17 January 2010

Los Angeles: Litvaks, Galitzianers and Magyars - Oh my!, Jan. 28

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles is a brave group to bring together - in one room, at the same time - Litvaks, Galitzianers and Magyars, on Thursday, January 28.

On the other hand, how many times can you get three major experts together in the same place?

The event begins at 7.30pm at the Skirball Cultural Center's Magnin Auditorium. Note that this meeting is on Thursday, a different than normal day for JGSLA meetings!

Are your ancestral roots in Lithuania, Galicia or Hungary? Don't miss this unusual opportunity to learn about the special interest groups for these regions. Our ancestors moved around quite a bit, and some may well pop up in a surprising location. Learning about other geographical resources expands our knowledge and horizons.

This program will provide updates and information from Litvak SIG president David Hoffman, Gesher Galicia president Pamela Weisberger and Hungarian SIG coordinator Vivian Kahn, followed by an extensive Q&A session.

LitvakSIG is the primary Internet source connecting researchers of Lithuanian-Jewish genealogy worldwide. Its goal is to discover, present and preserve information about our ancestors' lives in Lithuania, and to better understand their lives before some 95% of Lithuanian Jews perished in the Holocaust. David will explain the history and the goals of the group and tour its website, including the “All Lithuanian Database,” incorporating data from many sources into a searchable mega-database, with the largest number of Lithuanian Jewish records online. He’ll also elaborate on shtetl and surname research groups, articles and other materials of interest.

Gesher Galicia (GG) promotes Jewish genealogical and historical research in Galicia, a province of the former Austrian Empire that today includes towns in Eastern Poland and Western Ukraine. In 2007, Gesher Galicia began the “Cadastral Map and Landowner Records Project" to inventory and obtain copies of records at the Lviv Historical Archive in Ukraine. These are invaluable materials metrical records are not available. In some cases they may be the only documented evidence about your ancestors' lives. Pamela will also provide more information on the project, demonstrate the new searchable databases and show how maps and landowner records provide a window into the history of the Jews of Galicia.

Hungarian SIG covers the history of and resources for the country's Jewish community. Vivian will provide a short overview of the history and discuss the wide range of available genealogical resources including JewishGen's “All Hungary Database." The AHD includes nearly 1 million records for individuals in the current and former territory of Hungary, including areas in what is now Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, northern Serbia, northwestern Romania and subcarpathian Ukraine. She'll discuss some of the SIG's current projects, including the Ungvar/Uzhgorod Cemetery Index and identify other online resources.

More on the speakers:

David B. Hoffman, PhD is a clinical psychologist and former UCLA professor, who has been involved in genealogy for 16 years. He's co-founder and current president of the LitvakSIG, on the JGSLA board and Roots-Key editor. He's published more than 35 articles and spoken at eight IAJGS conferences and to groups in South Africa, Israel, Great Britain, the US and conducted research in Lithuania. David established the Jewish Family History Foundation which focuses on 18th century Jewish records of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in territory that later became Belarus, Lithuania, and parts of Poland and Ukraine.

Pamela Weisberger is JGSLA program chair, co-chair for JGSLA 2010 and Gesher Galicia president. She's documented her family’s history for more than 25 years, has traveled throughout Eastern Europe, visited ancestral towns and villages and conducted research in Polish, Ukrainian and Hungarian archives. She has a special interest in late-19th to early-20th century US city directories, newspapers and court records. For four years, she's organized the IAJGS conference film festival, and also produced the 25th-anniversary documentary of JGSLA (“Genealogy Anyone? Twenty Five Years in the Life of the JGSLA”).

Vivian Kahn is JewishGen's Hungarian Special Interest Group (H-SIG) coordinator and moderates H-SIG's mailing list. An experienced researcher, she has presented workshops on Jewish genealogy and researching Hungarian Jewish families at IAJGS annual conferences, for Lehrhaus Judaica and other San Francisco Bay Area groups. Her roots in pre-Trianon Hungary have taken her to Hungary, Slovakia, Israel and Salt Lake City. As JewishGen's Vice-President for SIG Affairs, she serves on the organization's Operating Committee. A San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society member, she has more than 30 years of professional city-planning experience in public and private sectors.

The Traveling Library will open at 7pm with special regional maps and books. Bring family documents, photographs and maps to share or to receive help.

Fee: members, free; others, $5. For more information, directions and future events, click the JGSLA site.

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