30 November 2008

Australia: Jewish genealogy conference

I know this is somewhat late, but it's important to note that the first-ever Australian Jewish Genealogical Conference was held in Canberra in early November. An article describing the meet was carried in the Australian Jewish News here.

Participants at the first Australian Jewish Genealogical Conference held in Canberra discovered some surprising family connections.

The conference included a reception hosted by Israeli Ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem, special interest group sessions and guest speakers from the National Archives of Australia, National Library and Australian War Memorial.

It was nice to see the names of good friends and acquaintances from down-under: Rieke and Peter Nash, as well as Martha Lev Zion from Beersheva.

This conference - as do many genealogy conferences - produced some surprises. Two delegates discovered they were born in the same hospital in Shanghai to refugee parents. Peter and Prof. Ben Selinger found a connection through their fathers' professional lives in pre-war Berlin.

Sharing the same great-grandfather were Enid Yoffa Elton and Cecily Parris. He had arrived in Australia in 1847 from Krakow via England.

“It was unbelievable,” Elton told The AJN. “I found about four or five relatives from the same family tree.”

Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem - whose family name was Frenkel - hosted a reception for attendees. He told how he found surviving Polish family members in Melbourne, while another attendee wondered if she was related to Rotem through her mother's family.

Dr. Martha Lev Zion was the keynote speaker and discussed two modern tools for genealogical research: the growth of online records and DNA analysis.

Read the complete article for more information.

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