Showing posts with label Switzerland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Switzerland. Show all posts

17 December 2009

GenAmi: Paris Archives, journal articles

GenAmi (Paris, France) has announced information on new online access to the Paris Archives and the list of articles in its new issue. Read on for more.

If your quest includes family that had lived in Paris, remember that GenAmi is an important resource.

Click GenAmi for more information on the organization, its publications and other events, such as its annual meeting, set for March 9, 2010.

Paris Archives

In the photo above, see (left) Victor Hugo's death certificate on May 23, 1885.
At right, see a ledger page for 10 births from 1872-1881.

The Paris Archives are now online, click here to view. Records include reconstructed data through 1859, as well as decennial lists and records through 1902.

The site is only in French, which Tracing the Tribe reads but doesn't speak. I also used Google Translate and the English translation was sufficient for those who do not read French.

The first section: 1860-1902. It contains civil records for each of 20 districts. In the The research is done in conventional tables and decadal records of acts within each of 20 districts. Birth certificates, however, in the 12th arrondissement were destroyed for the period 1 January 1870 to May 25, 1871.

Choose the type of record (birth, marriage, death) and the district; these two fields are required. The date of the record is optional. There are 20 districts, so you might need to run multiple searches to find the individual you are looking for.

For the decennial records, there are alphabetical surname lists for each 10 year period for each of the 20 districts and by type of document. Records found will include the person's name and surname and the date. Again, if you do not know where they lived for each record, you will need to run multiple searches.

The second section: reconstructed records 16th century-1859. Of some 8 million records destroyed by fire in May 1871, only some 30% has been restored. You can check for a record in the alphabetical surname database - organized by type of document - to see if it has been reconstructed. A digitization program is ongoing.

Each sheet has the year of record, where recorded (parish, former district or municipality annexed to Paris), name and surname of the person, and the date the event. For weddings, there is a record for each spouse with the wife's under her maiden name. sheet has been developed for each of the spouses, the wife is to look at his birth name.

I checked for Cohen under marriages and found this:


Click on the second record and see this:
New Journal Issue

GenAmi has also announced the articles in its new journal issue. See the site link above for more information.:

- Bond to the soil and ties of blood: foundation of Jewish tradition, by historian Stephane Encel

- Simon Hayem and his descendents: Merchants, artists and doctors.

- Chief Rabbi Abraham de Cologna: Four known children.

- UK research: CemeteryScribes.com

- Tunisia's civil records during the French Protectorate Acquisitions

- "Une Memoire de papier", (Silvain, Perret) - Jews of Belgium in postcards

- "Atlas des Parisiens" from the Revolution to today

- "Mes anciens et la mer" by Lionel Levy- "Jews of Morocco", bibliography

- "Durmenach se souvient"

- Booklets on Jewish Basel (Switzerland)

GenAmi is a good source of information.

07 May 2009

Feeling stressed? Maybe this will help

Forbes.com just put out the list of the top 10 happiest countries to live in.

According to a British Medical Journal 2005, research in several countries indicated that although individuals typically get richer during their lifetimes, they don't get happier. What brings joy is family, social and community networks.

Tracing the Tribe hopes that includes genealogy communities!

Here's the list:

1- Denmark
2- Finland
3- Netherlands
4- Sweden
5- Ireland
6- Canada
7- Switzerland
8- New Zealand
9- Norway
10- Belgium
Data was used from last year's Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries, which asked respondents whether they had experienced six different forms of positive or negative feelings within the last day.

Sample questions: Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesteday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday? No more than 1,000 people, age 15 or older, were surveyed in each country. and the poll was scored from 1-100. The average score was 62.4.
Genealogists would likely answer these questions positively!

Overall economic health was a strong factor. Although the global economic crisis has been felt in every nation, those scoring highest in this poll had some of the highest GDPs per capita in the world.

However, wealth wasn't the highest indicator. Although Norway ranked highest in GDP per capita, it ranked ninth in the list, despite a GDP per capita of nearly $100,000. New Zealand's GDP per capita was only a little more than $30,000, yet ranked eighth.

Another important factor is work-life balance. Scandinavian countries work 37 hours per week or less. Low-scoring China has a 47-hour workweek and a GDP per capita of only $3,600.

Low unemployment contributes to happiness. The OECD resercher says "not having a job makes one substantially less satisfied." Top-ranked Denmark has an unemployment rate of only 2%; the Netherlands, 4.5%; the US, 9% - which didn't make the top 10.

Read the complete article here.

29 March 2009

Switzerland: Major WWI casualty archive discovered

British historian Peter Barton has unearthed information that could help thousands of people with their family histories, according to this BBC News story.

Barton was commissioned to carry out research into the identities of World War I casualties discovered in a mass grave at Fromelles in France, and received access to the Geneva-based Red Cross headquarters basement, the first researcher to see these records.

Details deal with capture, injuries, death, or field burials of servicemen from more than 30 countries, and sometimes include personal effects, home addresses and grave sites. The Red Cross received these details from the combatants; volunteers recorded details before sending them to the home countries.
Some of the records refer to other mass graves, with exact directions as to where they were dug, and the identities of the soldiers who were buried. Where possible, the registers include home addresses and next of kin.
He examined records untouched since 1918 and estimate there could be as many as 20 million records in the old cardboard boxes filled with thousands of index cards and hundreds of registers, compiled between 1914-1918.

According to Peter Barton, the UK's copies no longer exist, but the originals are still here and are immensely important.

"To a military historian, this was like finding Tutankhamen's tomb and the terracotta warriors on the same day," he told me.

"I still can't understand why no-one has ever realised the significance of this archive - but the Red Cross tell me I'm the first researcher who has asked to see it."

The records could potentially reveal the whereabouts of individuals whose remains were never found, or never identified. Grave after grave in the World War I cemeteries mark the last resting place of an unknown soldier.

The Red Cross must now address preservation and digitization of the paper records. Two million pounds has been earmarked for the project which will start in the fall, and will involve experts from all over Europe. The organization says it will almost certainly ask for volunteers to join their own archivists.
The organisation's head of press, Florian Westphal, admitted they had never faced a challenge quite like this: "First we have to make sure that we preserve the original records," he told me. "Then, this autumn, we will begin the process of digitising the World War I section of the archive - we expect that phase of the project to cost around four million Swiss Francs."
According to the Red Cross, it hopes to have the archive online by 2014, a century after the start of WWI. Those records and today's technology will unlock a piece of history.

There may be more to come, as this careful record-keeping extended through World War II, and to more recent conflicts. There are many more index cards in more boxes on more shelves.

Read the complete story at the link above, and see the video on the same page which covers Barton working with the records.

05 September 2008

Switzerland: The Bollag family camp

The Bollag family summer routine has followed a schedule set more than a century ago by an ancestor, and detailed in this New Jersey Jewish Standard story by Abigail Klein Leichman

You might call it an extreme family reunion — an event far beyond a Sunday afternoon of picnics and Frisbee.

Every other summer, Aliza and Avi Picard — among other relatives from France, Switzerland, Israel, the United States, Britain, and Belgium — send their children to a two-week family camp ("familiienlagger") in the Alps.

Avi Picard explained that the camp was an outgrowth of a foundation started in 1901 by his ancestor, Samuel Bollag, a Swiss Jew. Bollag, then 80 years old and the father of 12 children, intended the foundation ("Stiftung") as a vehicle for aiding family members and maintaining contact between them as they started moving to distant places.

"The second daughter, Berta, had already moved to Alsace at that time, which was then in Germany and is today in France," said Picard, who is descended patrilineally from Berta.

"The foundation is still active, and every six months we receive a report about births, weddings, and deaths, and also about donations given to the family fund for members in need," said Picard, an Israeli who is living in Teaneck temporarily while teaching Israeli studies — last year at Rutgers and this year at New York University. His wife teaches at the Moriah School in Englewood.

After WWII, the far-flung family created a biennial foundation-funded familiienlagger for cousins aged 7-17. The volunteer staff are relatives who are educators, experienced in hiking and mountain climbing, or who help in the kitchen.

"My father was in those camps, I was there, and my kids have attended the last four camps," said Picard. "Aliza and I served twice as staff members." This summer, the Picards’ four older children — ages 16, 14, 12, and 10 — attended the family camp, leaving their 5-year-old sibling at home.

Though the camps take place most often in the Swiss Alps and sometimes in France, for the foundation’s 100th anniversary the camp was held in Israel, where many of Bollag’s descendants now live. But the campers still come from all over.

"This summer, the majority of the expenses were for flights," said Picard.

The family rented a campsite to accommodate 45 children and a group of adult leaders in a remote Alpine village for the last two weeks of July.

Six months in advance, things are planned, especially for the kitchen. There are family utensils to bring and while most kosher foods can be bought locally, others must be brought.

In Picard's youth, most campers spoke French and Swiss-Germany. He and his brother were the only Israelis. Today the most common language is Hebrew, as some 60% of the campers are Israeli, although English is the main communication langauge, as the French, Swiss and Israeli campers can all speak it at some level.

Activities include hiking, gamesand swimming, while campers over 12 take part in a challenging two-day trip involving hiking to a high-altitude glacier and sleeping in a cabin.

Although the attendees' religious observance varies, all food is kosher and there's a lot of Shabbat singing.

"The atmosphere is traditional, but it’s not religious, and there is no morning service during the week," said Picard. The more fervently Orthodox members of the extended family choose not to attend, nor does the Argentinean branch come.

Nevertheless, the camp still brings together a large mix of nationalities and cultures, he added. And they all attempt to learn more about each other.

"My kids came back telling us that they had seen old 8-millimeter family movies, and had learned more about their relatives," said Picard. "They are trying to understand the family tree and how they are all connected. This is the Jewish history of a family that emigrated everywhere."

What a wonderful family tradition ensuring these young people remain connected and learn about their common family history.

01 September 2007

Roots Travel: A Swiss mountain village

Here's an excellent, interesting story on one family's trip to their Swiss village roots. Steve Norder - in the North Texas Star-Telegram - includes a great tip list for anyone contemplating a trip "home" and a website roundup.

Before Norder and his family left for Engi - his family had left in 1840 - he contacted the local historical society.

Before we left, I had e-mailed an Engi official to ask if someone might meet with us to talk about the village. The historical society president arranged for the two young English-speaking members to spend a day answering our questions.

Rolf is the village's computer tech and the historical society's archivist. Anita is a genealogy buff whose family has been in Engi for centuries.

Within minutes, they had solved the mystery of why the Norders left. "They left because otherwise they would have died. They would have starved," Rolf said.

Industrialization and crop failures devastated the valley in the 1840s. For decades, men, women and children had done cloth work by hand, weaving flax or wool to help scratch out a living. But industrial production eliminated the market for hand-woven textiles. "They could no longer sell this product," Rolf said. "It broke the system."

At the same time, potato blight devastated Engi. "It became so bad in the valley that this area was called Little Ireland," Rolf said. Of about 300 families, about half had no income.

Life in Engi had always been a series of hardships.

While Engi still has its cows, mountain scenery and fresh air, the Norder family history also includes 16th century neck irons, the rise and fall of family fortunes, the plague, avalanches, famine, slate mining, textile weaving and a lost branch in Brazil.

Although Norder, following the genealogist's time-honored trek to the ancestral cemetery, didn't find any family gravestones, he did learn why:

To our disappointment, Anita and Rolf had told us we would find no Norders in its cemetery. Land is so scarce, they said, that people are buried for only 20 years. After that, the remains are dug up and given to the family. The oldest date my wife saw on a tombstone was 1986.

Read this fascinating story here