29 December 2010

Family Photos: Playing games

Several years ago, I interviewed several major Jewish genealogy personalities for a Jerusalem Post article on how to get children interested in genealogy.

Judith told me that since her grandchildren were toddlers, she would spread out the family photos and go over their names. They soon recognized their ancestors and relatives.

Marlene Bishow of the JGS of Greater Washington (DC), hosting this year's 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, shared that her grandmother went over index cards with family information with Marlene.

These were grass-roots, personal efforts, and now there's an even easier way to encourage children and involve adults in learning who's who in your family - a true multi-generational effort in the form of a family memory game created by MyHeritage.com for its members.

MyHeritage.com has just created a family memory game - a set of family photo cards personalized for your own family - and that can be played like other matching picture games. Anyone can match the two chickens or two shapes, but can you match the cards for Great-Aunt Rose or Great-Grandfather Aaron?

It can be played for free online or card sets may be ordered to use at home - and they'd make great gifts.

Tracing the Tribe thinks this new game and the card sets will be a great hit with genealogists who are always looking for ways to get their families involved in their quest.

According to the press release,

The game, one of the first ever online family tree games, automatically generates beautiful personalized picture cards of close relatives and ancestors - based on each user’s family tree. Following the same rules as a typical memory card game, users can play online against other family members, or solo against the clock. With a webcam option, players can even include a live picture of themselves in one pair of the cards – providing added entertainment particularly for younger players. 
The game, one of the first ever online family tree games, automatically generates beautiful personalized picture cards of close relatives and ancestors - based on each user’s family tree. Following the same rules as a typical memory card game, users can play online against other family members, or solo against the clock. With a webcam option, players can even include a live picture of themselves in one pair of the cards – providing added entertainment particularly for younger players. 

The game is recommended for all users with a family tree that features photos of relatives. Click here to view an image of the game.
If you are already a member and enjoy the online version, order the printed cards, compiled from information already in your family tree, from MyHeritage.com to play at home, to take along on vacations or to family reunions. The card sets are available through the company's new partnership with AncestryGames.com.

Each deck of  60 handmade personalized cards features up to 30 relatives of the user's choice and includes birth/death dates and locations as listed in the family tree. Each deck (up to three sets) ordered costs $20 each (plus shipping; US $7, international $16). That shipping charge covers up to three decks.

For more information, see the press release link above or go the MyHeritage blog post.

JewishGen: Worldwide Burial Registry update

JewishGen has added to its Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) database with 171,000 new records, 32,700 new photos, 360 new cemeteries, updates/additions to another 213 cemeteries in 21 countries.

Total holdings now include more than1.57 million records from more than 3,050 cemeteries or sections in 47 countries.

To check the database, click here. Learn how to use it here.

Donors of material include individuals, Jewish genealogical societies, historical societies and museums, including dedicated transliteration by JewishGen volunteers. Here are the highlights:
  • Lodz, Poland.  Added some 39,000 making a total of some 50,000 records from the “Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel” burial registers. The next update will include surnames beginning with K, P, R and S. These will also be added to the JRI-Poland database.
  • Melbourne, Australia.  The Melbourne Chevra Kadisha submitted more than 29,000 records from 49 cemeteries in Melbourne and environs.
  • Wisconsin, USA.  The Jewish Museum Milwaukee submitted some 27,000 records from 50 state cemeteries
  • South Africa.  Stan Hart submitted nearly 17,000 records from more than 135 cemeteries, and hope to add photos in future updates.
  • Virginia / Maryland, USA.  The Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, Inc.  (DC) and a volunteer team (coordinated by Marlene Bishow, Ernie Fine and Harvey Kabaker) for 5,000 records and 4,800 photos from Arlington National Cemetery and more than 1,500 records from the B'nai Israel Congregation Cemetery (Oxon Hill, Maryland).
  • Ontario, Canada.  Allen Halberstadt (lead contributor, Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada, Toronto’ Cemetery Project) submitted and updated some 120 cemeteries with 5,000 records from Bathurst Memorial, Lambton Mills, and Mount Sinai cemeteries. More than 4,000 photos from Dawes Road Cemetery are included.
  • Georgia, USA.  Ruth Einstein (special projects coordinator, The Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum; Atlanta, Georgia) submitted 4,000 new and updated records from 17 Atlanta area cemeteries.
  • California, USA.  Peggy Hooper (California Genealogy and History Archives) submitted 3,400 records with photos from sections of Eden Memorial Park, Temple Beth Israel, Home of Peace (LA), and Home of Peace (San Diego) cemeteries. Eden Memorial photos were taken by Dr. William A. Mann.
  • Czeladz – Będzin, Poland. Jeff Cymbler submitted more than 3,200 records and 3,100 accompanying photos.
  • Florida, USA.
    • Susan Steinfeld (cemetery project coordinator, Jewish Genealogy Society of Broward County) and her team submitted more than 3,000 record and photos from selected sections in Miami's Star of David Cemetery.
    • Ina Getzoff (JOWBR coordinator, Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County)  submitted 150 new records and 450 photos from the South Florida National Cemetery.
  • Petah Tikvah / Segulah, Israel.  Gilda Kurtzman refined records and added 3,000 new photos. Current holdings for this cemetery are now nearly 60,000 records and 17,000 photos. .
  • Sighetu Marmaţiei, Romania. Vivian Kahn (H-SIG coordinator) for 2,950 records from the Sighetu Marmaţiei cemetery register, with more to come.
  • Roman, Romania.  Claudia Greif and Rosanne Leeson submitted 2,100 records from the Roman cemetery register from Roman (Moldavia region, Romania).
  • El Paso, Texas, USA.  Sandy Aaronson updated and photographed B’nai Zion and Temple Mt. Sinai cemeteries with 450 records and 2,100 photos.
  • Ferndale, Michigan, USA.  Stuart Farber submitted 2,000 records from Beth Abraham Cemetery Association.
  • St. Joseph, Missouri, USA.  Deena Sandusky submitted more than 1,700 records from Adath Joseph and Shaare Sholem Roches cemeteries.
  • Latvia / Lithuania / Ukraine.  Christine Usdine permitted JOWBR to include various Latvian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian cemetery records and photos from her site at http://usdine.free.fr/ Translations are by Sarah Mages.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.  Eileen Wegge (eighth grade public school teacher) who during her Holocaust history curriculum coordinated a cemetery indexing project with her students at Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery.
  • Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. Gene Baruch indexed and photographed 1,000 stones at the Greensboro Hebrew Cemetery.
  • South Carolina Cemeteries. Ann Hellman (president, Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina) for 1,000 additional records from various South Carolina cemeteries.
Without dedicated volunteers in all spheres of Jewish genealogy and history, researchers would have many fewer records to work with.
If you live in or near a Jewish cemetery or section that has not be catalogued, researched, photographed, now might be the time to start a project, either on your own or in conjunction with a local genealogical or historical society. These types of records and photos are invaluable to researchers living around the world who may never make it your town, city, state or country. Your contribution of material can potentially help thousands of researchers globally.

You might even belong to or know of a local group or organization which may already have such records or photos in their own archives. Perhaps they may wish to donate that material so that a wider audience might find it useful.

For more information, check out the JOWBR link above or contact JewishGen's vice-president of data acquisition (and JOWBR coordinator) Nolan Altman through that link.

26 December 2010

Geneabloggers: 41 new blogs?

As readers know, Tracing the Tribe often lets them know about the new blogs discovered by Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers.

Although he recently posted 11 new blogs, he did post another, listing 41 new blogs on December 4.

One never knows how a particular blog might help you in your own quest, so check these out and you might receive some help for some aspect of your search. I've written only smatterings of the blog descriptions, so if you want more, see the link above, or click on each individual blog URL.

All About GEN
Individual family history

Ancestor Search
Australia genealogy, Individual family history

Anderson / Spence / McKenney, 1800’s
Individual family history

Annapolis Royal Heritage
Canadian genealogy
  • Author is a museum director in Annapolis Royal, and will try to feature some interesting artifacts and archival resources in the collections.
Are My Roots Showing?
Individual family history

Arkansas Roots: The Stories of My Family
Arkansas genealogy, Individual family history
  •  SMITH, SLOAN, HAWKINS & PATTILLO, Dallas County, Arkansas; POOLE, Union & Hemstead Counties.
Barnett Family Genealogy
Individual family history
  • Barnetts of Parker County, Texas.
Borreson Cousins
Individual family history
  • Norwegian immigrants Emil Borresen and Gina Estensen married in 1899 in Pigeon Falls, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, had 10 children and 29 grandchildren. Author is one of the grandchildren.
Butler Cemetery
African-American genealogy, Cemetery blog, New Jersey genealogy
  • Butler Cemetery (established c1867 by Dempsey Daniel Butler, prominent businessman, real estate entrepreneur, and more. When he died in January 1900, he was noted as the wealthiest African American in New Jersey.
Digging Under My Family Tree
Individual family history

Dr D Digs Up Ancestors
Genealogy education

Exile’s Return
Individual family history

Fiji Genealogy
Fiji genealogy,
  • Many resources and ideas for tracing your family tree and researching your family’s history in Fiji. Whether your ancestor was a temporary visitor who married or died in Fiji, or whether you are descended from a long line of settlers or natives, you will find something here to help you...lists of websites, books, and repositories of records and microfilmed records to help you...
Genealogie Blog
French genealogy
  • Author is professional genealogist Stéphane Cosson.
Genealogy Dragnet
Individual family history

Genealogy of Oldendorf, und Nahrendorf
German genealogy
  • Regional villages: Dannenberg area, Uelzen,Elbe region, Goehrde and Bleckede area.
Genealogy Quest
Individual family history

Geoff’s Genealogy
Individual family history, UK genealogy

Glasgow Ancestry
Scottish genealogy

Gregory Fearon’s Family History Blog
Individual family history

Glimpsing the Past
Individual family history, UK genealogy

Grow Your Own Family Tree
Genealogy industry blog, Irish genealogy, UK genealogy
  • Author Alan Stewart writes regularly for UK magazines Practical Family History and Family Tree Magazine, and for North American-based Internet Genealogy and Discovering Family History, among others..
In Our Hearts: A Family Tribute & Scrapbook
African-American genealogy, Alabama genealogy, Individual family history
  • Ford, Martin, Morton, Green(e)
Jen’s Genealogy Pages
Canadian genealogy, Individual family history
  • St. John, Coulman, Fee, Hunter – and other associated families (including Davey, Summerville, Lusty, Salter, Thomas, Ansted, Burton, Doan and Oakley)...Ontario and Quebec in the 1800s...England, Ireland and Palatine Germany in the 1800s and earlier.
Jones Family Matters
Individual family history
  • Jones, Ryan, von der Heide, Cronin, Probert, Dailey, Wainright, Reed and Hellmann.
Marilyn’s Family History News
California genealogy, Genealogy industry

Murmurd’s Franco-American and Quebec Genealogy
Canadian genealogy, French-Canadian genealogy

NGS Family History Conference Blog
Genealogy conference blog, Genealogical society blog
  • Hello and welcome to the home of the NGS 2011 official conference blog. We are thrilled that you will be joining us in Charleston, South Carolina and hope to make this an interactive and fun experience leading up to the event... Stay tuned for updates on presenters, vendors, sponsors, registration, accommodations, local sites, and much more.
Our Family Quilt
Individual family history

Peter’s Family History Blog
Genealogy education

Pursuits of a Desperate Genie
Individual family history
  • Brookyn, NY is exploding with history and the passion I have for preserving our heritage has overwhelmed my life. My family and friends have had their fair share of “Did you know…!” I love researching, googling for hours, visiting cemeteries, learning new technology and connecting with others to share stories and information. Whenever I hit roadblocks I start quizzing the next person I’m with and before you know it I am writing out their family tree!
Roots and Stones: A Canadian Girl’s Genealogy Diary
Canadian genealogy, Individual family history
  • A 6th-generation Canadian, who has been hunting for her roots for the past decade-ish.
Seattle Genealogical Society
Genealogical society, Washington genealogy
  • Welcome to the SGS President’s blog.
Smiddy Family Genealogy
Surname blog

Tattered Past
Individual family history

The Bowdens of Popes Creek
African-American genealogy, Individual family history, Virginia genealogy
  • Four generations of (Mulatto) Indentured Servants to the Monroe & Washington Family.
The Historian’s Family
Individual family history,
  • The author is an instructor at a community college in the Midwest, who completed a PhD in history at the University of Glasgow with a specialization in Scottish migration; also interested in the bridging the gap between academic and “armchair” historians.
They Came to Montana
Individual family history, Montana genealogy

TMG Sydney
Australian genealogy, Genealogical society blog, Technology blog
  • This blog is authored by Carole Riley, whom I met on my trip to Australia last spring.
Virtual Tombstone Biographer
Cemetery blogs

Yesterday’s Girl
Individual family history (Engand, Ireand, Newfoundand, Boston)

For more information, see Thomas' original post (link above) or click on each blog.

21 December 2010

Hong Kong: The Jewish flavor

The Urban Photo blog offered an interesting interview with the new rabbi of Ohel Leah synagogue in Hong Kong.

The post also mentions three of the wonderfully warm and welcoming people whom I met in Hong Kong last spring on my way to and from Melbourne, Australia, to speak at the National Jewish Genealogy Conference. I also spoke at the Hong Kong Jewish Community Center.

While there, I met with Howard Elias, who runs the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival and also handles the Jewish cemetery; with Erica Lyons, an American ex-pat who lives there with her husband and children, publishes the wonderful Asian Jewish Life magazine; and had tea with Judy Green, all mentioned in the post.

In Hong Kong, I attended Shabbat services at Ohel Leah, and at the Reform congregation, celebrated Purim at the JCC and had a fascinating first trip to Asia.

Planning a trip to Hong Kong? Make sure to email, call or write ahead of time to see the JCC and Ohel Leah, and find out what's going on in the community.

The JCC restaurant is also quite good (and kosher)!

By the way, the new issue of Asian Jewish Life is online now (see cover above left), so take a look at what's happening on the other side of the world. This issue has numerous articles on various aspects of Jewish life in India, including felafel in Bangalore.

Ethiopia: Beta Israel Jewish food traditions

Baby, it's cold outside!

Why not try the Beta Israel shabbat dish of Doro Wat? It's sure to warm you up.

An interesting food column at the Jerusalem Post by Chef Dennis Wasko focused on this cuisine.

Wasko includes the history of the Ethiopian Jewish community and two recipes, one for Doro Wat and one for the special spice blend called berbere, an integral part of the finished dish.

If you like your food hot, you'll love this dish.

The Beta Israel can trace their origins back to antiquity. Their oldest oral traditions claim that their ancestors migrated from Israel to Egypt after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. After a few hundred years, the community migrated further south after Egypt was conquered by the Roman Empire. They eventually came to the land known as Ethiopia.
The spicy chicken stew contains chilies and exotic spices, is garnished with hard-cooked eggs and simmers from 12-18 hours.

Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken Stew)
Serves 5

1 whole chicken cut into 10 pieces ( 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts cut in half crosswise)
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup water
¼ cup olive oil
3 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 TBS fresh ginger, grate
½ cup tomato paste
1 tsp to 1 TBS berbere spice blend to taste (see below)
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground fenugreek
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cardamom
5 whole large eggs
1 cup chicken stock or water
salt to taste

Combine lemon juice, salt and water; mix. Soak chicken in it for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove chicken, pat dry, discard solution. In heavy-bottomed stew pot or dutch oven over medium high heat, add olive oil, onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Sauté about 10 minutes, add all other ingredients except chicken and eggs. Bring to boil, reduce heat, add chicken and eggs. Coat chicken well in sauce. Cover pot, place into a low-temperature oven. Cook at least 12 hours, up to 18 hours. Serve chicken in sauce, garnished with eggs.

Berbere Spice Blend

2 TBS paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Combine together, keep in a sealed jar.

After this dish, a little blizzard won't matter!

20 December 2010

Top 40 Gen Blogs: Voting deadline tonight!

The voting deadine for the 2011 edition of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 genealogy blogs is tonight: Monday, December 20, at 11.59pm.

Don't forget to participate and vote - you may vote multiple times - for your favorites among the 117 blogs in eight categories. You may vote for five blogs in each category. [Tracing the Tribe is listed in the Heritage category.]

For more information on the authors of the blogs (and the URLs), click here to see Thomas MacEntee's post.

Click here for the voting form.

Results will be announced in the July 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

18 December 2010

Food: When oysters were kosher

Did you know that a 19th-century Reform Jewish kitchen cookbook offered recipes for oysters and ham salad, along with challah and latkes?

Chicago residents are in for a delicious treat when culinary historian Jane Ziegelman speaks at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies on Sunday, December 19.

The talk - "When Oysters were Kosher," begins at 2pm; a book signing of Ziegelman's new book, 97 Orchard, follows.

Tickets (call 312-322-1733) are $18; $10 for Spertus members, and $8 for students.

A century ago, "Aunt Babette's Cook Book" (1889) provided a look at Reform Judaism then. Babette, in reality, was Chicago homemaker Bertha Kramer, a member of the city's Reform community.

Ziegelman's appearance is in conjunction with the Spertus exhibit - Uncovered & Rediscovered: Stories of Jewish Chicago - and she'll share Kramer's story.

The Spertus talk will focus on an affluent community wanting to assimilate and leave the ghetto, as evidenced by what they ate. The story also presents the Ziegelman's upbringing and she states that "So much of Jewish history can be told through its food."

Ziegelman, director of the New York Tenement Museum's culinary center, is the author of a new book, "97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement" (Harper Collins, $25.99).

The Chicago Jewish News carried a story by editor Pauline Dubkin Yearwood on the new book, which offers this word picture of an expertly prepared carp for Shabbat dinner:

When we first meet Natalie Gumpertz, in Jane Ziegelman's book “97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement,” it is a Friday morning in the late 1890s, and Mrs. Gumpertz is preparing a fish for Shabbat dinner that night.
The carp “lays snugly in an oblong vessel, like a newborn in a watery cradle. From our current vantage point, it looks intact. In reality, however, the fish has been surgically disassembled and reassembled. It is the kind of culinary operation worthy of the trained professional, yet the responsible party is standing in front of us, an ordinary home cook.”

After Mrs. Gumpertz, who immigrated to New York from Prussia in 1858, slits the fish down the middle, she scrapes the flesh from the skin, chops it, stuffs it back into the carp, lays the creation on a bed of fish bones and onions, simmers it, then, when done, moves the pot to an open window to cool.

Then, “moments before sundown, start of the Jewish Sabbath, she slices her carp crosswise into ovals and lays them on a plate. The cooking broth, rich in gelatin from the fish bones, has turned to jelly. The onion skin has tinted it gold. Mrs. Gumpertz spoons that up too, dabbing it over the fish in glistening puddles. To a hungry Jew at the end of the workweek, could any sight be more beautiful?”
Who wouldn't want to go out and catch a carp after reading that?

Ziegelman, writesYearwood, "came into possession of what she describes as 'a whole wealth of family genealogy and history of this real-life woman who lived on Prairie Avenue (in Chicago) in the second half of the 19th century. She belonged to the world of Jewish society and she wrote this cookbook, and I use her as a kind of example of a lost culture.'”

Kramer's cookbook (Bloch Publishing, Cincinnati) was known as the "treif" (not kosher) cookbook. It included recipes for shrimp, lobster, ham, squirrel and rabbit, as well as an all-oyster supper.

For more information on "97 Orchard," read the complete article at the link above.

The new culinary program at the Tenement Museum will present immigrant chefs (professional and home cooks), cookbook authors and many other people who will be cooking together and talking about food.

Vienna: 342,000 Jewish records

Looking for family from Vienna? Wondering why some branches simply disappear?

This resource can help in diverse ways.

GenTeam.com is an organization of genealogists or historians who produce databases on their own or as a part of a group, and who offer these databases to all researcher without any fee.

A non-commercial organization, the geographical focus of this work is present-day Austria and adjacent lands. No fee is required to search the databases, only a simple registration for the site.

The newest additions total some 550,000 new records.

  • about 342.000 records of the Jewish Community in Vienna (1826-1910). This index contains births and marriages from 1826, death records from 1866, all through 1910.

  • about 18,000 records of those who left the Jewish Community in Vienna (1868-1914). Some were baptised, some didn't belong to any denomination. Sources include official resignations and the leaving protocols of the Jewish Community Vienna City, Ottakring and Sechshaus. Other data came from records of the Jewish Community, Roman Catholic and Protestant Churchs as well as civil records, Jewish community conversion protocols and protocols of surname changes of the NiederOsterreichische Statthalterei.

  • about 5,000 records of Protestant Parish Vienna AB (1783-1860). Since 1783, two different Protestant Parishes existed in Vienna: AB and HB. Indices of parish AB marriages are available now. These records are not on microfilm or digital, but only in the parish office.

  • about 16,200 obituaries in the NFP - Neue Freie Presse Wien. An index of all NFP obituaries appeared in the paper (186401938). They are now in a GenTeam database. Search for surnames, given names, maiden names and year. There is a link which directs you to the obituary in the newspaper, which can be viewed free via Internet (site by ONB - Oesterreichische National Bibliothek/Austrian National Library). Included are obituaries of people who also lived and died in crown lands, not only in Vienna, and include important genealogical information on family members. 

  • about 142.000 new records of Roman Catholic Church records (1606-1896). n Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Moravia and Bohemia. New from Lower Austria: Munichreith, Langschlag, Pernegg, Schweiggers, Blumau, Messern, Plank, Lichtenau, Zoebing, Obermeisling. Upper Austria: St. Oswald bei Freistadt, Reichenau im Muehlkreis, Wartberg an der Aist, Schoenau im Muehlkreis, Leopoldschlag, Neumarkt, Gruenbach, Sandl, Rechberg. Moravia: Prossmeritz. Bohemia: Schwabitz, Niemes.

  • about 1.100 entries of Jewish community marriages in Grossmeseritsch, Moravia

  • The entire collection holds some 2.7 million records and is continually updated.

    Other databases, in addition to those above, include:
    - Gazetteer of Czech, Austrian and Slovenian Republic (with South Tyrol)
    - Index, Roman Catholic marriages, Vienna and parishes (1542-1860)
    - Owners, houses in Lower Austria (1817)
    - Death Cards, soldiers, both World Wars
    - Index, Roman Catholic church records
    - Index, Protestant church records- Leavings from Viennese Jewish Community
    - Index, Viennese civil records
    - Directory, mills and mill-owners in whole Austria (Cisleithanien)(1876)
    - Index, Wurzbach
    - Obituaries, Pester Lloyd, Budapest

    For more information or questions, email the GenTeam.

    Individuals at GenTeam include professional genealogist Felix Gundacker, Traude Triebel and other volunteers.

    Geneabloggers: New blogs

    So many new blogs! So little time to catch up with them!

    Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.com frequently posts lists of newly discovered gen blogs. Here's the recent roundup of his discoveries. Find out more about each here.

    These new ones focus on personal family history, Australia, surnames, New York, write family history, New Zealand, Midwest, Minnesota, New England and family reunions.

    An American Dynasty: The Story of a Dakota Family
    Individual family history

    Blog, blog, blog
    Australian genealogy, Individual family history

    Davis Genealogy Project (Fitz-Henry Family History)
    Surname blog

    • Part of a one-name study and is a collaborative project with individuals in the US, UK and Australia.
    From the Shadows to the Page
    Writing Your Family History blog

    • To share and connect with those interested in writing from life, recording their personal histories, writing a memoir for publication and/or personal use, and all things related to writing one’s story.
    Hempstead Family – Bklyn, NY
    Individual family history, New York genealogy

    Inside History Magazine
    Australian genealogy, New Zealand genealogy

    Jack and Pauline
    Individual family history (SIULINSKI and ALBERT)

    Lewisville, Minnesota
    Individual family history, Midwest genealogy, Minnesota genealogy

    Martha Carrier’s Family
    Family reunion blog, Individual family history, New England genealogy

    • Accused witch Martha Carrier was hanged in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.
    My Mouse Is Broken
    Individual family history

    To learn more about this batch of new blogs, click here.

    17 December 2010

    Wordless Friday: Out our window

    Although the blogger theme is Wordless Wednesday, Tracing the Tribe doubts the snow will still be here then, so here's our morning panorama:

    Patches of blue sky are already peeking out from the clouds, so the snow may disappear even sooner.

    Tracing the Tribe understands that for those readers who live with this all the time, it may not be as much fun!

    For us, it is still a beautiful novelty.

    16 December 2010

    RootsTech: Official blogger

    Tracing the Tribe is an official RootsTech conference blogger.

    In addition to assisting in the effort to get the word out about this new event, which runs from Thursday-Saturday, February 10-12, in Salt Lake City, Utah, I will be presenting on genetic genealogy and participating in a geneablogger's panel (moderated by Thomas MacEntee).

    The many presentations demonstrate the increasing role of technology in our quest for information. The sessions cover searching for information, storing it as we find it, and the newest technology available now or coming down the road.

    The conference organizers are also extending assistance to the geneabloggers in terms of dedicated spaces to conduct audio interviews and podcasts, video recording of scheduled video interviews with copies to post on our blogs or websites, office space to access the Internet, recharge equipment and assistance in scheduling interviews with speakers and VIPs.

    For more information about the event, including registration and the sessions, click here.

    Tracing the Tribe hopes to see you in Salt Lake City.

    New Mexico: It's snowing!

    Today has been very different.

    After a long time in the Middle East, Tracing the Tribe is watching snow come down!

    This morning began with cold rain and, within just the past 10 minutes, it has begun snowing ... and sticking!

    The weather reports predicted this, and since I barely remember how to drive in the snow - it's been a very long time - yesterday we made a supermarket run in case we had to stay home for a day or so.

    Now I have no excuse but to catch up on a mountain of email and blogging.

    I don't think our snowfall will rival my good friend Thomas MacEntee's Chicago blizzard but - for me - this seems quite enough!

    Mother Nature also seems to be preparing me for my February appearances at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City!

    WDYTYA USA: Season 2 celebrities announced

    NBC today announced the celebrities who will participate in season two of the US-version "Who Do You Think You Are?"
    The new season of the show, produced by Lisa Kudrow, begins February 4, 2011. The roster includes:
    • Gwyneth Paltrow
    • Tim McGraw
    • Rosie O’Donnell
    • Steve Buscemi
    • Kim Cattrall
    • Lionel Richie
    • Vanessa Williams
    • Ashley Judd
    • From the trenches of the Civil War to the shores of the Caribbean, and from the valleys of Virginia to the island nations of Australia and Ireland, “Who Do You Think You Are?” will reveal the fabric of humanity through everyone’s place in history. Each week a different celebrity takes a journey into their family’s past, traveling all over the world. 
      While giving viewers an in-depth look into their favorite stars’ family tree, each episode will expose surprising facts and life changing encounters that will unlock people’s emotions, show just how connected everyone is not only to the past, but to one another.
      For more information, visit the NBC official show site.    

    14 December 2010

    2011 Top 40 Blogs: Tracing the Tribe nominated

    Tracing the Tribe is deeply honored to be nominated - in the Heritage category - for the 2011 edition of the Top 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, sponsored by Family Tree Magazine.

    This year, the magazine enlisted top bloggers to help formulate the categories, qualifications, with nominations provided by readers. The results of the voting - the Family Tree 40 - will be announced in the July 2011 issue of the magazine.

    The Family Tree 40 panelists included experts Lisa Louise Cooke (Genealogy Gems),  Randy Seaver (Genea-Musings), Myrt (DearMyrtle blog) and Thomas MacEntee (Geneabloggers).

    The list includes excellent blogs in eight categories:
    • Local/regional history and genealogy: Blogs focused on research in a specific county, state or region. Most library and archive blogs, as well as many local historical and genealogical society blogs, are here.
    • Heritage groups: Blogs focusing on the family history of a specific ethnic, religious or national background (such as African-American, Jewish, Polish, etc.) [Tracing the Tribe is in this category]
    • Research advice and how-to: Blogs that primarily explain how to research, analyze photos or perform various family history tasks. These offer tips, strategies and examples; explain genealogical concepts; and write about how to use new resources.
    • Cemeteries: These feature content primarily about cemetery research and visiting cemeteries. Many feature tombstone photos and transcriptions, with information about those interred.
    • “My Family History”: Blogs about the blogger’s own roots, including accounts of personal research, personal family photos and heirlooms, stories, recipes, etc.
    • “Everything” blogs: Blogs that cover it all - genealogy news, research advice, opinions, local history, family stories, etc.
    • New blogs: Blogs launched during the past year.
    • Technology: Blogs focused on genealogy websites, software, DNA testing or other aspects of technology as it relates to genealogy.
    Click here to vote in the Family Tree 40.

    Vote for five blogs in each of the eight categories, through 11.59am, Monday, December 20. Voters may vote as often as they wish.

    Tracing the Tribe is delighted to have been nominated.

    09 December 2010

    Latvia: 100 tombstones desecrated

    Latvia's president condemned an attack on a Riga cemetery Wednesday.

    President Vadis Zalters urged police to find the perpetrators - who desecrated some 100 tombstones with Nazi symbols - quickly, according to the European Jewish Press website. Other officials, including the prime minister and foreign minister, also blasted the attack.

    Earlier Wednesday, state police spokeswoman Ieva Reksna told AFP that police officers had found around 100 tombstones spattered with white-paint swastikas.
    A guard at the cemetery -- the only working Jewish burial ground in Riga -- spotted the defiled tombstones on Wednesday morning, Reksna said.  

    Officials from Riga city council headed to the cemetery after news of the attack emerged, and mayor Nils Usakovs, who is on a visit to Russia, issued a statement condemning it.
    Municipal police have now been ordered to boost patrols at the site.
    The cemetery was also attacked in September 2003, following which five teens were sentenced to prison terms of from six months to three years.
    Today, the Latvian Jewish community numbers less than 10,000 individuals in the general population of 2.2 million.

    Prior to WWII, some 85,000 Jews lived there; 70,000 were murdered in Latvia or perished after deportation to concentration camps.     

    06 December 2010

    Boston: Finding lost families, Dec. 12

    Tracing the Tribe has - over the years - discovered Talalay relatives in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Mogilev, Moscow, as well as those in the US, Germany and Israel.

    It is always an interesting experience to reconnect with "lost" relatives, who each provide details previously unknown.

    Finding and reconnecting lost relatives in the FSU and Russian Empire is the focus of the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, on Sunday, December 12.

    The program, featuring a panel of experts, begins at 1.30pm at Temple Emanuel, Newton Centre. There is no admission fee.

    US descendants of immigrants from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union report on finding relatives from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and a recent Soviet émigré reports on finding descendants of his family who came to the US in the earlier waves of immigration.

    Speakers include:

    -- Aaron Ginsburg: A first-generation American; founder and president of The Friends of Jewish Dokshitsy. He spearheaded an international effort to help the local government of Dokshitsy, Belarus restore and re-dedicate the town’s Jewish cemetery. He recently organized a Dokshitsy reunion in Rhode Island (documented at Tracing the Tribe). He has been involved with cemetery restoration, shtetl and family history since 1995.

    -- Yefim Kogan: Born in Kishinev, Moldova; emigrated from Moscow in 1989. Since then, his extensive genealogical research has enabled him to trace part of his family to the mid-18th century and to find relatives in the US who left Russia in 1906. Currently a graduate student at Hebrew College with a focus in Eastern European Jewish cultural history, he has presented on Jewish history in Bessarabia and genealogy at IAJGS conferences. He is a volunteer JewishGen coordinator.

    -- Carol Clingan: A third-generation American, her grandparents came from Belarus and Ukraine. Over nearly 20 years of research, she has traced family back to the early-19th century and discovered relatives still living in the FSU. She is JGSGB vice-president and Program Committee co-chair.

    For directions, click here.

    Boston-area readers should mark this upcoming date:
    -- January 16: Robert Weinberg, "DNA of the Jewish People, Similarities and Differences."

    For more information on JGSGB programs, click here.

    New York: HIAS photo archives, Dec. 19

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

    What is more precious to a family historian than the treasured photos of our families through the generations?

    Valery Bazarov of HIAS will present “HIAS Photo Archives: Faces of Immigration,” at the JGS of New York's annual members-only brunch on December 19.

    The event will begin with brunch at 11am, followed by the program at 12.40pm, at the Brotherhood Synagogue 28 Gramercy Park South (near 3rd Avenue), in Manhattan. Admission: JGSNY members, free; others, $5 at the door for the presentation at 12.30pm only.

    In every family, such photos are treasured and relished – even more so in the family of HIAS that amounts to more than 4 million Jews who immigrated to America. Forty linear feet of the archival collection contain 22,000 images taken at the most crucial times, when ties with the past were severed and a new life was still unknown. These pictures chronicle a period that lasted more than 100 years.

    Refugees from persecution, pogroms, and poverty, escapees from death and famine – they all pass before our eyes when telling the story of their suffering and hope. The first Seders on Ellis Island and Jewish children in Yokohama, the internment camps in Vichy France and displaced persons on board the military transports that brought them to safe havens, Hungarian and Cuban refugees, North African Jews and the Soviet Jewry exodus – these images will leave no hearts unmoved.

    Valery will also present case studies of rescued and resettled families at different periods of immigration history.

    He is the director of the HIAS Family History and Location Services, which helps immigrants of different generations find family members and friends – often in other countries – with whom they have lost contact over the years, sometimes decades. He is committed to finding and honoring the heroes, Jewish and non-Jewish, who rescued European Jews during the Holocaust.

    Tracing the Tribe's good friend Valery researches HIAS history and reports on his findings as frequent lecturer at international and national Jewish genealogy conferences and societies.

    For more information, click here.

    New York: National Yiddish Theatre, Dec. 12

    Attendees of the 2006 New York international Jewish genealogy conference will remember the hit evening performance by Zalmen Mlotek.
    Motek, director of the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene, will present "100 Years of Yiddish Musical Theatre" with guest Daniella Rabbani and the New Yiddish Chorale at the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center on Sunday, December 12, at 3pm. Tickets are $25.

    An internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music, he is the artistic director of the nation’s only Yiddish Theatre,, travels the world giving concerts, lectures and other programs.

    "100 Years of Yiddish Musical Theatre" was hailed as the “runaway hit” of the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival and was highly praised by Yiddishkayt L.A., while Ms. Rabbani’s performance was deemed “utterly alive” by the New York Observer.
    This elegant piece celebrates the Jewish musical accent in American theatre, beginning with the origins of the Yiddish theatre in the wine cellars of Rumania and treating us to operetta arias, humorous vaudeville ballads, backstage renditions of Fiddler on the Roof, and more. Simultaneous English translations are projected on a large screen.
    For tickets, click here, or call 718-368-5596.

    02 December 2010

    New Mexico: Learning the ropes

    Our family has made several major moves over our history.

    I'm not only talking about the move from 14th-century Spain which brought the TALALAY to Mogilev, Belarus. Or the move that took my direct branch from Belarus to the US. Major moves have also included Teheran, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tel Aviv - and this most recent one to New Mexico.

    In each new place, I felt it was important to immediately get involved, to begin to find a place in the life of the community, to find an outlet for personal interests. Of course, for more than 20 years, genealogy has been a major interest.

    Today, I met with New Mexico Jewish Federation executive director Sam Sokolove, New Mexico Jewish Historical Society president Dorothy Amsden, Rabbi Min Kantrowitz. The meetings were good, providing excellent possibilities for future involvement.

    And it was a reunion of sorts with Dorothy, whom I first met years ago at the last international Jewish genealogy conference hosted by the JGS of Greater Washington, in DC.

    On another note, I was happy to converse - in Farsi - with the head of an Iranian Bahai family who settled here about a decade ago.

    Some readers have asked privately about the recent lack of graphics in Tracing the Tribe posts. While my graphics files survived the smashing of my poor PC - and most were on flashdrives in any case - it takes take time to add those, and I'm trying to get back to speed providing information first and foremost.

    The graphics will soon begin to appear once again for readers' visual enjoyment.

    I truly appreciate the kind wishes - public and private - of readers and friends concerning our move to the Land of Enchantment, and wish everyone an illuminating Festival of Lights.

    Enjoy your latkes (with applesauce, sour cream or "naked," straight from the frying pan), sugfaniot (have a chocoate-filled one for me!), or whatever your culinary traditions prescribe for this holiday.

    Tell your family stories once again as your family lights the hanukiah, and remember the generations of your families as they did the same thing for centuries in all parts of the world.

    With best wishes and appreciation for your continued support,

    Virginia: Lost town of Trochenbrod, Dec. 12

    Learn about the "lost town" of Trochenbrod with author Avrom Bendavid-Val, at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington on Sunday, December 12.

    The program begins at 1pm at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia. Members, free; others, $5.

    A Washington DC resident, Bendavid-Val's book - "The Heavens are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod" - is the result of 12 years of research. He made nine visits to the site where the town once stood and its environs.

    It contains first-person accounts, photographs and maps. The focus is on the vibrant town life, not just on its destruction.

    Settlement of the village that became Trochenbrod started in the early 1800s in a small clearing in the forest in what is today northwest Ukraine. Jews began settling there and farming because under Czarist decrees, only by doing that could they avoid oppressive anti-Jewish laws, including having their sons conscripted to serve in the Russian army until age 45. As Trochenbrod grew to its final population of about 5,000, it became the only free-standing town created, populated, and self-governed entirely by Jews ever to exist outside the biblical Land of Israel.  Trochenbrod became a thriving regional commercial center that had a highly diversified and largely self-sufficient economy.
    Trochenbrod was "a magical place,” according to the memoir of one visitor in the 1930s, a feeling echoed by the few Trochenbrod natives who survive. It was the only town to completely and permanently vanish in the Holocaust.  In August and September 1942, Nazis and their helpers murdered the people of Trochenbrod. The town had been created by anti-Semitism and it was destroyed by anti-Semitism. Because there had been none but Jews in Trochenbrod, no one was left there, and all traces of the town soon vanished.
     A book sale and signing will follow his presentation.

    Michigan: Yiddish World Remembered, Dec. 12

    "A Yiddish World Remembered" - a documentary - will be presented at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan on Sunday, December 12.
    The screening takes place at 11am at the Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. Members, free; others, $5.Reservations are suggested. Contact the JGSMi
    Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor Elliott Gould and accompanied by never-before-seen archival films, vintage photographs, and, of course, traditional Klezmer and cantorial music, the documentary takes a realistic and enlightening look at this unique and all-but-vanished way of life.

    For those in rural communities, there was often no running water or electricity. For many, anti-Semitism was a part of daily life. But for everyone, crowded conditions and poverty seemed to prevail. Despite these trials, through the eyes of the individuals interviewed, we learn that Jewish communities were close-knit and often even joyous places to live. This television special explores everything from the fascinating language of Yiddish to the Rabbis and Rebbes that often ran the communities to the powerful Jewish movements of Khasidism, Bundism and Zionism.

    Jewish Music: International winners announced

    Musicians in the family?

    Here are more you may not have known about. They are the winners of the second International Jewish Music Festival, held in Amsterdam.

    Participants included 24 groups from 12 countries.

    As in 2008, the Amsterdam-based festival managed to attract top ensembles from around the world to this unique competition. The pre-selected 24 ensembles came from 12 countries and four continents. For them, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to showcase their talent for an audience of programmers, agents and aficionados. The jury included world-renowned Yiddish singer Adrienne Cooper and klezmer expert Hankus Netsky.
    Eight workshops were also presented, incuding Adrienne Cooper's Yiddish/Ladino masterclass and the famed Hankus Netsky's Instant Klezmer workshop.

    The first-place winner was a Chassidic band, The Heart & The Wellspring (Israel).

    Other winners:

    Mames Babegenush (Denmark)
    Voice of the Levites (Israel)
    Shir (UK) - Best Yiddish song
    Di Gojim (Netherlands)
    Yonit Shaked Golan & Gabi Argov (Israel)
    Lafra (Spain) - Best Sephardic performance
    Klezmafour (Poland)
    Trio C Tot De Derde (Netherlands)
    Vent d'Ouest Klezmer Band (France)

    To view an 11-minute documentary of the finale, click here.