30 November 2008

Boston: Two dramatic stories, Dec. 7

Two dramatic stories of digging into lost histories and reuniting long separated families will be featured by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (JGSGB) at its December 7 meeting at Temple Emanuel in Newton.

The stories are Stephen Denker's "documenting business history in Cuba," and Alexander Woodle's "reuniting family divided by 250 years."

Denker reports on seven years of research, worldwide travel and internet chats. By tracing his American family’s manufacturing business and life in Cuba early in the 20th century, he unraveled a genealogical history and reconnects cousins separated for more than 70 years. In summer 2007, Denker spent two weeks in Havana completing his research and visiting the family home and factory.

Woodle reports on re-tying a genealogical thread after 250 years. His quest started with discovering a familiar surname in Austria and Romania in a search of international telephone directories. JewishGen and Familysearch database resources provided evidence of relationship. He then contacted a family in Romania, and utilizing the latest tool of genea-technology, dispatched a DNA kit. Last May, Woodle traveled to Central Europe to visit his distant cousins.

Both presentations exhibit an additional important facet of genealogical research: historical context. Denker describes the circumstances of Jewish immigration to Cuba. Woodle’s review of Jewish history in Central Europe yields clues to the dispersal of his family from 18th century Bohemia to Banat (now partially in Romania) in the southern reaches of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Join the group from 1.30-4.30pm, Sunday, December 7, at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St., Newton. JGSGB members: free; others: $5. For directions and additional details, click here.

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