, most memorably as covers for news magazines such as Time and Collier’s. For almost a decade, Szyk labored to create an elaborately illustrated haggadah that attacked the Nazis, but he could not find anyone willing to take the risk to publish his version of the Passover story. Szyk retold the ancient narrative as if it were an event unfolding in his own time, imagining the Hebrews as Eastern European Jews in need of a modern Exodus to the Land of Israel. His masterpiece was finally published in England in 1940, stripped of its anti-Nazi iconography.
Born of Jewish parents in Lodz, Poland, his early training was in Paris and Cracow. He served as artistic director of the Department of Propaganda for the Polish army regiment quartered in Lodz, 1919-1920. In 1921, he moved to Paris and lived and worked there for 10 years. In 1934, Szyk traveled to the US for exhibitions of his work, such as a Library of Congress exhibit of 38 miniatures commemorating George Washington and the Revolutionary period. In late 1940, after living for some years in the UK, he immigrated to the US.
In 2000, the Library of Congress celebrated the acquisition of several important original works by Szyk with an exhibition in the Swann Gallery titled "Arthur Szyk: Artist for Freedom." The display, which can be viewed online at www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/szyk, featured 17 representative works, from caricatures of Axis leaders to masterpieces of illumination such as the Szyk Haggadah.
A former pulpit rabbi, Ungar is CEO of antiquarian booksellers Historicana, founded in 1987. He has led the interest in Szyk; curated major museum shows, written and edited several books, and lectured internationally on the artist.

Jewish scholar and ethicist Sherwin has authored or edited 28 books and more than 150 articles and monographs. An Szyk authority, he has served on the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies faculty since 1970.

"The Szyk Haggadah" (128 pages, 48 color illustrations) is available from Abrams and nationwide bookstores and online ($40, hardcover; $16.95, paperback). Copies signed by Ungar will be sold at the April 4 event.

See an LOC online exhibit of some of Szyk's works here.

New York: Balkan Jewish life exhibit, March 31

"Images of a Lost World: Pictures & Stories of Balkan Sephardic Life" will open at 6.30pm Thursday, March 31, at the Center for Jewish History, New York City.

Originally commissioned by the Foreign Ministry of Spain, it is funded by the Spanish Embassy (Washington, DC) and Casa Sefarad/Israel (Madrid), with the generous support of the Consulate General of Spain in New York. It is co-presented with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

It is based on family stories and pictures pulled from Centropa's archive of more than 200 interviews conducted in Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Croatia. The pictures and stories take us back into the world of Balkan Sephardic Jewry in its last decades, and through these personal stories of going to school, falling in love and recalling family holidays, Jewish history comes to life.

A program follows, moderated by Edward Serotta, Director of Centropa.
Tickets: $12 General Admission/$8 ASF/YIVO members. Advance registration requested.

19 March 2011

Jamboree 2011: Family History Writers Conference

The Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree holds a special place in Tracing the Tribe's heart.

The first time we spoke at this annual event was at its family history writers breakfast several years ago. Our topic - "Creating Hope" - focused on how writing on family history for mainstream publications raises awareness and interest in readers. The presentation presented several Holocaust-related reunions and stories on other topics.

Tracing the Tribe will once again be speaking at Jamboree 2011 and also attending the second GENEii Family History Writers Conference from 8.30am-4.30pm (with an optional buffet lunch), on Thursday, June 9, while the main event begins on Friday and runs through Sunday.
Speakers for the Thursday program - which requires separate registration - include outstanding writers, genealogists and speakers:  John Colletta,  D. G. Fulford, Dawn Thurston, Biff and Nancy Barnes, and publishing panelists Lou Szucs, Lisa Also and Tom Underhill.

Register by April 30 to receive discounts (early-bird and SCGS members) for this special activity. Thursday registration: SCGS members, $100; others, $125. The optional buffet lunch: SCGS members, $35; others, $38.

Subscribe to the Jamboree 2011 blog to receive all updates for the conference, including detailed posts on the speakers for the writers' conference. Click here to read about John Colletta, well-known to attendees of the annual IAJGS International Conferences on Jewish Genealogy.

For more information on Jamboree 2011, the writers' conference and more, click here.

Tracing the Tribe looks forward to meeting readers at Jamboree 2011.

Television: 'Triangle: Remembering the Fire," March 21

A documentary on the 1911 Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire will be broadcast on HBO, 9-9.45pm (ET/PT), on Monday, March 21.

The premiere of "Triangle: Remembering the Fire," marks the 100th anniversary of the event that began the modern labor movement.

On March 25, 1911, a catastrophic fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City.

Trapped inside the upper floors of a ten-story building, 146 workers – mostly young immigrant women and teenage girls, of Jewish and Italian descent were burned alive or forced to jump to their deaths to escape an inferno that consumed the factory in just 18 minutes.

It was the worst disaster at a workplace in New York State until 9/11.

The tragedy changed the course of history, paving the way for government to represent working people, not just business, for the first time, and helped an emerging American middle class to live the American Dream.
"Remembering the Fire" is inspired by Celia Gitlin, a 17-year-old Russian immigrant who perished in the fire, and was the great aunt of HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins, also the film’s executive producer. Nevins had long suspected that her grandmother’s younger sister died in the fire. While filming “Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags,” the producers located Gitlin’s death certificate and confirmed the fact.

An HBO On Demand exclusive, “Triangle: The Unidentified,” tells the story of the last remaining victims to be acknowledged. Of the 146 victims, six were burned beyond recognition. Their identities were lost to history until co-producer and historian Michael Hirsch used genealogical investigative techniques to reveal their identities.

For the first time, and as a result of Hirsch’s research, the full list of the victims’ names is revealed in the documentary.

The list of victims will be read in its entirety for the first time at the annual commemoration on March 25 at the site on Washington Square. In addition, the 100th anniversary of the tragedy will be marked by citywide events.
The event was the first great uprising of women - when were not allowed to vote. Organized by the newly created International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), the workers marched in the streets, stood on picket lines and were beaten by hired thugs. When many of them later appeared on the ledges of the burning Asch Building, with no chance of survival, it broke the hearts of New Yorkers who remembered their pleas.

Worst of all, the fire was preventable. Although sprinkers and fire drills existed at the time, they were not required by government regulations. As public outrage grew, the city made changes and worked with the ILGWU to improve workplace conditions and wages.

See the trailer for the documentary.

Among those interviewed for the documentary:

  • Susan Harris, granddaughter of Triangle co-owner Max Blanck, who says, “From a personal point of view, I’m happy my grandfather didn’t have to go to jail. From the victims’ and families’ point of view, if my daughter had died in the fire and he hadn’t been my grandfather, I probably would have shot him."
  • Leigh Benin, whose cousin Rosie Oringer, 19, jumped from the building. The Adelphi University labor historian says. “People forget the Triangle fire at their peril…If people want to know what deregulated industry would look like, look at the bodies on the sidewalk outside the Triangle building.” His cousin, 19-year-old Rosie Oringer, jumped from the building.
  • Suzanne Pred Bass, whose great-aunt Rosie Weiner died in the fire. Rosie’s sister Katie survived and served as a witness for the state at the subsequent manslaughter trial. She offered some of the most dramatic testimony, supporting the prosecution’s contention that the Washington Place door on the ninth floor of the factory was locked.
  • Katharine Weber, author of the critically acclaimed novel “Triangle,” whose grandmother had worked at Triangle since the Uprising of the 20,000 in 1909. She describes the working conditions, recounting her grandmother’s dramatic confrontation with police.
  • Erica Lansner, grandniece of beloved forelady Fannie Lansner, 21, credited with saving numerous lives. Fannie Lansner ushered many workers off the floor but was killed in the fire herself.
  • Ray Ott, whose grandfather, Andrew Ott, was one of the first firefighters to respond that day. Also a firefighter, Ray Ott witnessed similar horror on 9/11.
For more information, click here. There is also information at HBO, on Facebook and on Twitter.

18 March 2011

Hong Kong: 'Asian Jewish Life' - new issue online

When Tracing the Tribe visited Hong Kong last year, we met a wonderful group of people, including US expat Erica Lyons, the publisher of Asian Jewish Life.

Erica just informed me that she is helping to get the story out on the situation in Japan and also working on the memoirs of a fascinating woman.

Read the stories by Erica about a Japanese Jewish family living in Hong Kong here and here. The Brenner family - the focus of these stories - also has a blog called the Hitachi Naka City Earthquake Recovery Blog. It is designed to raise awareness and eventually be a conduit for aid to Mayumi Brenner's hometown.

Asian Jewish Life also has a Facebook page, detailing Asian Jewish happenings, information on Japan's Jewish community and how they are coping with the aftermath of the immense earthquake, and other information.

The current issue of AJL is online with several articles of specific interest to Tracing the Tribe readers and genealogists. Click Asian Jewish Life to see the new issue.

One story is by Amelia Alsop who directs the Hong Kong Heritage Project. On my visit to Hong Kong, I visited the Project office, met Amelia and other staff members and was very impressed with what they are accomplishing.

The Kadoorie Family, Sephardi Jews, emigrated from Baghdad in 1880 to settle in the Far East. The family fortunes were founded by Sir Elly Kadoorie and Sir Ellis Kadoorie, who were pivotal players in the development of business giants such as the Hongkong Shanghai Hotel Co. and China Light and Power. Elly's sons, Lord Lawrence Kadoorie and Sir Horace Kadoorie continued the family businesses and philanthropic pursuits. The family is today headed by Lawrence's son, Sir Michael Kadoorie.

In May 2007, Sir Michael founded the Hong Kong Heritage Project (HKHP). The HKHP is the first of its kind in Hong Kong; a project supported and driven by business with the purpose of preserving community history. The HKHP does this by promoting new avenues of research, enriching Hong Kong's existing archival collection, encouraging young people to participate in the preservation of their community history and capturing unrepresented voices in Hong Kong's historical narrative through the collection of oral history. The HKHP is housed in an archive facility in Kowloon which holds 3,100 Kadoorie related records, as well as 550 filmed oral history interviews.
Read The Lost Records Revealed - the Hong Kong Heritage Project's Jewish Collection.

For a look at modern Kaifeng in China - where an ancient Jewish community once flourished and where its remnants are once again learning about their heritage - read Yair Osherovich's story.

...While I asked myself these questions and searched for proof, I already knew the answers. Like my intention to help for the right reasons, these Jewish descendents had pure intentions too. There were plenty of reinforcements for my belief: the seriousness of Tzuri when he made Kiddush, the holding to the Yom Kippur fast despite how very organized and serious the Chinese are about their timetable for meals, and the communal effort to build the sukkah. It was the first sukkah in the town in 100 years. I see proof in the money that these families spend on Friday night meals and the bustle and scents that Shabbat brings as if it was a neighborhood in Jerusalem. Most of all the determination stands out. I see them thrive for knowledge. They listen carefully and absorb all the Jewish knowledge they can.

This has all reinforced my motivation to return to Kaifeng to help out for a third time. It is hard to stay indifferent to the donations they have collected on their own for the rehabilitation of the Carmel Forest. It is hard to stay indifferent to the warmness they treat every Jew and it is hard to stay indifferent to the pride that belonging to the broader Jewish community gives to them.
Read the rest of this story here.

For a long and excellent article, with beautiful photographs, by Dr. Shalva Weill, detailing Southern India's synagogues and trade, read "In An Ancient Land," click here.

See the new issue's table of contents for more.

Thank you, Erica, for Asian Jewish Life.

UK: British Library, FindMyPast to digitize 5 million pages

The British Library and findmypast.co.uk will digitize 5 million pages of family history records.

For the first time, India Office Records and 100 years of electoral registers will be online and fully searchable.

The British Library holds the national collection of electoral registers covering the whole UK. These registers offer a huge number of names, addresses and other genealogical information.

"Digitisation of the electoral registers will transform the work of people wishing to use them for family history research," said Jennie Grimshaw, the Library's curator for Social Policy and Official Publications. "Printed electoral registers are arranged by polling district within constituency and names are not indexed, so the process of finding an address to confirm names of residents is currently incredibly laborious. Digitisation represents a huge breakthrough as users will be able to search for names and addresses, thereby pinpointing the individuals and ancestors they're looking for."

The project will involve the scanning of UK electoral registers covering the century that followed the Reform Act of 1832, along with records of baptisms, marriages and burials drawn from the archives of the India Office. When available online, these collections will enable historians, genealogists and family history researchers to make connections and track down details of ancestors and others at the click of a mouse - work that would previously have necessitated visits to the Library's Reading Rooms and many hours of laborious manual searching.
Also included are holdings from the East India Company archives and the India Office. These 18th, 19th and 20th century records offer information on Britons living and working in the Indian sub-continent up to the 1948 independence. There are more than 1,000 volumes of ecclesiastical returns of births, marriages and burials; applications for civil and military service; and pension payment details.

The resources will be available online at findmypast.co.uk and in the Library's Reading Rooms from early 2012. Online requires a subscription or pay-as-you-go. Library access will be free and it will receive copies of the digitized images of this project.

For more information, click here.

Library of Congress: 'The Washington Haggadah,' March 23

In just a few weeks, Jews around the world will be reading one or another edition of the Haggadah.

While one of Tracing the Tribe's favorite nostalgic editions is that printed by Maxwell House Coffee, there are many others.

The 15th-century  illuminated Washington Haggadah, in the Library of Congress, is considered an exquisite edition. A new facsimile edition has just been produced by Belknap Press/Harvard University Press this year.

The importance of this work and its new edition will be discussed by David Stern (University of Pennsylvania) and Katrin Kogman-Apel (Ben Gurion University) at noon on Wednesday, March 23. The program will take place in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, DC. The talk is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

Both speakers wrote essays for the new edition, which will be on sale during the program, and speakers will sign copies.

The Washington Haggadah, held in the Library’s Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, will be on display.

According to a press release about the event, The Washington Haggadah is being discussed on the Books and Beyond page on Facebook, where readers can discuss books and access webcasts of LOC events.

FamilySearch: 'Indexing the world's records,' March 24 bloginar

FamilySearch has scheduled a free bloginar, "Indexing the World's Historic Records: The Global Phenomenon Continues," for Thursday, March 24, at noon MDT.

News writers, genealogy media professionals and bloggers  are invited to attend the event, presented by FamilySearch indexing Workforce Communications Manager Katie Gale and FamilySearch Product Manager Scott Flinders.

The FamilySearch indexing program, fueled by incredible volunteers, has become a worldwide phenomenon since its launch in 2006, producing hundreds of millions of free, searchable, online records. Online crowds of volunteers, from all walks of life, in seven languages, pore over millions of digital images of historic records, 24/7, to provide free online indexes for the world community. Thousands of new volunteers continue to join the initiative each month.

In this exclusive FamilySearch event, featuring the FamilySearch indexing workforce managers, you will discover:

-- Who are these volunteers? Where are they located?
-- What drives the growing sea of volunteers to continually donate their time and talents?
-- How much data is being produced today?
-- What are the greatest challenges?
-- What are the latest enhancements to the software tool?
-- What are the 2011 production and software goals?

Participants will see demonstrations on their computers over the Internet and interact with presenters by phone or a live, e-text or chat forum.
For more information, click FamilySearch Bloginar Online.

Yad Vashem: International book prize estabished

Yad Vashem has established an annual international book prize of $8,000 to encourage Holocaust research.
Here's the press release:
(March 10, 2011 - Jerusalem) The International Institute for Holocaust at Yad Vashem announces the establishment of the Yad Vashem Book Prize for Holocaust Research, in recognition of high scholarly research and writing on the Holocaust and invites submissions for consideration.  The prize is presented thanks to the generous donation of Sabina Schwarzbaum, in memory of her father, Holocaust survivor Abraham Meir Schwarzbaum, and his family who was murdered in the Holocaust, and is aimed at encouraging excellent and new research about the Holocaust or its antecedents and aftermath.
The prize, $8,000, will be awarded annually to books containing new research on the Holocaust, or its antecedents and aftermath.  Research accuracy, scholarship, methodology, originality, importance of the research topic, and literary merit are important factors in judging the submissions.  The winning book will be chosen by a panel of judges made up of Holocaust historians and researchers. 
For more information on the prize, click here.
 For more information on Yad Vashem, click here.

17 March 2011

Sweden: ArkivDigital offers free weekend access

Are you searching family that lived in Sweden?

That country will celebrate Genealogy Research Day on Saturday, March 19. Genealogical societies, archives and libraries will be hosting events many localities.

ArkivDigital and its online service - ADOnline2 - will be free this weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

According to a communication from ArkivDigital, "We hope that this offer also will help genealogical societies and archives to demonstrate what modern genealogical research is all about."

The site is the biggest private provider of Swedish church and historical records online. Some 500,000 images are added each month to the current 24 million images available. The digital color images are available via online subscriptions or as CDs.

There is a list of Swedish counties. Click on each county to see the parishes and volumes available.

Genealogists know that good digital images are as readable as the original register pages. While previous efforts were made to photograph the registers, ArkivDigital believes it was important to do it again, in color.

The site details the imaging (1948-1963) of records by the Mormon Church and recent changes in technology:

Future - digital photographs in color

During the 90's and 00's both SVAR and Genline digitalized many of the old microfilms. Many people think that the original books at the archives are as black, and in many cases, unreadable as those images sometimes are. Fortunately that is not the case. It is the copies that are black and hard to read because the technology in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s was not as advanced as today and the copies have been transferred several times since then, making the digital images copies of copies of copies. Since ArkivDigital photograph the old unique source material using modern technology the readability is far superior to the old images.
The site offers a good example of the old imaging (left) versus the new image (right):

Tracing the Tribe is sure that all of us have seen record images as difficult to read and wished that new projects would be undertaken to produce better images.

The procedure for obtaining free access this weekend is somewhat complicated, but check out the instructions here.  It involves installation of the ADOnLine2 program.

Do look at the ArkivDigital site if Swedish records are relevant to your research.

Food: Hamantaschen and more!

It's almost Purim! And it can't be Purim without hamantaschen!

JoyOfKosher.com offers a roundup of interesting fillings for these little triangle pastries.

Click on these for some yummy treats:

Cheating Hamantashen
Apple Pie Hamantashen
Cranberry White Chocolate Hamantashen
Gluten Free Hamantashen
Lemon Hamantashen
Date-Walnut Hamantashen
Chef Laura Hamantashen (almond and rosewater filling)
Cinnamon Dulce De Leche
Cinnamon Apple Hamantashen
Pumpkin Whole Wheat Hamantashen
Almost Like a Bakery Hamantashen with Poppyseed Filling

What's better for Purim than a Persian menu?

ChefLauraskosher.com offers a Persian menu on her blog, incuding meatballs a chicken herb stew, rice and a rosewater rice pudding.

However, while it sounds and looks delicious, it is not entirely authentic as Persians do not eat saffron rice with any khoresht (a stew), but only chelo (steamed white basmati rice with a crunchy crust). Saffron is not incorporated into the entire dish, but a small amount of the white rice is mixed with a few drops of prepared saffron liquid and then that small amount of golden rice is sprinkled over the top of the rice platter to decorate it. A form of saffron rice is used with havij polo (rice mixed with carrots and kidney beans).

Also, her rice cooking method is not authentic and does not result in separate, fluffy grains as it should.

The Persian method is to parboil the washed and soaked rice for 7-8 minutes and drain it. Place oil and turmeric in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven, pat down a layer of the rice and add the rest spatula by spatula, mounding it up. Poke a few holes in it. Cook on medium high for 10-12 minutes, lower the heat. Make sure to use a double layer of white paper towel under the tight-fitting lid to absorb the condensation and avoid soggy rice. Cook another 20-30 minutes on medium, then raise a corner (keep it slightly open) of the pot to let out the steam, and lower heat to very low. Keep it on the burner for up to 20 minutes.

This method will result in fluffy grains and and a fabulous golden crispy-crunchy layer that Persian diners fight over. Yum! My trick is to use a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the pot, add the oil and turmeric on the paper and then add the rice. The crisp tahdik (literally, "bottom of the pot") will lift right out of the pot!

My favorite brand is Lal Qilla aged malai basmati rice, best purchased in a Persian or Indian store, where you know there is a lot of turnover. There are other good brands as well. Long-grain is used for Persian rice eaten with a meal, but short-grain (sometimes called rice for ash - a thick soup-stew) is used for desserts, like the rosewater rice pudding in the menu above.

In some Persian families, the Purim menu uses fish or vegetables (sometimes stuffed, representing Esther's hidden secret), representing the menu that she ate in the palace as she tried to keep to the Jewish dietary restrictions.

However, it doesn't matter really - it is all delicious!

Southern California: 'Vital records and alternatives,' March 24

Gena Philibert-Ortega will present "Vital Records and their Alternatives" on Thursday, March 24, in Tarzana, California.

Gena is the speaker at a luncheon event of The Don Jose de Ortega Chapter National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which begins at 10.30am at the Braemar Country Club, 4001 Reseda Blvd.., Tarzana.

FamilyLink's genealogy community communications director, Gena is also the WorldVitalRecords newsletter editor and manages GenealogyWise. She is vice-president of the Association of Professional Genealogists' Southern California chapter, and is also a regional director of the California State Genealogy Alliance.

For more information, click here.

16 March 2011

NEHGS: Jewish cemetery database growing

A growing Jewish cemetery database, with records dating from the 1840s, is being made available by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), the American Jewish Historical Society of New England (AJHSNE), and the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM).

The online database currently includes 13 Massachusetts Jewish cemeteries, with some 5,000 records. By the end of the year, according to the press release, all 106 JCAM cemeteries, with more than 100,000 total records, will be online.

Here's the press release for more information:

Access Program Part of collaboration with Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts and American Jewish Historical Society

Boston, MA–March 2, 2011 –The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) today announced that, together with the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM), and the American Jewish Historical Society of New England (AJHSNE) have made available for the first time online access to a growing database that currently includes 13 Massachusetts Jewish cemeteries, with approximately 5,000 records. More records are being added weekly until all 106 JCAM cemeteries, which include more than 100,000 total records, are online.

The names in this extensive database cover the years 1844 to the present, and, when completed later this year, will offer access to more than 100,000 names of Jewish Americans buried in Massachusetts.

NEHGS President and CEO, D. Brenton Simons, said, “For genealogists and researchers, this database is a tremendous resource and provides unique access to a set of names vital to Jewish family research. We are pleased to work with AJHS and JCAM in this way. The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts is a marvelous society for those with Jewish ancestry and we know countless people will benefit from having it available online.”

“This is one of the first of many benefits that will accrue as a result of our strategic partnership with NEHGS,” said Justin Wyner, chair of the Boston Board of Overseers of the American Jewish Historical Society. “This additional resource is of significant genealogical importance. AJHSNE now makes its home inside the NEHGS research center in downtown Boston.

According to JCAM’s Executive Director Stanley Kaplan, “This partnership with NEHGS and AJHS provides people with access to where their loved ones are resting, a source that is known for genealogy,” said Kaplan. “We have broadened …our reach within the community.”

For more information, visit the NEHGS website at www.AmericanAncestors.org , the American Jewish Historical site at www.ajhsboston.org or visit the Jewish Cemeteries Association of Massachusetts at http://www.jcam.org/.

Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy. Our award-winning website, http://www.americanancestors.org/, provides access to more than 135 million searchable names in 3,000 collections.
Readers with Massachusetts connections may well find information on their families at the links above.

FGS: Strategies for societies now available online

The Federation of Geneaogical Societies (FGS) has placed a series of expert papers on society strategies on its website.

February 28, 2011 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces that a vast collection of its Society Strategy Series papers is now available—free to the public—at the FGS website (http://www.fgs.org/societystrategy/).

The Society Strategy Series is a collection of papers filled with suggestions and instructions for the management of genealogical societies, historical societies, and family associations.

These papers have been expertly written by respected authors in the genealogy community to help you and your society grow and prosper.

Timely Topics by Well-Known Authors
Topics covered in the Society Strategy Series papers include:
·        Series I: Strategies for Societies
·        Series II: Strategies for Presidents
·        Series III: Strategies for Vice-Presidents
·        Series IV: Strategies for Treasurers
·        Series V: Strategies for Secretaries
·        Series VI: Strategies for Program Chairpersons
·        Series VII: Strategies for Librarians
·        Series VIII: Strategies for Editors

Most genealogists and genealogy society members will recognize the authors of the Society Strategy Series papers which include Jana Sloan Broglin, Karen Clifford, Betty Robertson Kaufman, Roberta “Bobbi” King, Gary Mokotoff, David Rencher, Curt Witcher, and the late Sandra H. Luebking and Marsha Hoffman Rising.

Newer Society Strategy Series topics are placed in the Members Only area of the FGS website for a period of one (1) year as a member benefit for FGS member societies. Additional new papers are being written and are planned for the coming year.

Helping Genealogy Societies Grow and Prosper
FGS is proud to make the Society Strategy Series available to the entire genealogical community as a means of helping societies become better at managing and growing their organizations.

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference -- four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org/.

Editor’s Note:  Whether you have a robust society or are experiencing waning membership, whether you are a long-established society or just starting out as a society, this series is very useful to genealogy societies and similar organizations.
Society members should take a look and see if the articles can  help their organization solve problems and issues.

RootsTech 2011: Keynotes, presentations online

The inaugural edition of the RootsTech conference was quite an experience. Tracing the Tribe is looking forward to the 2012 event.

The keynote talks and select presentations are now available online for those who couldn't make it in person. FamilySearch media contact Paul Nauta - whose attention to detail and to the care of the geneabloggers and others was much appreciated - sent this press release:
Relive RootsTech 2011
Popular Conference Makes Select Presentations Available for Free Online

11 March 2011

SALT LAKE CITY—If you missed the popular inaugural RootsTech 2011 conference, you can now at least get a sampling of what all the excitement was about. The wildly popular new technology and family history conference held last month in Salt Lake City, Utah, made its keynote addresses and a few other popular presentations available online today free of charge. The six free presentations can be viewed at RootsTech.org.

“The scope of the RootsTech conference was unique. We wanted to try to fulfill a need to bring technology users (family history buffs and anyone interested in genealogy) and technology creators (developers, programmers, engineers) together in a unique, fun environment to collaborate and move the genealogy industry forward through technology,” said Anne Roach, RootsTech conference chair. And bring them together it did.

The inaugural conference, hosted by FamilySearch, was a runaway success. With over 3,000 in-person attendees and another 4,500 attending remotely over the Internet, it was arguably one of the largest genealogy-related conferences ever held in the country. In-person attendees hailed from 42 states and 15 countries. Some came from as far away as China, New Zealand, Australia, Namibia, and Israel.

Paul Nauta, RootsTech public relations chair, reported that there were over 40 bloggers in attendance. “Between online articles, blog posts, and nonstop tweets, the online community was buzzing 24 hours a day during the conference and for weeks following—and amazingly, articles and tweets are still going strong,” noted Nauta.

The new conference was pulled together quickly by industry standards—in about 6 months. “The fact that we were able to attract as many conference goers as we did in such a short amount of time testifies to the interest there is in technology and family history,” said Roach. “And we’ve put the videos of the keynotes and other presentations online for free to give others a chance to share in the RootsTech experience; to give them a taste of what they can expect for 2012,” added Roach.

A highlight of the conference was the extensive community networking—community zone (exhibit hall), collaboration stations, and unconferencing sessions. These integrated features produced an open conference atmosphere that seemed to be ideal to introduce technology creators to genealogy technology users and to foster discussions, learning, collaboration, and future industry developments.

Unconferencing sessions—impromptu, participant-driven discussion forums that promote brainstorming, the sharing of ideas, and innovation—were totally new to genealogy attendees, but were more familiar to the technologists. Attendees took advantage of unconferencing sessions to discuss user needs with technology developers and to brainstorm new ideas and solutions. “People emerged from these [unconferencing sessions] with eyes sparkling, and I overheard several people describing conversations between developers and genealogists that left both feeling validated and motivated,” said Polly FitzGerald Kimitt, an attendee and author of Pollyblog.

The RootsTech 2012 conference is scheduled for February 2–4 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In addition to the six video presentations mentioned above, video interviews of other conference speakers and developers can be watched at Genealogy Gems YouTube.

About RootsTech
RootsTech is a new conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists to learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges faced in family history research today. The conference’s activities and offerings are focused on content that will help genealogists and family historians discover exciting new research tools while enabling technology creators to learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.
RootsTech 2012 is set for February 2-4. Mark your calendars now.

15 March 2011

Mocavo.com: New, free genealogy search engine launches

Claiming to be the world's largest free genealogy search engine, Mocavo.com launched today.

The tag line reads, "Searching billions of names in tens of thousands of free sources."

The world’s largest free genealogy search engine, says Mocavo.com, provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide.

The site seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information.

According to the website, Mocavo.com discovers new sites every day. Sites currently searchable include genealogy message boards, family trees, state and local historical societies. Some of the well-known sites that Mocavo accesses include the Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, the Internet Archive, various U.S. state archives, and large numbers of genealogy sites built by individuals for their own family history.

Mocavo links directly to the original content sites.

Dick Eastman and Randy Seaver have already posted about their experiences. Tracing the Tribe is contributing to the Jewish experience on the new site.

I usually start with my names of interest, TALALAY and DARDASHTI, moving onto the geographical locations important to this research, as well as other topics of interest. The website claims to enable the search of more than 50 billion words, so there must be something for Tracing the Tribe, right?

  • There were 168 results for TALALAY and 1,757 entries for DARDASHTI.
The TALALAY entries included Ancestry board posts, conference entries and more. This search did offer a few new ones that I need to follow up on, and it saved me from what usually happens on a Google search, which produces thousands of references to cousins producer Rachel Talalay and her films, Dr. Paul Talalay (Rachel's father), the latex rubber Talalay process and broccoli sprouts.

The DARDASHTI entries included many for Tracing the Tribe, of course, but the others included many conference entries.
  • My first geographical location -Mogilev, Belarus - displayed more than 1,550 hits, mostly from JewishGen's various pages, but aso including other sites. Some results need to be investigated more thoroughly.
  • A search for "sephardic" - important for many Tracing the Tribe readers - produced more than 7,000 results, mostly from JewishGen. "Jewish Sephardic" brought out some 1,100. There were differences in the results.
  • A search for "Tracing the Tribe," brought in some 71 hits, while "Jewish genealogy" resulted in nearly 20,000 results, covering a wide gamut of resources (JewishGen, Jewish genealogical societies, various archives, libraries, book lists, individual family history pages and much more).
  • Searching merely for "Jewish," produced nearly 680,000 results. Among these were state history sites, message boards, state sites for Jewish archives, museums, JGSs, local history sites, cemeteries and many more.
Tracing the Tribe suggests you try it for your own "dot on the map" and surnames. Many more sites will likely be added and searches will produce many more results.

Mocavo.com also has a Facebook page, which Tracing the Tribe has "liked." I think you'll also like it.

Try it out and let your fellow readers know what you've found in your own search.

Poland: JRI-Poland adds many new records

JRI-Poland executive director Stanley Diamond (Montreal) has informed Tracing the Tribe about two new additions - nearly 74,000 entries - to the JRI-Poland database. The database currently holds some 4.1 milion records.

Yesterday, JRI-Poland's sshtel Co-Op Coordinator Hadassah Lipsius (New York) let us know about the addition of more than 28,000 entries indexed from LDS (Mormon) microfilms, including data from Wawolnica, as well as Checiny, Chelm, Kepno, Kozienice, Krzepice, Miedzyrzec Podlaski, Opole Lubelskie, Skierniwice, Sulejow, and Szydlowiec.

Today, Stan noted the new batch - records NOT filmed by the LDS - which are now online as part of JRI-Poland's PSA Project

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, says Stan, creates indices of Jewish vital records from two prime sources:

  • LDS (Mormon) microfilms of Jewish records, generally ending1860s-1870s and indexed under the Shtetl's CO-OP project.
  • Index pages purchased from the Polish State Archives or created by archival staff (prior to November 2006). These are the PSA project.
Towns covered in this addition are: Brzesko, Czyzewo, Frampol, Gostynin (Books of Residents), Grabowiec, Hrubieszow, Jarczow, Jozefow Bilgorajski, Krasnobrod, Krasnystaw, Lancut (1910 Census), Laszczow, Leczna, Nowy Sacz, Nowy Wisnicz, Nowy Zmigrod, Raciaz (Books of Residents), Radymno, Sokolow Malopolski, Szczebrzeszyn, Tarnobrzeg, Tomaszow Lubelski, Turobin, Uchanie, Warszawa, Wysokie (in the Zamosc area), Zamosc and Zolkiewka.

Except as noted, the new/updated data are indices to birth, marriage and death records.

Some of the above towns' records are in the Zamosc branch of the PSA. A separate announcement by Zamosc Archive Coordinator Shelley Pollero is forthcoming.


Search by surname AND town OR surname AND geographical area. For hints on maximizing your search results by using geographic coordinates, click hereTIP Don't search by town name only as this will not generate results!:


Stans thanks JRI-Poland's database manager Michael Tobias, associate director Hadassah Lipsius and our support team of Howard Fink and Meira Putterman, dedicated Town Leaders and Archive
Coordinators and contributors whose efforts and generosity have helped the JRI-Poland database grow.

Towns for which there is no online data yet: Go to the "Your Town" link on JRI-Poland to contact the Town Leader for your town. If a Town Leader is not listed, contact the Archive Coordinator for that town. If your town is not listed, send an email.


To support indexing of your ancestral town or help JRI-Poland's efforts to index Jewish records from all areas of Poland, click here.