25 April 2010

Los Angeles: Changing Eastern European Borders, April 26

To understand in detail where our ancestors lived requires knowledge of the changing borders of Eastern Europe.

If you're in or near Los Angeles, try to attend the next Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles' meeting tomorrow (Monday, April 26), which will focus on "The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe," presented by Hal Bookbinder.

The program begins at 7.30pm at Tracing the Tribe's former home synagogue - Valley Beth Shalom - in Encino.

I've seen Hal's border changes presentation several times. It is excellent and puts everything into perspective. Researchers are likely to learn details that they never knew before. At left, compare only two screens for 1914 and 1937 to see some very major differences.

While the towns didn't move, the borders moved around them. My grandfather, born in Suchostaw (Galicia->Poland>Ukraine), used to say that he never knew where they were living until they heard how the teacher said good morning to the class.

Some towns have been in several countries, and this impacts archives and extant records, depending on  which government was in charge when. Border changes - country changes - also impacted the lives of our ancestors and knowing about those changes also helps. Changes impacted the languages in which records were kept, where the records may be found, migration patterns and more.

Hal uses his own ancestral town of Dubno as an example of these changes.

A past president of the IAJGS and a current JGSLA board member, he's been researching his family for more than two decades, has traced two lines to the mid-18th century and identified more than 3,000 relatives.  He's written several Jewish genealogy articles and contributed to several books. In his professional life, he directs computing for UCLA Healthcare and teaches university-level Information Technology.

Fee: JGSLA members, free; others, $5. The group's traveling library will be available at 7pm.

For more information, visit the JGSLA website.

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