08 April 2010

New York: Gesher Galicia spring event, April 18

The Gesher Galicia Spring regional meeting is set for Sunday, April 18, at the Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th Street, New York City.

The two-part program begins at 11am.

Part 1: Update on the Cadastral Map and Landowner Records Project, with Gesher Galicia president and research coordinator Pamela Weisberger.

Cadastral land records and property maps are an excellent source of family history information. Studied together, they can show the exact location where a family lived in a shtetl. They can tell the story of neighbors or siblings who resided near each other and demonstrate how close a family lived to the synagogue, cemetery, schools, or the market square. Using house numbers gleaned from vital records, a connection can be made between these physical locations and the genealogical data. Landowner taxation books show the size and value of the properties that Jewish families owned or rented, adding greatly to the history of a family. These records are invaluable when other metrical records are not available, and in some cases they may be the only documented evidence relating to your ancestors.

Examples of maps and records from Phase 4 of the project will be shown and discussed, along with examples from a 1765 Polish magnate "census" book showing the Jewish residents of Grzymalow and the first appearance of Jewish surnames as derived from the occupations of the Jews who lived on the estate grounds. The next phase of the project (June 2010) will be detailed along with the return of the Lviv Street and House Photography Project in July 2010.

2. A Galician Childhood Recounted - The True Story of Feige Hollenberg-Connors Feige, who was born in Korolowka in 1933.

In addition to a house on the market square, her family had farmland outside of town, inherited from her Rosenstock grandfather. She led an idyllic childhood until war broke out and her family had to go into hiding. Hear her first-hand account of what it was like to grow up in this shtetl, until at age 14 she was hidden by a Ukrainian family that later betrayed her, escaped from the ghetto andlabor camp, and survived in the forest until the war's end.

Feige returned to Korolowka last summer with cave explorer Chris Nicola, who will be on hand to add a coda to her story involving his discovery of "Priests Grotto" the seven-mile long cave where 38 Jews from the town hid until the war was over, and his tenacious path to both discover the identities of those who survived the horrors of war and to successfully reunite them.

There is actually a Part 3 to this program. After lunch, the JGS of New York will meet with speaker Roma Baran to hear her story of rediscoveringher family's true identities.

A JGSLA 2010 preview will also be offered.

The meeting is free to all. Invite anyone who might be interested. Click here for directions.

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