07 August 2007

California: A handful of 'genie nuts'

From the San Francisco Jewish paper, j. comes "Can I discover my family's history with a handful of 'genie nuts'?"

The story focuses on my good genealogy friend, Rosanne Leeson of Los Altos, California, vice president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of San Francisco Bay.

Rosanne Leeson, an “ostensibly retired” Los Altos librarian, calls herself a “genie nut.”“It’s the worse virus in the world,” she said. “Once that bug bites you, you are hooked. You are done for life.” That “virus” has taken her to family reunions in Alsace, France, and Richmond, Va., not to mention visits to Germany, Holland and Latin America, where she encounters new relatives, and to cemeteries, where she discovers forebears.

It all began when her son, Barney Dryfuss Leeson, was 8 and “asked the first fatal question.” He wanted to know if he was related to Barney Dreyfuss, the original Pittsburgh Pirates owner.

Thirty-five years after she first began tracing the Dryfusses — a common name among Alsatian Jews with myriad spellings — Leeson is vice president of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. Now she helps others with their searches, something that is far easier since resources became available online.

The story quotes other members of the society, such as its affable president Jeremy Frankel, formerly of the UK, and discusses author Janet Silver Ghent's own genealogical journey.

When asked how much time he spends on genealogy, Frankel's reply: "Twenty five hours a day, eight days a week."

We can all relate to that!

Read more here

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