07 March 2008

Seattle: Tools to uncover Jewish history, March 10

Genealogical research is not just a list of "where and when" facts about Jewish ancestors. It can also help researchers explore ancestral cultures and recreate some missing family information because so many Jewish families lost relatives (and our Eastern-European–based culture) in the Holocaust.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State's next meeting will focus on "Using Genealogical Tools to Help Uncover Jewish Cultural History," presented by Sally Mizroch, at 7pm Monday, March 10, at the Mercer Island JCC.

Using the history of a Lithuanian Jewish family as a case study, Mizroch will demonstrate genealogical tools that can help uncover cultural information.

Many (if not most) Jews are the descendents of those who left for many and varied reasons well before the Second World War. New tools allow us to try to figure out the professions as well as the distribution and movements of our old-country relatives. They also can help us figure out eras of — and reasons for — emigration.

Tools demonstrated will include online databases for old-country census, tax, voter, passport, and other records. Also shown will be information available from ongoing vital records indexing projects, with translated birth, death, and marriage records from many Eastern European countries. In addition, some immigration and census databases will be shown, with examples of how to determine when our ancestors arrived.

Sally Mizroch began exploring her family genealogy in summer 2003, when she answered a posting on the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) that requested information about her grandmother, Sarah Mizroch. Since then, she has discovered and visited cousins around the world, used web-based databases and visited archives in Lithuania and South Africa in search of information.

In her professional life, she studies large whale populations at NOAA Fisheries National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, using both photo-identification and historical whaling data to estimate whale life history parameters, vital rates, distribution and abundance.

For more information, click here. Photo ID required to enter building. JGSWS members: no charge; others, $5.

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