01 March 2007

Los Angeles: adventurous genealogists tell their tales

If you have a hankering to visit the old homestead in Eastern Europe, an upcoming program may help you understand how to take the trip of a lifetime.

On March 11, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles is hosting four adventurous genealogists as they present multimedia programs about their recent trips to Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland and the former Galicia. Each program focuses on a different kind of trip.

"Where Once We Walked: Traveling Back in Time" features Mark Heckman, Lois Rosen, Karen Roekard and Andrea Massion.

Heckman attended a summer 2006 symposium of more than 60 former residents of Czernowitz, Ukraine. Now called Chernivtsi, it was, for hundreds of years, the leading city of North Bukovina and southern Galicia and home to a vibrant Jewish population. Many of its residents survived but most emigrated to Israel and the West. The meeting provided a chance for former residents to reconnect with their home town, and younger generations had an opportunity to see a place they had only known via family stories. Heckman will show pictures and video, highlights of the reunion and visits to other towns including Sadagora, Zastavna, Zaleshchiki, Tluste and Horodenka.

In August 2006, Rosen (researching the Rozinko family) traveled to Latvia. She didn't hire a guide, but planned the trip herself, and visited Riga, Daugavpils and then Pasvalys, Lithuania. She met the researcher who had helped her locate information, met members of the Jewish community, and visited the restored synagogue and active Jewish community center.

Roekard, on her third Ukraine trip in 2006, spent two weeks researching in both the Scientific and State Historical Archives in Lviv (Lvov, Lemberg), which was once in Galicia/Poland. With Natalie Dunai, she studied books, files, maps and lists, and will elaborate on the pleasures, treasures, value and "OY!" of archival research. She will share video of davening and singing in the Zolkiew shul with its amazing acoustics, and explain a planned synagogue restoration project.

In May 2005, Massion traveled with a cousin to Ukraine, accompanied
by researcher/guide Alex Dunai, spending four days in her ancestral shtel of Ananiev, and also visiting Odessa, Balta and Uman. In Kiev, she met a cousin for the first time, discovering the real story of her family as together they searched for the answers to family mysteries.

For more information, click here.

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