06 April 2008

New York: Steve Morse, April 13

Do you find the Jewish calendar and its technicalities confusing?

The Jewish Genealogical Society of New York is hosting Dr. Stephen P. Morse as he demystifies the calendar and also helps attendees to search the New York State Census.

The program begins at 2pm, Sunday, April 13, at Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, at West End Avenue and W. 60th Street. Note that this is not the society's usual venue (Center for Jewish History).

Jewish genealogists need to understand the Jewish calendar as Jewish vital records use Jewish dates, and this includes birth, marriage, death records as well as gravestones.

The Jewish calendar is both a solar and lunar calendar, with the months being synchronized to the moon and years to the sun. As such, the rules governing the calendar can be a bit daunting. This talk presents the calendar in an easy-to-understand – and sometimes tongue-in-cheek – fashion.

You don't need to be an expert in computing dates - there are programs for that, says Steve - but it will help to understand the calculations. He'll cover the 19-year calendar cycle, the origin of time, errors in the Jewish and secular calendars, and the use of Hebrew letters to represent dates on tombstones.

In his census program, he'll offer information on New York State censuses, which began in 1790. Most valuable for genealogical purposes are 1905, 1915 and 1925, which correspond to the huge immigration wave.

There were numerous assorted aids for navigating through those censuses, but they were often hard to use, covered only specific years or boroughs, and were not available at all libraries. The One-Step website rectifies that situation by putting a universal finding aid on line that covers all the boroughs of New York City in each of the three census years. This presentation describes the One-Step approach and contrasts it to the previous methods.

Steve - creator of the One-Step Website - has received major awards for his innovation: Outstanding Contribution Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the IAJGS; Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, and the first-ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists.

In his other life, Steve is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He has held various research, development, teaching positions, authored numerous technical papers, written four textbooks and holds four patents. He is best known as the architect of the Intel 8086 (the granddaddy of today's Pentium processor), which sparked the PC revolution 25 years ago.

For more information and directions to the Heschel school, click here.


  1. Anonymous11:23 AM

    I liKe very much Steve Morse's work. I wonder why most of his "one step" search forms are now paying (trough ancestry.com).
    Why is so?


  2. Hi Samy,

    Steve helps everyone through his tools for searching indexes - free or subscription. He doesn't choose specifically to use subscription sites, but provides help to researchers no matter where the data is located. If data is on a subscription site, then the researcher has to deal with that and may be able to access the site at a library or university.

    You can always contact Steve through his website and ask him for more information. He is very accessible.