28 February 2011

Florida: Photo Genealogist 'Sherlock Cohn' to speak March 9

Ava Cohn - AKA Sherlock Cohen - Photo Genealogist - will speak at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County on Wednesday, March 9.

The meeting begins at 12.30pm at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, Florida. The main program follows a brick wall session and brief business meeting. The Poland/Belarus SIG will meet from 11.30am-1215pm. Admission: JGSPBCI members, free; others, $5.

"Clued-In: Case Studies" is the name of the program, which will detail the mysteries of heirloom photos unlocked by Cohn, who brings a lifelong fascination with heirloom photographs and a multidisciplinary background to photo dating and interpretation.
Cohn holds a Theatre Arts BA (Brandeis University), and has done coursework in decorative arts, art history and costume history at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. A former marketing executive, she has been studying her family history as a hobby for more than three decades, and full time since 2005.

For directions and more information, click the JGSPBC website.
As Sherlock Cohn, the Jewish genealogy sleuth, she will demonstrate how and why it is important to mine the clues our ancestors left in their photos. Whether families came from Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Galicia, Romania, Germany or other parts of Eastern Europe or the world, whether they were Ashkenazic or Sephardic, they left very personal records of their lives in the photographs and portraits for which they sat. Analyzing Jewish family photographs presents unique challenges unlike those of any other ethnic groups.

Sherlock” will show how accurate photo dating, photo identification, knowledge of fashion and artifact history, and matching of vital records can illuminate relatives’ lives, and help solve some of the vexing family genealogy mysteries.

Cohn has made it her mission to help as many Jewish genealogists as possible to recover the personal information that their ancestors knew when they had their portraits originally taken and as such, specializes in the period of most Jewish photographs, 1880-1960.

27 February 2011

New York: 15th NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, March 10-16

The 15th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival will showcase five US and six New York premieres March 10-16 at the Center for Jewish History.

The event is presented by the American Sephardi Federation (ASF) in association with Yeshiva University Museum (YUM).

The 2011 program includes critically acclaimed, award-winning, classic features and documentaries prsenting diverse global perspectives.

The annual event (since 1990) draws personalities, scholars, diplomats and filmmakers.

This year's themes include a special focus on the Jews of Morocco, as part of ASF's year-long series, '2,000 Years of Jewish Life in Morocco: An Epic Journey."

The Pomegranate Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Sephardi actor/filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz at the Opening Night Gala. She has received three Ophir Awards, the 2010 France Culture Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Israeli Film Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.

It is the only annual festival of this kind, and attracts more than 30,000 attendees.

The ASF is committed to exhibiting a selection of thought-provoking, international quality feature films and documentaries that examine the past and explore contemporary Sephardic issues and identity.

"Through cinematic exploration, our aim is to further elevate the understanding of the very rich history and culture of Sephardic Jewry," says ASF President, David E.R. Dangoor.
See the full program list and ticket information here.

26 February 2011

Przemysl: Blog, new forum

Even if you can't pronounce it, Przemysl researchers have set up a forum to compare notes and supplement resources found on JewishGen, JRI-Poland and Gesher Galicia.

Find the blog here and the forum here and see the list of topics being discussed.

The blog's title is "The Jewish Przemysl Blog - Sons and daughters of Jewish Przemysl, researching and remembering 700 years of Jewish life in our town."

The grassroots effort wil enable researchers to access context and history, while sharing information and collaboration among those with shared roots.

Participants will be able to compare notes, research and family stories. The blog is written by David Semme.

According to a report, some 55 people are aready registered for the forum, which is providing lively discussions, research breakthroughts and more.

Organizers are asking members to make suggestions as to improving he forum structure and functionality.

Go to the blog above and the forum link, click on the registration link.

Check out the new forum if your ancestors came from the town or environs.

London: Making connections!

It was good that I spent Monday (my arrival day) running about and getting communications arranged.

In the evening, I organized some advance blogs, tweaked my WDYTYA Live presentation, had dinner in the hotel, including a huge bowl of delicious chicken and barley soup. Then serious jet-lag hit.

On Tuesday, I decided to stay in and get more advance blogging and research done, began contacting friends and cousins and arranging to see everyone.

The social calendar filled up quickly. Tuesday was dinner with some of our Bombay Dardashti cousins who came into town. Wednesday there was coffee with an old old friend - haven't seen each other for many decades. Thursday evening I spoke at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, Friday was Shabbat dinner with Persian friends, and I'm hoping to see the London Talalay cousins this evening.

We sett up the MyHeritage.com display stand on Thursday. The first day (Friday) of the Who Do You Think You Are LIVE show was crowded from the first minute it opened. When we arrived, there was a long line of people waiting to get in and it seemed everyone came to visit us.

On Friday, Lisa Louise Cooke dropped by to record short pieces for her blog with Daniel Horowitz and with me. Dick Eastman was around, and we said hello to Maureen Taylor.

Today - Saturday - we're expecting an even bigger crowd. Dick Eastman just dropped by:

My talk this afternoon - in the Society of Genealogists' workshop series - focuses on "Creating Online Ancestral Communities."

We've had one day of partial sun, cloudy the rest of the time, and raining today. For our friends back in New Mexico, I'm suffering from sunshine withdrawal.

24 February 2011

Television: NBC renews WDYTYA for third season!

Tracing the Tribe is happy to report that NBC has renewed Who Do You Think You Are? for a third season (2011-12), according to a press release.

The relevant sections of that notice:
Season two of "Who Do You Think You Are?" is off to a solid start, averaging a 1.4 rating, 5 share in adults 18-49 and 7.0 million viewers overall over its first two weeks, making it NBC's #1 Friday series so far this season in total viewers. Over those opening two weeks, "Who Do You Think You Are?" was #1 in the time period in all key female demos while scoring NBC's highest 18-49 and total-viewer results in the Friday 8-9 p.m. (ET) slot since October 8. Upcoming episodes will feature Kim Cattrall, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lionel Richie, Ashley Judd and Steve Buscemi. ...

NBC’s acclaimed alternative series "Who Do You Think You Are?" follows some of today's most-beloved and iconic celebrities as they embark on personal journeys of self-discovery to trace their family trees. During each episode, viewers will be taken on a personal and often mysterious journey following some of America's best-known celebrities into their ancestral pasts, as they uncover stories of heroism and tragedy, love and betrayal, secrets and intrigue that lie at the heart of their family history. At the same time, "Who Do You Think You Are?" celebrates the twists and turns of a great nation and the people who made their way here in search of freedom and opportunity. ...
Something good to look forward to!

23 February 2011

New York: 30 Jewish marriage contracts exhibit, opens March 11

The Jewish Museum will open the exhibit "The Art of Matrimony: 30 Splendid Marriage Contracts from the Jewish Theological Seminary Library," on Friday, March 11 to run through June 26.

The library of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City holds one of the best collections of ketubot - Jewish marriage certificates. Thirty of the finest will be featured in the exhibit, which dates from a 12th century piece to later examples.

Jewish family history researchers can discover much information on these documents (ketubah, plural ketubot), which exist for all communities around the world, and provide family details on the families, communities and customs

The JTS ketubah collection numbers more than 600 works of every type. The majority are from Italy, with others from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran/Persia, Morocco, Syria and Turkey. Other examples represent Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and the United States. They represent the diversity of Jewish communities throughout history, with information on the couples, marriage customs and artistic styles.

Before a wedding, families negotiate a marriage contract (ketubah), which includes the husband's duties to his wife and monies due her in case of a divorce or her death.
Some examples:
  • The earliest in the exhibit is a rare 12th century Egyptian fragment.
  • 1764 earliest known decorated ketubah from Baghdad, drawn on paper from Augsburg, Germany, and indicating Jewish commercial ties.
  • 1885 Damascus contract shows vivid colors and lush floral imagery echoing the blessing bestowed on a couple as they stand under the bridal canopy: “Grant perfect joy to these loving companions, just as You made your creations joyful in the Garden of Eden.”
  • 1749 Venetian ketubah features the 12 Zodiac signs and an intricate love knot borrowed from Italian folk culture. The wording says that the bride and groom “agree to conduct their mutual life with love and affection, without hiding or concealing anything from each other; furthermore, they will control their possessions equally.“
Although hand-decorated ketubot began to go out of fashion in the late-19th century, there was a revival in the 1960s along with a new interest in Jewish identity. Examples include:
  • A 1999 Archie Granot muti-layeredpapercut.
  • 1961 ketubah by artist Ben Shahn, showing his fascination with Hebrew calligraphy.
Two related JTS faculty lectures are scheduled:

  • Monday, March 14: Dr. David Kraemer, Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbincs at the JTS, will discuss the history of Jewish marriage contracts.
  • Monday, March 21: Exhibition curator Sharon Liberman Mintz will speak about the art of the decorated marriage contract.
The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today's collection numbers some 26,000 objects, including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects and broadcast media.

Museum hours: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: 11am-5:45pm; Thursday, 11am-8pm; and Friday, 11am-4pm. Admission: Adults, $12; seniors, $10; students, $7.50; no charge for Jewish Museum members and children under 12. Admission is free on Saturdays.

For information on The Jewish Museum, click here  For program and ticket information, click here.

The Museum is at 1109 Fifth Avenue (at 92nd Street), Manhattan.

22 February 2011

SCGS: Free webinars, register now!

The Southern California Genealogical Society has announced the Jamboree Extension Series - a new program which will provide family history and genealogy educational webinars for globally-based genealogists.

Tracing the Tribe was happy to see that our good friend Thomas MacEntee will kick off the series on March 5, after I've returned from London!

Each session can support 1,000 attendees. The series is offered as a service to the genealogical community as part of the group's mission "to foster interest in family history and genealogy, preserve genealogical materials, and provide instruction in accepted and effective research techniques."

The original webcasts will be available to all genealogists at no charge, with archived webinars only available to SCGS members, who may view them about three days following the live session. SCGS memberships may be purchased online. Click the SCGS website for more information.

Webinars are scheduled on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions will be held at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern; Wednesday sessions, 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern.

Here are the first few sessions. See the complete webinar schedule and check for updates as new topics are added.

Saturday, March 5 - Thomas MacEntee:
Social Networking - New Horizons for Genealogists
Did you know that the over-55 crowd is the fastest growing group of Facebook users? Did you know that Twitter is not the domain of the much younger "texting" crowd but is used by an older more savvy group of people? Did you ever wonder how and if these programs, along with others such as blogs and wikis, can be used to help genealogists? Wonder no more as we explore what makes up the oft-mystifying term "social networking" and how each program is currently being used by genealogists and family historians of all ages.
Six more are scheduled from April through August, including George P Morgan (Tell Me About When You Were a Child), Lisa Louise Cooke (Getting the Scoop on Your Ancestors From Old Newspapers), Janet Hovorka (Getting Your Notes and Sources Right in Your Genealogy Software), and another four interesting topics.

The Southern California Genealogical Society's creative members are always doing something interesting, and their annual Jamboree is a don't-miss event (this year, June 10-12). Tracing the Tribe is delighted to be speaking there again this year.

Do let your friends, family and genealogy societies around the world know about the SCGS's webinar series.

21 February 2011

FamilyTreeDNA.com: Another sale of sorts

Want to increase genetic genealogy databases? To enable the discovery of new haplogroup-defining elements? Have a few hundred dollars to spend for this sale?

From our good friends at FamilyTreeDNA.com to haplogroup project administrators:
Dear Haplogroup Project Administrator,

Family Tree DNA is excited to announce our Walk Through the Y sale! Based on recent improvements in our testing capabilities, and in order to spearhead further research in our field, we are pleased to offer our first discount on Walk Through the Y.

This test will be offered for a very limited time to approved applicants for $500 (normally $750). Please note, this special pricing will only be available to customers who elect to have their results made public.

Walk Through the Y is an advanced sequencing test focused on the discovery of new haplogroup-defining SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) on the Y chromosome. Walk Through the Y goes beyond the scope of deep clade testing, offering customers the opportunity to participate in testing at the forefront of Y chromosome DNA research.

This research can expedite the discovery of SNPs that help subdivide haplogroups, information that is fundamental to the continued success of our Y-DNA haplogroup projects.
Due to the advanced nature of this test, Walk Through the Y is by application only. Interested members can fill out application form here.

To read more about Walk Through the Y, including information about who to test, please read through our frequently asked questions.

It is a good opportunity to add to our knowedge and help past, present and future researchers by providing more information and expanding the practicality of the database.

London: Arrived!

This morning's London arrival provided a demonstration in the goodness of perfect strangers.

Readers know that two weeks ago Tracing the Tribe was at RootsTech. I generally keep my small roll-on stocked with essentials (camera battery and cellphone chargers, computer bag, vitamins, etc.). Everything usually works very well, except .....

Arrived at the Albuquerque airport Sunday morning, noticed my cellphone battery was low, opened the bag for the charger, and found one. However, it was the charger for my old Israeli cellphone and had likely been lurking in the case since our November move. My second thought was perhaps the correct charger was in the checked bag,

Just in case, I called my husband to see if it was somewhere in the house. He checked all the usual places it might have been used. Wasn't in the kitchen or the office. That gave me some hope for the checked suitcase, until he said, "Here it is, in the living room!"

A reasonably smooth flight from Houston landed at 6.50am - an ungodly hour. Note to travellers flying into Heathrow for the first time: Be prepared to walk MILES - this airport gets bigger every year - to get to border control and baggage claim. Electric carts never looked so good. Got through the formalities and found the car service driver, Raj.

I mentioned to him that I needed a charger. Mind you, this is at 7.30am. He found a neighborhood market that sells such things on the way into town, saying it would be much less expensive than in Kensington High Street near my hotel. He took the phone in and came back with the charger at a cost of only a few pounds. He also obtained a sim card and topped it without my having to even get out of the car. What a great guy!

Kept trying to imagine a New York City taxi or car service driver providing the same level of customer care. That image escaped me.

Later in the day, I ventured out on the high street, looking for a pay-as-you-go phone to use this week and when I return in May for the Society of Genealogists' Centenary Conference. I also checked the charger price in a shop near the hotel and it was much more expensive than at the little neighborhood store..

Found a nearby branch of one of the major UK mobile phone companies and found another great guy - Kupresh - who explained all the possible options, made some excellent practical suggestions, programmed the phone, made sure everything was working perfectly and, in general, went far out of his way with kindness and good humor to help this very jet lagged traveler. My little bag also contained a broadband USB to avoid a very expensive hotel connection.

Moral of this story: Before each trip, carefully check your roll-on for the correct chargers, cables, connectors and plugs. Today it was simple to make things right; it might have been much more expensive and/or difficult to do the same in another location.

I'm connected to the world tonight via phone and internet, thanks to two very helpful people who went far beyond the call of duty. By the way, both men knew about the "Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE" event this week.

A very good start to my London visit.

Tomorrow - in some spare time - I'll be visiting several Persian markets in the area to bring back some ingredients rare in New Mexico. Tracing the Tribe's readers familiar with Los Angeles' Westwood area with its numerous Persian shops would feel right at home on Kensington High Street with its restaurants, supermarkets and bakeries.

17 February 2011

Denver: Border changes & migration routes, February 27

Do you know how border changes impacted your ancestors? How did they find their way to the boats that would carry them to new worlds?

"Chasing Border Changes and The Choice of Migration Routes for 20th Century Eastern European Jews" with Dr. David Shneer PhD, will begin at 10am on Sunday, February 27, at the Jewish Community Center, Denver. There is no fee.

When American Ashkenazi Jews think of their migration stories, they almost always involve a small town in contemporary Poland or Ukraine, a boat across an ocean, and a story of triumph in the new world. What about those Jews who took trains to other places in Eastern Europe like Moscow, Kharkov, Lodz, or Budapest? In this lecture, we will learn more about Jewish migration patterns, changing European country borders and ask how the mass emigration of many of our relatives fits into a larger story about Jewish migration throughout Eastern Europe.
David Shneer is associate professor of history and director of Jewish Studies at University of Colorado at Boulder.

His newest book project - "Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, & the Holocaust" - looks at the lives and works of two dozen World War II military photographers to examine what kinds of photographs they took when they encountered evidence of Nazi genocide on the Eastern Front.

Shneer has lived and worked as a scholar and writer in Russia, Germany, and Israel and has written for the New York Times, Huffington Post, Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post as well as magazines dedicated to Jewish life and culture, including The Forward, Pakntreger, Jewcy, and Nextbook.

He has served as the Resnick Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Stern Senior Scholar at the South African Holocaust Foundation.

For more information, view the JGSCo website.

Nevada: Ancestry.com programs, February 19-20

Tracing the Tribe readers in the Las Vegas area will hear Crista Cowan of Ancestry.com speak on both sides of town, on Saturday-Sunday, February 19-20, sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Southern Nevada.

On Saturday at 10am, she will speak at the Paseo Verde Library, 208 S. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, focusing on  "Getting the Most Out of your Ancestry.com Subscription."

On Sunday at 1pm, she will speak at the Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas., where her topic will be "Tips and Tricks to Research Online Like a Professional."

The Sunday two-hour program will detail some of the website's 30,000+ databases.  Cowan will share her go-to sources as well as some lesser-known gems sure to help you grow your family tree. The interactive program will utilize personal and audience case studies.

A drawing will be held for a free Family Tree Maker 2011 software package. Each attendee who turns in a completed evaluation form will also be eligible for a drawing for a free one-year, World Deluxe, Ancestry.com subscription. 

Cowan has been involved in family history research for more than 20 years and actively engaged in client research since 2002.  Her specialties include descendancy research, Jewish immigration and sharing family history with the genealogically challenged. She has been an Ancestry.com employee since 2004.

For more information, send an email.

16 February 2011

IAJGS: 2011 Awards Committee seeks nominees

Each year, the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies recognizes individuals and organizations with four awards for excellence in Jewish genealogy.

All nominations must be submitted online via a One-Step form. If additional "hard-copy" material is required, instructions will be found on that form.

New submitters may need some help in using the online form. If you are in that group, contact the awards committee chair Mark Halpern.

  • IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or Electronic Product
  • Outstanding Programming or Project that Advanced the Objectives of Jewish Genealogy
  • Outstanding Publication by a Member Organization of IAJGS
For information on each award and previous winners, click here.

CAVEAT: Nominations can be made ONLY by IAJGS member organizations - NOT by individuals. However, individuals are encouraged to be part of the process by contacting their local society and suggesting worthy nominees. Click here for a list of all JGSs and SIGs.
Awardees for 2011 will be announced at the annual IAJGS conference banquet - this year in Washington DC on Thursday, August 18.

DEADLINE:  Nominees must be submitted by April 17.

  • Chair: Mark Halpern, West Chester, Pennsylvania - JGS of Greater Philadelphia
  • Jan Meisels Allen, Agoura Hills, California -  IAJGS Board Member
  • Michael Brenner, Las Vegas, Nevada -  IAJGS Board Member
  • Paul Cheifitz, Tel Aviv, Israel - Israel Genealogical Society
  • Laurence Harris, Middlesex, UK - JGS of Great Britain
If you have questions, contact Mark Halpern.

FamilyTreeDNA.com: 40% off for only 24 hours!

Have you been sitting on the DNA fence to utilize genetic genealogy because of the cost? Need more family members to test, but found that cost was a factor?

If so, don't wait any longer! Here's your chance to get those tests.

FamilyTreeDNA.com has announced a 24-hour only 40% off sale on their Facebook page in celebration of receiving 5,000 "likes" on the company's fan page.

The offer is for new kits only. See the company's Facebook page for more details.

Joining Facebook or "liking" the page is not necessary to receive the discount.

Discounted tests include:

  • Y-DNA37
  • mtDNAPlus
  • mtDNAFullSequence
  • Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus
  • Family Finder
  • Family Finder+mtDNAPlus
  • FamilyFinder+Y-DNA37
  • Comprehensive Genome
  • Warrior Gene
The coupon code is 5000FACES. This is only valid for new kits and can't be used on existing kits. Enter the code while ordering at www.familytreedna.com. It expires 24 HOURS from now!
[NOTE: Depending on where you live in the US, the discount will end Thursday morning - February 17 - at 7.40am (West Coast) to 10.40am (East Coast).]

Tick tock...tick tock...tick tock!!!

12 February 2011

RootsTech: Day 2

RootsTech' day two - Friday - was perhaps even busier than opening day.

One innovation at this event was the Microsoft Playground, a large space filled with billiards and ping pong tables, Wii screens and aso offering back massages. It was very popular!

My DNA presentation - It's In Our Genes: Revealing History via Technology ( A DNA Project Case Study - was delivered to a nearly full large room. One geneablogger - Joan Miller of LuxeGen - was tweeting my talk. It is always a great pleasure to talk about our IberianAshkenaz DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA.com and explain the history behind it and how it can be used as a model for others to set up their own DNA projects. People who attended it were meeting me the rest of the day and commenting how much they enjoyed it.

Many conference attendees who are regulars at other annual events commented on the absence of FamilyTreeDNA.com at RootsTech, and wondered why they hadn't attended.

I also participated in a blogging panel, moderated by our own Thomas MacEntee, along with  A.C. Ivory (one of our youngest geneabloggers at only 23 years of age), Lisa Alzo and Pat Richley AKA Dear Myrtle. There was much discussion and many comments by the panel with questions by attendees and the hour flew by before we knew it.

Sessions at RootsTech are only 60 minutes (45 minutes presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A), and that time really goes fast!

Some of today's presentations included several by Steve Morse as well as:
  • "Playground Rules for the Genealogy Internet Collaborative Space," with Janet Hovorka
  • "Powerpoint 2010 for Presenters" (several labs), with Barbara Renick and Gena Philibert Ortega
  • "Digital Images for Genealogists and Technologists," with Geoff Rasmussen
  • "Names in Stone: Unique Approach to Cemetery Research," with DAvid Day and Bruce Cheney
  • "Enhanced Smart Matches and Social Networking Technologies Applied to Facilitate Collaboration between Familes and Researchers," with Daniel Horowitz
  • "Use Your Android Phone for Genealogy and Family History," with David Lifferth
  • "Security and Disaster Recovery," with Kaeb J. Albee
  • "Finding Your Family's Stories Online," with Tami Glatz
  • "Genealogy Blogs: Impact and Influence in the Genealogy Commmunity," with Thomas MacEntee
  • "Collaborating with Genealogists to Redesign a Digital Library," with Kathleen Murray
  • "Easy Digital Newsletters," with Dear Myrtle
  • "Google News and Timeline," with Dan Lynch
That's only a few of today's nearly 50 sessions.

This evening, many of us went to the Family History Library for a late night schedule, including the newest Who Do You Think You Are? segment, with Tim McGraw. 

Tracing the Tribe is not really into country music, so I'm the first to admit I barely recognized his name and didn't know much about him. I was rather impressed in that he came across as a really nice guy who was interested in his connections.

Of course, the show makes it seem so simple. Each time, one of the researchers told Tim, "I have this document for you," the audience of genealogists laughed. We all knew the number of hours it took to be able to say that one short sentence!

One researcher had connected him back eight generations, his ancestors were mentioned in George Washington's journal - GW was then only 16 and on a surveying team in the Shenandoah Valley where he met Tim's Hite family.

Although some geneabloggers have reported that Tim seemed disinterested or disengaged, our group didn't feel that way. Indeed, we felt that Tim came across as a modest person who felt very connected to his ancestors and their place in history.

We were a tired bunch when we got back to our hotel!

The general comments among attendees and geneabloggers were that we were all looking forward to RootsTech 2012, which is set for February 2-4. You might want to mark it on your calendar now!

RootsTech: Day 1

Tracing the Tribe was so busy yesterday that we couldn't manage to post this information!

The day started very early for the geneabloggers with a 7am breakfast hosted by FamilySearch.org.

After a demo on FamilySearch, the group received a first-look at the exhibitor floor.

The media hub has been active all day, with bloggers working from the stations, and interviews being conducted in glass-walled booths.

The demo hub has events scheduled all day and Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage.com announced the company's IPhone mobile app.

Tracing the Tribe sat next to One-Step guru Steve Morse during the opening keynote address by HP president Shane Robison.

Some of today's 51 sessions:

  • "Interactive Genealogists," with Lisa Alzo
  • "The 50 Most Popular Genealogy Web Sites (Really!)," with Kory Meyerink.
  • Virtual Family RReunions: Using Online Tools to Find More Cousins Than You Know What to Do With," "with Crista Cowan.
  • "Will Your Work Survive the Digital Age?" with Janet Hovorka
  • "Exploring Cemetery Solutions," with Gordon Clarke (a panel discussion)
  • "Software Forecast: What Geneaogists Need for the Future," with D. Josh Taylor
  • "Toy Story: Electronic Tools for Genealogists," with Sandra Crowey
  • "Tweet Your Ancestors: Social Media for Genealogists," with Patricia Van Skaik
  • "Cool Tools to Enhance Your Online Research," with Tami Glatz
  • "Social Networking for Genealogists," with Drew Smith
  • "Digitally Preserving Your Family Heritage," with Barry Ewell.
  • "Self-Pubishing for Genealogists and Genealogical Societies," with Thomas MacEntee
  • "How Should We Handle Sources?" with Rick Laxman (an open discussion among genealogists, bloggers, vendors and website providers)
Tonight - Thursday - we are attending a special Night at the Planetarium exclusively for conference-goers. The program includes a casual dinner, star shows, 3D IMAX movies and interactive exhibits, with prizes to be awarded all evening.

It has been a busy, if tiring, very full day!

10 February 2011

RootsTech: Blogger events on Tuesday

Today, Tracing the Tribe noted Dick Eastman, Dear Myrt, Thomas MacEntee, Drew Smith, Lisa Cooke, Renee Zamora and many more of our intrepid group.

At 3pm, the geneabloggers met across from the Library to board a bus to the huge FamilySearch microfilm distribution center here (exterior view below). [Credit: Property of Intellectual Reserve.]

Have you ever used microfilms at the FHL or your local Family History Center? Ever wondered how they got there? Geneabloggers were given a rare look into the system that processes and sends out those films after orders are received from family history centers.

The computerized system tells a crane to pick films in tubs from shelves (below left). An operator pulls the correct film from the tub via a bar code scanner, checks it against the order, and then places it in a box for shipment.

The Distribution and Print Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - its formal name - covers 1,097,419 square feet, about 19 football fields.

Some facts:

• There are more than 4,600 family history centers in 126 countries
• 725,000 microfilms (copies, not originals) are stored in the center, which can hold some 900,000 films.
• The Center processes some 255,000 microfilms annually.
• The average microfilm is 100 feet long
• If every film processed in a year were to be unwound and placed end-to-end, it would cover 4,800 miles.

Following the tour - with main tour guides David Rencher and Paul Nauta - we were taken to a five-star dinner at The Roof at the top of the century-old Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which used to be the Hotel Utah. Lovingly restored and very elegant, the facility is something to see.

If you are visiting SLC, do visit The Roof. The view from the building is wonderful, particularly at sunset!

Tomorrow morning a specia breakfast presentation begins at 7am for media and bloggers. Stay tuned for more as RootsTech opens. Expected attendance is some 2,700 individuals - quite impressive for a first edition of a new annual conference.

09 February 2011

Books: National Book Critics finalists offer Jewish themes

The National Book Critics Circle - with some 600 book reviewers - was created in 1974 and offers an annual award to be announced on March 10. This year's finalists demonstrate numerous Jewish themes.

The NBCC list of five fiction finalists include:

-- David Grossman - "To the End of the Land"
-- Hans Keilson - "Comedy in a Minor Key"
-- Jonathan Franzen - "Freedom"

Among the five biography finalists are:

-- Tom Segev - "The Lives and Legends" (biography of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal)
-- Kai Bird - "Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978"
-- Christopher Hitchens - "Hitch-22" (who discovers as an adult that his mother was Jewish).

Click here for more information on the NBCC and here's the link for a complete list of the finalists.

08 February 2011

Archives.com: First two grants announced

Just as Tracing the Tribe was walking out the door to the Family History Library, we received this announcement from Archives.com, naming their first two grant winners.

Are you or a group working on a special project? Would a $1,000 grant enable you or your group to complete the work? Read the announcement and apply online.

Here's the press release:

Archives Announces Two Grant Winners for January 2011 Grant Will Help Recipients to Digitize Historical Records and Explore Black Heritage

(PRWEB) February 8, 2011 -- Archives.com launched its Grant Program in early January and has received a terrific response. In the last 30 days Archives received over 100 applications, and has been extremely impressed with the caliber of project proposals. Archives is pleased to announce not just one, but two Archives.com Grant recipients for January 2011.

These are the first recipients of the Archives.com Grant, an award that will be given monthly. Archives is honored to help the two recipients achieve their goals. Both projects will contribute in unique ways to the preservation of family and community history, which is of central importance to Archives’ mission.

Winners of the January 2011 Archives.com Grant:

Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society (CCHGS) - CCHGS is an organization dedicated to the preservation of Columbia County, Pennsylvania history. CCHGS would like to transcribe marriage license dockets 1921 to 1939, an estimated nine thousand bride and groom names. Once entered into an electronic database, the records will be made available on the CCHGS website and published in book form. This project will enable researchers worldwide to easily find information about their Pennsylvania ancestors.

CCHGS Vice President Andre Dominguez notes, “This index will be particularly valuable in the case of the bride's index, since the bride's birth name is provided, which could potentially solve a brick wall.”

Archives is honored to assist a project which helps to bring more valuable historical records online. Archives recently integrated a marriage collection from Alachua County, Florida, adding over 45 thousand records and images to its website from a similar time period. We applaud CCHGS’s effort, and are pleased to help them bring these records to the online community.

Myron McGhee - Myron is an amateur historian who would like to explore questions regarding his African-American heritage, and expand on his father’s considerable family history research. Specifically, Myron wants to investigate the hypothesis that his black ancestors were related to a nearby white family of the same name. Myron comments, “In ways yet unknown, I hope that exploration of the relationship between these extended families alters the manner in which typically polarized communities might engage one another.”

Myron seeks to travel to Alabama and interview residents, review deed transcriptions, and scan photographs which will help him to solve this mystery. Ultimately, he will compile and share both his and his father’s findings to honor his family’s proud tradition. Archives.com is delighted to make this second grant award to a project which will make a positive contribution to the research of African-American families in Alabama during this fitting time of Black History Month.

Each recipient will be awarded a $1,000 grant to pursue their projects. Archives believes the work accomplished will be of significance to their families and communities now and in the future.

Thanks to each and every grant applicant for taking the time to share their stories. Applicants from previous months will still be considered for future grant awards. If you have wanted to pursue a family history project but just need a little extra help, we encourage you to visit Archives.com and fill out a grant application.

Congratulations to both of the Archives.com Grant recipients! To read more about the recipients, visit the Archives.com blog where their stories will be posted soon.

About Archives.com

Archives.com is a leading family history Web site that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 1.1 billion historical records – birth, death, marriage, divorce, census, obituary, immigration, military and more – all in a single location, and makes them available at a price that’s up to 80 percent less than the leading competitor. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide integrated record collections, discounted memberships, official certificates and other special promotions – providing a comprehensive resource for researching your family history. Archives.com is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. For more information and to start discovering your family history, please visit www.Archives.com.
For more information or to apply, visit the website. Congratulations to the first two winners.

Tracing the Tribe hopes to see some Jewish genealogy projects on the winners' list in the future.

Knowles Collection: 55,000 records just added

Many of Tracing the Tribe's readers know about Todd Knowles' collection of Jewish records. Yesterday, 55,000 records were added, bringing the total to 195,000 people.

In September 2010, the Knowles Collection contained 140,000 records. And, when it was first introduced, the information included fewer than 7,000 people nearly all from the British Isles. Today more than 60 countries are represented and some 10,000 records are added monthly.

It links together - into family groups - thousands of individual Jews. Until now, these records were available only at the Family History Library, or from private archives or individuals.

The five separate databases in the collection are:

-- Jews of the British Isles: 104,100 people
-- Jews of the Americas: 53,000 people
-- Jews of Europe: 33,200 people
-- Jews of the Caribbean: 4,500 people
-- Jews of Africa and the Orient: 800 people

Records contain (where available): Surnames and given names, links to ancestors, dates, places, source citations and notes.

The collection is free and accessible to all. Those interested can download the data as a Gedcom or do an individual search. Find the links here at the The Knowles Collection wiki page at the Family Search Wiki.

Tracing the Tribe is now going to the Family History Library to meet with Todd.

A blog: Jewish Maritime Historical Society

Tracing the Tribe discovered the blog of the Jewish Maritime Historical Society, billed as being
"dedicated to Jewish captains, pirates, sailors and all seafaring people."

Unfortunately, it now seems defunct with the most recent post in November 2009. Its posts covered personalities, historical events, maritime instruments like astrolabes, archaeological evidence and more. The articles come from major and minor websites and publications.

Posts that Tracing the Tribe found interesting: Jews and Navigation, First Hero of the Portuguese Discoveries and Jewish Traders of the Diaspora. In these days, when immigration issues are part of the conversation, read  Aaron Lopez's Struggle for Citizenship.  For parts farther afield, there's an article on the Jews of Cochin.

If this area of Jewish history interests you, or if you had ancestors who sailed the seven seas, take a look.

Salt Lake City: Rain and shine!

Tracing the Tribe arrived in Salt Lake City yesterday. In a matter of hours, the sky turned black and we were treated to driving rain that turned to snow, all accompanied by whistling winds. 

This morning, however, dawned bright and sunny (see photo above).

After brunch at the Radisson, I'm now heading over to the Family History Library about two blocks away.

Tonight, at 7 pm, I'll be listening in on Daniel Horowitz's talk to the Utah Jewish Genealogy Society, which will be meeting at the FHL.

Tomorrow afternoon, there's a tour to the FamilySearch microfilming facility, followed by a dinner for the media and bloggers.

Stay tuned for more.

Gen Business: NIGS acquires GenealogyWise.com

In an interesting turn of events, the National Institute for Genealogical Studies has just acquired the GenealogyWise.com website.

Some time ago, many of GenClass.com's instructors went on to teach at NIGS. GenClass.com was founded by Micha Reisel and myself following MyFamily.com's cancellation of its family history classes, known as the "best kept secret on the web." Tracing the Tribe also created the Jewish Genealogy group on GenealogyWise.

Genealogy community director for GenealogyWise - Gena Philibert Ortega - has officially joined NIGS.

According to the press release received by Tracing the Tribe, Gena says, "I would say that GenealogyWise is a great fit with the National Institute's goals. GenealogyWise is a place to connect with new found cousins, share resources, and learn more about genealogy. As part of the National Institute, GenealogyWise members will benefit from the opportunities that the National Institute provides."

For more information on courses, click here, and go to "Courses" and then "Alphabetical Listing," to see more han 60 courses (to be offered in March) and their descriptions.

To learn more about NIGS, click the same link, go to "Institute," then "Faculty" and click on an instructor's name.

NIGS now offers more than 150 courses in genealogical studies, including the records of Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, and the United States. Certificate programs and a librarianship certificate are also offered.
GenealogyWise is the social network for genealogists. This is the place to network with other researchers, and make discoveries about your family history.

You can join or create surname, locality, or topic groups. The Group feature allows you to collaborate, share, and ask questions of other members.

You can also join the Chat Room for a quick question about research, a chat with fellow genealogists, or attend one of our educational presentations. As well, you can post a blog entry or a forum question from the GenealogyWise homepage. This is a great way to share your knowledge on a genealogy topic or to ask a question.

To date, there are over 23,000 members online.

A new feature will be added - the Live Meeting. GenealogyWise members will be able to access Live Meetings onsite, and this will open up more education opportunities to members that the Institute has to offer.

For the month of March, the Institute is offering a number of US courses as well as courses on Methodology, Electronic Records, and in Analysis and Skill Mentioning.

06 February 2011

Geneabloggers: 35 new genealogy, family history blogs!

Geneabloggers.com's Thomas MacEntee has discovered 35 new genealogy and family history blogs, bringing the total to 1,695.

Topics this week include: US Civil War, African-American, individual family history, Polish, Italian, German, Scottish, UK, North Carolina, education, technology, Massachusetts, genealogy industry, genealogy podcasts, Australia, South Africa, Iowa, surname, Midwest, Wisconsin, Japanese, professional genealogist, Virginia, cemetery and Indiana.

In addition to spotlighting the new Geneabloggers Radio, this batch includes several focusing on a topic dear to Tracing the Tribe's heart - genealogy education - so do check those out.

For more on each blog, click on Thomas' post.

About Our Freedom
African-American genealogy, US Civil War blogs

...To help people break free from the limitations which stem from lack of knowledge, misconceptions, and distractions in order to experience freedom to the fullest extent and to leave a legacy for future posterity. ...
Abruzzo Journal
Individual family history, Italian genealogy, Polish genealogy

... Abruzzo region of southern Italy, including Serramonocesca, San Salvo and Popoli. ... Podlachia region of Polond, including Bialystok, Knyszyn, Penskie, Dlugoleka, and the Podkarpackie region, including Brzyska Wola.
Bayern Roots
German genealogy, Individual family history

Individual family history (BEAUDOIN-LAROCHE)

Borders Family History Society
Genealogy society blogs, Scottish genealogy, UK genealogy

... Border counties (Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire) of Scotland; adjacent counties of England and Scotland.
Civil War Emancipation Blog
African-American genealogy, US Civil War blogs

... a blog on emancipation...At its heart, slavery caused the Civil War and emancipation was its most important result. ...
Conner Trails of North Carolina
Individual family history (CONNER), North Carolina genealogy

Cudmore Family History
Individual family history (CUDMORE)

Deal With Your Past
Individual family history

Family Cherished
Individual family history

Family Folklore Blog
Individual family history

Family History and IT Tips
Genealogy education blogs, Technology blogs

Ge-ne-al-o-gy 101
Genealogy education

This blog site is intended for those who have started thinking about or have just started doing genealogy. The word genealogy comes from the Greek genea which means “race”, “family”. It is added to the Greek logia which means “akin”. Thus the akin family! It is an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor.
Genealogy for Kids
Genealogy education

...a professional genealogist, genealogy educator and author living in the Chicagoland area. ... I made the move from hobbyist to professional genealogist in 2010 and am expanding my genealogy business to include the education of children. ...Children stay engaged in genealogy and family history as long as the activities are fun and keep their attention. I believe they must be challenging, hands on, and include some history. I also believe we must incorporate history into our family stories and view our families within their historical context, not ours.
Genealogy Ink
Genealogy education, Massachusetts genealogy, New England genealogy

... longtime member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the National Genealogy Society, the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, and the USGenWeb. She’s also a freelance writer, editor, and researcher.
GeneaBloggers Radio
Genealogy industry blog, Genealogy podcasts

GeneaBloggers takes to the airwaves with its new radio show! GeneaBloggers is a community of genealogists and family historians who augment their passion for genealogy by blogging. We currently have over 1,600 genealogy blogs listed in our blogroll from around the world and have a vibrant and vocal group of people seeking to define what it is to be a genealogist in the 21st century.
Gerke Family Tree
Individual family history (GERKE)

Grow Your Family History
Australian genealogy, Individual family history

Hedding Family Tree – Africa/Australia
Australian genealogy, Individual family history (HEDDING), South African genealogy

Hollins Family History
Individual family history (HOLLINS, HOLLAND)

Hyde Cheshire
UK genealogy

Iowa Wisconsin Brassfield Genealogy
Individual family history (BRASSFIELD), Iowa genealogy, Surname blog, Midwest genealogy, Wisconsin genealogy

Japanese Genealogy Blog
Japanese genealogy

Kendall Family History Services
Professional genealogist, UK genealogy

Lesher Genealogy
Individual family history (LESHER)

Musings of a Genealogy Nut
Individual family history

Our Family Line
Individual family history (MATHIS)

Peg’s and MJ’s Genealogy Exchange
Genealogy education blog

Prince William County Genealogy
Virginia genealogy

Searchin’ for Kinfolk
Individual family history (GILL, HENDRICKSON)

Seeber-Wright Family Tree
Individual family tree (SEEBER, WRIGHT)

Shively Family Genealogy
Individual family history (SHIVELY)

Stone Gardens
Cemetery blog (mostly Texas)

Tangled Roots and Other Histories
Individual family history

Totally Related
Individual family history

White River Township
Indiana genealogy

To see the logos for each blog and read more about the authors and their goals, click on the Geneabloggers.com post link above.

Thank you, Thomas, for this interesting weekly roundup.

Denver: 'Getting past Grandpa,' February 13

Finding records outside the US will be discussed at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado on Sunday, February 13.

"Getting Past Grandpa: Finding Records Outside the US" - with speaker Sandra Greenberg - begins at 10am, at Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape Street, Denver.

This session is part of the seven-session "Jewish Family Tree Initiative: Workshop and Mentoring Series" of the JGSCo. The series is free to members, and $30 for others.

Learn how to identify resources online and offline for documenting family history outside of the US. Some foreign archival holdings are not only online in English, but many provide indexes to find out what records exist for ancestral towns. Tips, tricks and techniques for successfully retrieving records will be discussed.

The mentoring series was develooped to help beginners get started in Jewish family history research. Each session includes an instructional lecture and a hands-on workshop to assist with the creation of family trees and historical research utilizing genealogical resources and techniques. Mentoring assistance outside of class will be available.

The series is open to all, with a $30 one-time fee for non-members for a book and materials. The fee also includes a one-year membership in the JGSCo. Attendance is not required at all seven sessions to participate; jump in any time to get started!

For more information, check out the JGSCo website.

05 February 2011

Yizkor Book Project: January 2011 update

The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project reports that six new projects, 17 new entries and 19 updated projects were added during January 2011.

Additionally, two books (Ruzhany, Belarus; Daugavplis/Dvinsk, Latvia) have been completely translated and are on the site.

New projects have been added to the growing list of those requiring translation fund contributions; they are. Kurow, Poland; Lowicz, Poland; and Volodymyr Volynskyy (Ludmir), Ukraine. To donate funds, click here.

Brian Reiser, coordinator of the Kolki, Ukraine Yizkor Book, has prepared helpful notes on using a Facebook "Cause" to raise money for the Yizkor Book Translation Funds.

The project needs translators, necrology transliterators and HTMLers to help with a large volume of material to be placed online.

Six new projects:
- Bivolari, Romania (Our town Bivolari)
- Daugavpils, Latvia (In Memory of the Community of Dvinsk)
- Derecske, Hungary (Memorial book to the Jews of Derecske and its environs)
- Tarnogrod, Poland (Book of Tarnogrod; in memory of the destroyed Jewish community)
- Tuchin, Ukraine (Tuczin-Kripa, Wolyn; in Memory of the Jewish Community)
- Zborov, Ukraine (Memorial book of the community of Zborow)

17 new entries:
- Blaszki, Poland (Pinkas Poland)
- Gadunavas, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Garliava, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Gastynai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Geguzine, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Geleziai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Gelgaudiskis, Lithuania(Pinkas Lita)
- Giedraiciai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Gintaliske, Lithuania(Pinkas Lita)
- Girkalnis, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Givyai Skrudziai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Gudeliai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Gudiniskiai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Gudziunai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
- Jezow, Poland (Pinkas Poland)
- Ujazd, Poland (Pinkas Poland)
- Ukmerge, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)

19 updates to existing projects:
- Bedzin, Poland (A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Bendin)
- Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland (Book of the Jewish community of Dabrowa Gornicza and its destruction)
- Dieveniskes, Lithuania (Devenishki book; memorial book)
- Fehergyarmat, Hungary (Our Former City Fehergyarmat)
- Gorodets, Belarus (Horodetz; history of a town, 1142-1942)
- Kovel', Ukraine(Kowel; Testimony and Memorial Book of Our Destroyed Community)
- Lowicz, Poland (Lowicz; a town in Mazovia, memorial book)
- Merkine, Lithuania (Meretch; a Jewish Town in Lithuania)
- Ostrow-Mazowiecka, Poland (Memorial Book of the Community of Ostrow-Mazowiecka)
- Rafalovka, Ukraine (Memorial book for the towns of Old Rafalowka, New Rafalowka, Olizarka, Zoludzk and vicinity)
- Ruzhany, Belarus (Rozana; a memorial book to the Jewish community)
- Sanok, Poland (Memorial Book of Sanok and Vicinity)
- Serock, Poland (The book of Serock)
- Siedlce, Poland (On the ruins of my home; the destruction of Siedlce)
- Skuodas, Lithuania (Memorial Book of Skuodas)
- Slutsk, Belarus(Slutsk and vicinity memorial book)
- Turka, Ukraine (Memorial Book of the Community of Turka on the Stryj and Vicinity)
- Volodymyr Volynskyy, Ukraine (Wladimir Wolynsk; in memory of the Jewish community)
- Zelechow, Poland (Memorial Book of the Community of Zelechow)

The Yizkor Book Master Name Index (YBMNI) has also been updated with some 13,000 records added since July 2010; currently, it has some 18,000 records covering Poland, Ukraine, Greece and Lithuania.

Questions on the project, on specific books, on contributing or volunteering? Contact project manager Lance Ackerfeld.

For more, check the Project's translations page.

04 February 2011

A 'Jewish' Ming Vase: Rare discovery

Just like "Antiques Roadshow."

A retired Cadbury's factory worker walked into an auction house with a perfect 600-year-old Ming vase sitting in a cardboard box.

The auction house called it a "spectacular find."

"When my colleague initially showed me what had arrived in a cardboard box I could not believe my eyes," Guy Schwinge of Duke's told the Guardian. "The vase is in perfect condition, and it is amazing to think that it has survived unscathed for almost six hundred years."
BBC said that the 11.5" tall vase is the largest found of a rare group of early Ming "moonflasks" produced between 1403-1424.

Athough the story says it is influenced by Islamic design, the presence of a Magen David - Jewish star - is interesting. And reminds us that the Jewish community of Kaifeng was active at that time in history. A connection? Tracing the Tribe doesn't know, but it is a romantic thought.

To be auctioned in May, it should bring at least $1.6 milion dollars.

It would like very nice on a Shabbat dinner table!

RootsTech: Some sessions to be online for free

As Tracing the Tribe gets ready for our trip to the new RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, we learned that six popular sessions will be broadcast live and free on the Internet.

Global viewers can see them at RootsTech.org.

More than 2,000 attendees have registered for the new family history and technology conference which runs February 10-12.

Tracing the Tribe arrives Monday and hopes to get some research time in at the Family History Library, take an FHL tour on Tuesday, and that evening attend Daniel Horowitz's talk for the Utah Jewish Genealogical Society on researching Israel genealogical resources.

Special events for media/bloggers include a Wednesday trip to the FamilySearch microfilming facility, a dinner, a special breakfast program on Thursday and other events.

In addition to assisting Daniel Horowitz at the MyHeritage.com display, my own conference sessions include participation on the Thursday bloggers' panel - moderated by our good friend Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.com - and on genetic genealogy (with a Jewish twist) on Friday.

The six sessions to be broadcast include some keynote speakers and a sampling of programs (times are MST - Mountain Time):
Thursday, February 10

· 8:30-9am, A World of Information, Shane Robison, chief technology officer, Hewlett Packard

· 9-9:30am, Turning Roots, Branches, Trees into Nodes, Links, Graphs, Jay L. Verkler, chief executive officer, FamilySearch International

· 3-4pm, Digitally Preserving Your Family Heritage, Barry Ewell, founder of MyGenShare.com

Friday, February 11

· 8:30-9:30am, The Changing Face of Genealogy, by Curt Witcher, manager of the Historical Genealogy Department, Allen County Public Library

· 9:45-10:45am., Cloud Computing: What is it and how it has been used to create the next familysearch.org, by Brian Pugh, senior engineer, FamilySearch International

Saturday, February 12

· 8:30-9:30am Personal Archiving and Primary Documents, Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archives

· 1:45-2:45pm, Virtual Presentations Round Table and Collaborative Panel Discussion, Thomas MacEntee, professional genealogist and technology specialist

· 3-4pm, The Power of PDF: Tools for Every Genealogist , D. Josh Taylor, Director of Education and Programs at New England Historical Genealogical Society.

Broadcasting some sessions is an excellent idea, and it is fitting that this new genealogy and technology conference should make this possible.

Tracing the Tribe wishes more gen conferences would do the same, to give more people a "taste" of what they would be experiencing if they had personally attended.

Seattle: Jewish records on the new NARA website, February 14

Locating Jewish records on the new National Archives website - with speaker Carol Buswell - will be discussed at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State on Monday, February 14.

The meeting starts at 7pm at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island. The JGSWS library and WiFi will be available. Admission: JGSWS members, free; others, $5.

The National Archives recently completed a major redesign of their website. As a result, little-known documents and materials are more easily accessible. Billions of NARA documents are continuously being added both free and for-fee sites, such as Ancestry, Heritage Quest, Footnote and FamilySearch.

Carol Buswell will introduce these and other new resources, along with techniques for using them to discover Jewish family, community and political records from the Civil War through the 20th century. She’ll show how easy it is to do research on those sites.

The National Archives in Seattle holds government documents for Washington, Oregon and Idaho, a large microfilm collection for all states, and free computer access to for-fee websites featuring National Archives records.

The NARA education specialist in Seattle, Carol has also worked as a teacher, author, public speaker, professional genealogist and owner of an American Indian antique shop and bookstore. She has published articles and books about American Indian migration, genealogy and historical issues. She holds a BA in Elementary Education and Fine Art (Western State College of Colorado) and an MA in American Indian Studies (UCLA).

For more information about the JGSWS, click here.

Southern California: Leaving the Pale of Settlement, February 13

Some 80% of our ancestors lived in Poland and the western Russia Pale of Settlement in 1880.

Why they left such a "nice place" is the topic of the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV), on Sunday, February 13.

The program runs from 1.30-3.30pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. There is no charge to attend.

Speaker Hal Bookbinder will present "Why Did Our Ancestors Leave a Nice Place Like the Pale?"

Most Jewish genealogists are aware of the pogroms and mass exodus of our ancestors over the next generation. Hal's talk will provide background on the 120 years of the Pale from its formation at the turn of the 19th century to its dissolution during WWI.

Understanding this period in history provides context to the lives of our ancestors in the Pale, and their decision to leave everything behind for new lives elsewhere. The Pale of Settlement, in the Russian Empire, included much of  present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine and parts of western Russia.

The Pale afforded permanent residency to Jews, and beyond its borders, Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited.

Hal Bookbinder has been researching eight family lines for more than 27 years, identifying 4,000 relatives and tracing two lines into the mid-1700s. A JGSCV founding member and former JGSLA and IAJGS president, he created and continues to edit the annual Jewish Genealogical Yearbook.

In 2010, he received the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to Jewish Genealogy, and was recently elected to the JewishGen Board of Governors. He has spoken at numerous conferences, synagogues and society meetings on topics from computing to geography to brick walls.

For more information, contact the JGSCV or view its website.

03 February 2011

New York: Moroccan henne ceremony, February 6

Looking for an ethnic alternative to Super Bowl Sunday?

The American Sephardi Foundation will present a re-enactment of the traditional Moroccan pre-wedding ceremony called berberisca or henne, on Sunday, February 6.
The program begins at 4pm at the Center for Jewish History, in New York.

It is part of a year-long series - "2,000 Years of Jewish Life in Morocco: An Epic Journey" - presented under the patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, and made possible through the generous support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation.
Tableau Vivant: The Berberisca Ceremony (A Living Picture)
Among the traditional ceremonies of the Moroccan Jews, the richest, most original and picturesque is the "Noche de Berberisca" or "Noche de Paños" (according to the Northern Moroccan Jews, who used to live in the former Spanish zone of Morocco), or the "Henne" or "Soiree du Henne," as it is called in the Southern Moroccan communities.
The ceremony takes place during the week that precedes the wedding, in an atmosphere full of joy and emotion. It is enhanced with Sephardic songs, or Judeo-Arabic music, fashion, delicious dishes and pastries made with almonds and honey. The evening reaches its climax when the bride makes her entrance magnificently made up and dressed in the Berberisca "Traje de Paños", or "Vestido de Berberisca" (Spanish), or "Keswa Elkibra" (Great Dress or Grand Dress in Arabic). Moroccan Tea and pastries will be served.
Tickets: $18 General Admission/$12 ASF members. Advance registration requested.

Ohio: Learn about Family Tree Maker, February 6

Cleveland-area residents will learn about Family Tree Maker software at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland, on Sunday, February 6.

"Family Tree Maker - What it can and can't do for you" begins at 1.30pm, at the Park Synagogue East, 27500 Shaker Boulevard, Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Speaker John Stoika of the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society is also the past president and member of the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group (CAGG)

For more information on this program and the March 28 program for beginners, click the JGS of Cleveland website.

UK: Jewish exhibits and museums in London, 1887-1932, February 17

The British Association of Jewish Studies (BAJS), in conjunction with the Jewish Historical Society of England, will offer a lecture on London's Jewish exhibits and museums (1887-1932) on Thursday, February 17.

The program - "Jewish exhibitions and museums in London: From the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition of 1887 to the Foundation of the Jewish Museum in 1932" - begins at 7pm, in the Court Room (Senate House) of the Jewish Historical Society of England, University of London. Refreshments follow.

To register or for additional information, contact the  Jewish Historical Society of England.

San Francisco: "'What's new at FamilySearch.or," February 13

Learn what's new at FamilySearch.org at the next meeting of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, on Sunday, February 13.

Doors open at 12.30pm, the program starts at 1pm. The venue is the Oakland Regional Family History Center, 4766 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland.
Margery H. Bell will detail some major changes at FamilySearch.org which will take place over the next few months. Some are now available, others are coming soon.

Get the inside scoop on what has happened, what is going to happen, what the future holds, and how it will help with your research. Learn some techniques to more effectively use the Bay Area Family History Centers online catalog. Following the program, attendees may use the library until 4pm.

A genealogist for some 35 years, Bell has worked in the Oakland Regional Family History Center for about 27 years and is now an assistant director. She teaches throughout the Bay Area and authored "Line upon Line: A Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy," published with Ancestral Quest software.

For more information and directions, click the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society website.

01 February 2011

Litvak SIG: Recent translated records update

If your ancestors lived in Lithuania, take a look at recently-translated records available on Litvak SIG. The updates represent thousands of records and lines added to available records.

The records were translated during October, November and December 2010, and will be added to the All Lithuania Database (ALD) 18 months after being received. Currently, they are available in various LitvakSIG District Research Group (DRG) websites. Click here for more information and click District Research.

District coordinators are Aaron Roetenberg (Kaunas Gubernia), Dorothy Leivers (Suwalki Gubernia) and Joel Ratner (Vilnius District)

From the LVIA:
Kaunas city - Births 1896-1906
Svencionys District 1874/1875, 1899/1908 ARL (Svencionys, Svir, Linkmenys, Lentupis, Adutiskis, Daugeliskis, Zhodishki, Kobylniki, Komaie)
Vilijampole (Kaunas) births  -1893-1895
Kaunas deaths - 1902-1906
Vilkija Marriages, Divorces-1922-26
Vilkija Deaths - 1922-1926
Svencionys JC-1858
Vilkaviskis (Suwalki) Births -1810-1811
Nemunatis (Trakai)  1851-1857
Kudirkos Naumiestis (Suwalki) 1874, 1882 Births
Kudirkos Naumiestis (Suwalki) 1874 Deaths
Vilijampole (Kaunas) births  1896-1909
Plunge deaths -1862 - 1887
Seirijai (Suwalki)Marriages - 1922-1926
Seirijai (Suwalki) Deaths - 1922-1926
Veisiejai(Suwalki) - 1922-1924,1926 - marriages, divorces
Taurage (Raseiniai) marriage records
Veisiejai (Suwalki) - 1922-1926 - deaths
Pilviskiai (Marijampole) Deaths - 1922-1926
Taurage (Raseiniai) 1922-1939 Deaths
Virbalis (Suwalki) Marriages/Divorces - 1922-1939
Virbalis (Suwalki) Deaths -1922-1939
Kybartai (Suwalki) Marriages/Div - 1922-1939
Kybartai (Suwalki) Deaths - 1922-1939
Preniai (Suwalki) marriages 1893-1914
Kaunas rabbinate marriages 1932-1934
Zemaiciu Naumiestis (Raseiniai) Marriages/Div- 1922-1939
Zemaiciu Naumiestis (Raseiniai) Deaths- 1922-1939

From  the Panevezys County Archive:
(PCA) Panevezys Jewish Property - 1940s
Prienai (Suwalki) Deaths - 1839-1863
Sakiai (Suwalki) Births - 1842-1847

From the KRA (Kaunas Regional Archive):
Pakruojis 1856-1858 - Rabbi Electors
Troskunai (Ukmerge) 1893-1915 postal bank records- Part 2
Ukmerge 1910-1915 - certificates - with photographs
Kraziai (Raseiniai) 1845-list of residents who suffered from fire
Rietavas (Raseiniai) 1854 - testimonies
Skirsnemune (Raseiniai) 1868 - real estate owners
Rietavas (Raseiniai) 1866-community representatives
Birzai (Panevezys)1845 taxpayers-unable to pay
Joniskelis (Panevezys)1845 taxpayers-unable to pay
Krekenava(Panevezys)1845 taxpayers-unable to pay
Linkuva(Panevezys)1845 taxpayers-unable to pay
Pakruojis (Panevezys) 1845 taxpayers-unable to pay
Kavarskas(Ukmerge) 1906 -rabbi electors
Zelva (Ukmerge) 1889 - rabbi electors - 59 lines
Zelva(Ukmerge) 1907-1910 - Muni electors
Zelva (Ukmerge) 1910 -  Muni electors
Utena (Ukmerge) 1896 - rabbi electors
Ukmerge (Ukmerge)1919  residents
Svedasai (Ukmerge) 1896 el-r
Taujenai (Ukmerge) 1906  el-m
Troskunai (Ukmerge) 1898 el-r
Ukmerge (Ukmerge) 1892 el- m
Utena (Ukmerge) 1844 taxpayers-unable to pay
Kavarskas (Ukmerge) 1847 box taxpayers
Troskunai (Ukmerge) 1912 box taxpayers
Kvetkai (Zarasai) 1912 municipal electors
Zelva (Ukmerge) 1844 - taxpayers unable to pay
Ukmerge District -1913- Jews living out of towns
Ukmerge  District -1847-3rd Guild merchants
Utena (Ukmerge) 1896-1908 passport registration books
Ukmerge District 1915-passport issuance book

Internal Passport Records:Some 3,000 additional translated lines added for Utena lists (Ukmerge), Alytus City, Panevezys and Marijampole.

Central Archive (Vilnius):
Jewish Prisoners-Lithuanian Prisons - 1922-1940