Showing posts with label Show all posts
Showing posts with label Show all posts

19 May 2011

NY Times: Thomas MacEntee, Geneabloggers mentioned

Read an interesting story on family history resources online in the New York Times.

"Finding Family History Online," by Mickey Meece, can be read here.

The article included Ancestry, WikiTree, FamilyLink, Footnote, Tpestry, Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

Unusually, for a story dedicated to family history social networking, it did not mention

Geneabloggers' own Thomas MacEntee was quoted:
Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy educator, writer and speaker, said the explosion of interest in genealogy was because of “an alignment of technology planets.” First came software, then the Internet and now social networks, he said.

“In the genealogy world, we have always been a social group,” said Mr. MacEntee, founder of, a community resource hub. “In a way, social media is a natural progression.”

...“This is a great time to be in genealogy,” said Mr. MacEntee, who became interested in the field after watching the 1977 television miniseries “Roots.”
Way to go, Thomas!

10 April 2011

Geneabloggers: 12 new genblogs discovered

Thomas MacEntee of has discovered another 12 genealogy blogs this week.

With these new additions, there are now 1,844 genealogy blogs at the site.

See the complete list here, but here are some of the highlights of his post today.

This week's crop includes blogs on cemeteries, individual family history, Canada, Indiana, a professional genealogist, a genealogy society and a genealogy library.

A Grave Curiosity
Cemetery blog

David Suddarth is a genealogist from St. Paul, Minnesota who enjoys exploring old cemeteries. He also has a genealogy research blog, Ancestral Journeys, and a genealogy website, DWS Genealogy.
A Patient Genealogist
Individual family history (GEISZLER, COMFORT, BROWN, LONG)

Adventures In Brown County Genealogy
Genealogical society blog, Indiana genealogy, Professional genealogist
Authored by the Indiana Genealogical Society’s County Genealogist for Brown County, Indiana.
Branches of OUR Tree
Individual family history

Written by Bret Petersen who developed a love of family history research at a young age. He's the webmaster of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group, a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and serves on the  Utah Genealogical Association’s Education Committee and is working towards professional genealogist accreditation. He has an online family history site where he shares information with his relatives. He loves teaching and helping others learn all they can about using technology in researching their family history.
Collecting Dead Relatives and Live Cousins!
Individual family history
"I love history (thanks Dad!). I love a mystery. I have an inquiring mind. I love a good story. I see dead people (not really, I was on a roll….) Researching family history encompasses all of these traits. It really is a natural for me"
Family History Nuggets
Individual family history
Kevin Huigens is an amateur genealogist and family historian. "I love the detective work and research that goes into tracking down details on my ancestors lives. I bash my head against the brick walls until they come down. I also enjoy writing and my blog is a great way to practice. I try to post all of the interesting little pieces of family history I turn up. I occasionally use the many blogging prompts for genealogists to spur me into blogging action."
Finding Kline
Individual family history
On November 6, 1965, Gerald Kline (24) and his wife Linda (20) were traveling down the highway near Fresno, California when a car traveling in the opposite direction crossed lanes and collided with them head-on. Gerald, Linda and their 13-month old, Theresa Robin, were all killed. Gerald’s two young sons, Jerry (4) and Paul (3), who were playing on the floor in the back seat, were the only Kline survivors.

I am Courtney, daughter of Jerry Kline. This blog is the story of my efforts to find out everything I can about my grandparents. My dad doesn’t know much about his family. He can’t remember anything before the accident. I want to know who there were, how they fell in love, who their friends were. I want to know everything.
Canadian genealogy, Individual family history
The author has been an avid genealogy and family history researcher for 30 years, and has served as Calgary Family History Centre research assistant for 12 years, and director (2001-2004).
KHCPL Genealogy & Local History Department
Genealogy library blog, Indiana genealogy
This is blog of the Genealogy & Local History Department of the Kokomo-Howard County (Indiana) Public Library. It will promote genealogy events in the department and highlight breaking genealogy news.
Remembering Those Who Came Before Us
Individual family history (COLMAN)

Dates are only the skeleton of the stories which should be told about the ordinary or extraordinary lives of our ancestors. Finding clues to how they lived puts flesh on those bones and makes the old photographs glow with life.
Votes for Women: “Spirit of 1776″ Suffrage Campaign Wagon
Individual family history
The suffrage campaign wagon used by Edna Buckman Kearns on Long Island and in New York City parades is an example of the extensive use of “visual rhetoric” used by the suffragists in addition to the written and spoken word. This wagon also tapped into the tradition of the American Revolution by the question posed whenever Edna spoke in public: “If taxation without representation was tyranny in 1776, why not in 1913?” The wagon’s name, the “Spirit of 1776,” also was a crowd pleaser.
Who Knew?
Individual family history (GUNZENDORFER, WALLER)
I started researching the Gunzendorfers about a year ago and have branched out in so many directions with the help of my partner-in-genealogy, Jan. I’ve learned that my 5th great grandfather on my mother’s side, Ashbel Waller, served in the Revolutionary War. And his grandson, Emery Waller, (my 3rd great grandfather) served in the Civil War. I’ve learned that just like my grandmothers told me when we gave our daughter the middle name of Rebecca, both of their grandmothers really were named Rebecca (Steen and Waller). I’ve learned that my dad’s family really are Jewish and that the Jews in California have been studied and researched – a lot. And while I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet, I’ve learned that there really might not be any Gunzendorfers left in the United States. Who knew Mom might be right?
Read more about each new-found blog at the post link above or at each individual blog link.

26 March 2011

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.

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.

18 March 2011

UK: British Library, FindMyPast to digitize 5 million pages

The British Library and 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 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.

09 March 2011

UK: Tracing the Tribe noted in gen mag

When one is recuperating from a bug, it is nice to hear from friends providing good news.

Such was the case with two emails in two days - from geneablogger FootnoteMaven and Jeremy Frankel (president of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society - both informing Tracing the Tribe that we were featured in the spring issue of the UK genealogy magazine, Your Family Tree.

Jeremy, now visiting in the UK, is bringing back a copy of the issue for us.

Alan Crosby wrote an excellent article about genealogy blogging and mentioned the "Top Three: Unsung Heroes," including Tracing the Tribe.

It was very nice to be recognized alongside Heritage of Wales and The Victorianist.

His story noted another good friend - Thomas MacEntee of Crosby mentioned that Thomas now lists some 1,200 categorized genealogy blogs, but a more accurate count is now in the neighborhood of 1,700!

Dick Eastman and other US and UK geneabloggers were mentioned in the story, which gave a nuts and bolts take on setting up a genealogy blog.

It also shows off Tracing the Tribe's logo, designed by the above-mentioned - and very talented - FootnoteMaven!

Thank you, Alan Crosby!

27 February 2011

New York: 15th NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, March 10-16

The 15th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival will showcase five US and six New York premieres March 10-16 at the Center for Jewish History.

The event is presented by the American Sephardi Federation (ASF) in association with Yeshiva University Museum (YUM).

The 2011 program includes critically acclaimed, award-winning, classic features and documentaries prsenting diverse global perspectives.

The annual event (since 1990) draws personalities, scholars, diplomats and filmmakers.

This year's themes include a special focus on the Jews of Morocco, as part of ASF's year-long series, '2,000 Years of Jewish Life in Morocco: An Epic Journey."

The Pomegranate Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Sephardi actor/filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz at the Opening Night Gala. She has received three Ophir Awards, the 2010 France Culture Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Israeli Film Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.

It is the only annual festival of this kind, and attracts more than 30,000 attendees.

The ASF is committed to exhibiting a selection of thought-provoking, international quality feature films and documentaries that examine the past and explore contemporary Sephardic issues and identity.

"Through cinematic exploration, our aim is to further elevate the understanding of the very rich history and culture of Sephardic Jewry," says ASF President, David E.R. Dangoor.
See the full program list and ticket information here.

23 February 2011

New York: 30 Jewish marriage contracts exhibit, opens March 11

The Jewish Museum will open the exhibit "The Art of Matrimony: 30 Splendid Marriage Contracts from the Jewish Theological Seminary Library," on Friday, March 11 to run through June 26.

The library of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City holds one of the best collections of ketubot - Jewish marriage certificates. Thirty of the finest will be featured in the exhibit, which dates from a 12th century piece to later examples.

Jewish family history researchers can discover much information on these documents (ketubah, plural ketubot), which exist for all communities around the world, and provide family details on the families, communities and customs

The JTS ketubah collection numbers more than 600 works of every type. The majority are from Italy, with others from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran/Persia, Morocco, Syria and Turkey. Other examples represent Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and the United States. They represent the diversity of Jewish communities throughout history, with information on the couples, marriage customs and artistic styles.

Before a wedding, families negotiate a marriage contract (ketubah), which includes the husband's duties to his wife and monies due her in case of a divorce or her death.
Some examples:
  • The earliest in the exhibit is a rare 12th century Egyptian fragment.
  • 1764 earliest known decorated ketubah from Baghdad, drawn on paper from Augsburg, Germany, and indicating Jewish commercial ties.
  • 1885 Damascus contract shows vivid colors and lush floral imagery echoing the blessing bestowed on a couple as they stand under the bridal canopy: “Grant perfect joy to these loving companions, just as You made your creations joyful in the Garden of Eden.”
  • 1749 Venetian ketubah features the 12 Zodiac signs and an intricate love knot borrowed from Italian folk culture. The wording says that the bride and groom “agree to conduct their mutual life with love and affection, without hiding or concealing anything from each other; furthermore, they will control their possessions equally.“
Although hand-decorated ketubot began to go out of fashion in the late-19th century, there was a revival in the 1960s along with a new interest in Jewish identity. Examples include:
  • A 1999 Archie Granot muti-layeredpapercut.
  • 1961 ketubah by artist Ben Shahn, showing his fascination with Hebrew calligraphy.
Two related JTS faculty lectures are scheduled:

  • Monday, March 14: Dr. David Kraemer, Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbincs at the JTS, will discuss the history of Jewish marriage contracts.
  • Monday, March 21: Exhibition curator Sharon Liberman Mintz will speak about the art of the decorated marriage contract.
The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today's collection numbers some 26,000 objects, including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects and broadcast media.

Museum hours: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: 11am-5:45pm; Thursday, 11am-8pm; and Friday, 11am-4pm. Admission: Adults, $12; seniors, $10; students, $7.50; no charge for Jewish Museum members and children under 12. Admission is free on Saturdays.

For information on The Jewish Museum, click here  For program and ticket information, click here.

The Museum is at 1109 Fifth Avenue (at 92nd Street), Manhattan.

17 February 2011

Nevada: programs, February 19-20

Tracing the Tribe readers in the Las Vegas area will hear Crista Cowan of speak on both sides of town, on Saturday-Sunday, February 19-20, sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Southern Nevada.

On Saturday at 10am, she will speak at the Paseo Verde Library, 208 S. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, focusing on  "Getting the Most Out of your Subscription."

On Sunday at 1pm, she will speak at the Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas., where her topic will be "Tips and Tricks to Research Online Like a Professional."

The Sunday two-hour program will detail some of the website's 30,000+ databases.  Cowan will share her go-to sources as well as some lesser-known gems sure to help you grow your family tree. The interactive program will utilize personal and audience case studies.

A drawing will be held for a free Family Tree Maker 2011 software package. Each attendee who turns in a completed evaluation form will also be eligible for a drawing for a free one-year, World Deluxe, subscription. 

Cowan has been involved in family history research for more than 20 years and actively engaged in client research since 2002.  Her specialties include descendancy research, Jewish immigration and sharing family history with the genealogically challenged. She has been an employee since 2004.

For more information, send an email.

16 February 2011

IAJGS: 2011 Awards Committee seeks nominees

Each year, the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies recognizes individuals and organizations with four awards for excellence in Jewish genealogy.

All nominations must be submitted online via a One-Step form. If additional "hard-copy" material is required, instructions will be found on that form.

New submitters may need some help in using the online form. If you are in that group, contact the awards committee chair Mark Halpern.

  • IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or Electronic Product
  • Outstanding Programming or Project that Advanced the Objectives of Jewish Genealogy
  • Outstanding Publication by a Member Organization of IAJGS
For information on each award and previous winners, click here.

CAVEAT: Nominations can be made ONLY by IAJGS member organizations - NOT by individuals. However, individuals are encouraged to be part of the process by contacting their local society and suggesting worthy nominees. Click here for a list of all JGSs and SIGs.
Awardees for 2011 will be announced at the annual IAJGS conference banquet - this year in Washington DC on Thursday, August 18.

DEADLINE:  Nominees must be submitted by April 17.

  • Chair: Mark Halpern, West Chester, Pennsylvania - JGS of Greater Philadelphia
  • Jan Meisels Allen, Agoura Hills, California -  IAJGS Board Member
  • Michael Brenner, Las Vegas, Nevada -  IAJGS Board Member
  • Paul Cheifitz, Tel Aviv, Israel - Israel Genealogical Society
  • Laurence Harris, Middlesex, UK - JGS of Great Britain
If you have questions, contact Mark Halpern.

08 February 2011

Knowles Collection: 55,000 records just added

Many of Tracing the Tribe's readers know about Todd Knowles' collection of Jewish records. Yesterday, 55,000 records were added, bringing the total to 195,000 people.

In September 2010, the Knowles Collection contained 140,000 records. And, when it was first introduced, the information included fewer than 7,000 people nearly all from the British Isles. Today more than 60 countries are represented and some 10,000 records are added monthly.

It links together - into family groups - thousands of individual Jews. Until now, these records were available only at the Family History Library, or from private archives or individuals.

The five separate databases in the collection are:

-- Jews of the British Isles: 104,100 people
-- Jews of the Americas: 53,000 people
-- Jews of Europe: 33,200 people
-- Jews of the Caribbean: 4,500 people
-- Jews of Africa and the Orient: 800 people

Records contain (where available): Surnames and given names, links to ancestors, dates, places, source citations and notes.

The collection is free and accessible to all. Those interested can download the data as a Gedcom or do an individual search. Find the links here at the The Knowles Collection wiki page at the Family Search Wiki.

Tracing the Tribe is now going to the Family History Library to meet with Todd.

A blog: Jewish Maritime Historical Society

Tracing the Tribe discovered the blog of the Jewish Maritime Historical Society, billed as being
"dedicated to Jewish captains, pirates, sailors and all seafaring people."

Unfortunately, it now seems defunct with the most recent post in November 2009. Its posts covered personalities, historical events, maritime instruments like astrolabes, archaeological evidence and more. The articles come from major and minor websites and publications.

Posts that Tracing the Tribe found interesting: Jews and Navigation, First Hero of the Portuguese Discoveries and Jewish Traders of the Diaspora. In these days, when immigration issues are part of the conversation, read  Aaron Lopez's Struggle for Citizenship.  For parts farther afield, there's an article on the Jews of Cochin.

If this area of Jewish history interests you, or if you had ancestors who sailed the seven seas, take a look.