29 April 2011

San Francisco: Jewish life in Tsarist Kiev, May 3

Learn about Jewish life in Tsarist-era Kiev with Natan M. Meir of Portland State University on Tuesday, May 3, at a meeting co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Library and the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society.

Meir's talk - "A 'Russian Zion' or a Jewish Nightmare? Jewish Life in Tsarist Kiev" - will be presented in Russian at 4pm and in English at 7pm, at the Jewish Community Library. There is no admission fee for the two talks.

The JCL is at 1835 Ellis Street, in San Francisco; there is free parking.

From a small group of merchants in the early 1860s, the Jewish population of Kiev grew rapidly until it became one of the largest urban Jewish communities in the Russian Empire.

Meir - author of "Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859–1914"- will chart the growth of this vital community from its founding until the outbreak of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. He will discuss the external and internal challenges that it faced, including pogroms, intracommunal divisions, and the 1913 Beilis affair, in which a Ukrainian Jew was accused of ritual murder.
Meir received a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Columbia University in 2003 and is now the Lorry I. Lokey Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at Portland State University (Oregon). He is co-editor of the recently published "Anti-Jewish Violence: Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History" and is currently working on a study of vulnerable and marginalized groups among East European Jews in the 19th century. He is a consultant for the Russian Jewish Museum of Moscow, now in its development stages.

For directions and more information, click here.

28 April 2011

San Francisco: California Jewish cemeteries, May 1

Robinn Magid will speak on "California Jewish Cemeteries: From the Gold Rush to the Roszgolds," on Sunday, May 1, at the next meeting of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society.

The program begins at 1.30pm, at Congregation Beth Israel-Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, in San Francisco (next to Brandeis Hillel Day School). There is no admission fee.

Ever wonder who is buried in California Jewish cemeteries and what we remember about them?

Curious how someone could be buried FOUR times?

Studying the history and matzevot (tombstones) in California's 86+ Jewish cemeteries, we can find butchers, bakers, beggermen, thieves, doctors, and lawyers, but did we find the proverbial Indian chief?

Come take a virtual whirlwind tour of California's Jewish cemeteries and find out what people said about some of the interesting people buried there (from the "horse's mouth"). The tombstones and epitaphs demonstrate our unique California lifestyle and fascinating local history even if your ancestors aren't buried here in the Golden State!
Magid is a long-time SFBAJGS member, a JRI-Poland board member and a compulsive genealogist since her 1991 retirement from management consulting with an international CPA firm.

In 2001, she realized her childhood dream of visiting Poland and “walking a mile in her grandmother’s moccasins.” She has four children, a loving husband, and a UCLA bachelor’s degree in economics. Her personal research includes Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Galicia.

For directions and more information, click here.

Seattle: 150 years of Jewish history, May 9

Rabbi Jim Mirel will speak on 150 years of Jewish history in Washington State at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State on Monday, May 9.

The program includes powerpoints by Jeff Adelson and the Washington Jewish Historical Society.

Doors open at 7pm at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island. Admission: free for members and one guest per year; others, $5.

Rabbi Mirel will talk about the three waves of Jewish immigration into Washington, including Ashkenazi and Sephardic populations. He'll give highlights about Jewish individuals and families who affected the state and Seattle history. He'll show historic pictures of these families, their synagogues, businesses and social life.

Senior Rabbi of Bellevue's Temple B'nai Torah, Mirel has served there since 1985. Previously, he was rabbi at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle.

He was educated at Reed College, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Washington, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College.

The author of "Stepping Stones to Jewish Spiritual Living," Mirel has served as president of the Washington State Jewish Historical Society, the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, University Kiwanis, Washington State Coalition of Rabbis, and is a founder of the Jewish Archives at UW. He has lectured at most colleges in the state and at many local churches and mosques.

For more information and directions, click here.

26 April 2011

Southern California: Gurs concentration camp, May 1

Holocaust Memorial Day will be commemorated by the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley (JGSCV) on Sunday, May 1.

Speaker Werner Frank will speak on this little-known first massive Jewish deportation to Camp de Gurs in 1940.

The meeting - co-sponsored with Temple Adat Elohim - runs from 1.30-3.30pm, at 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. There is no admission fee.

Gauleiters Robert Wagner and Joseph Bürckel, administrative heads of the States of Baden and the Pfalz/Saar, sought to be the first among their Nazi cohorts to make their territories Judenrein (free of Jews). They had engineered a massive expulsion of over 6,500 Jews to Camp de Gurs, located in unoccupied Vichy France. The event became known as the Wagner-Bürckel Aktion and was offered by the Gauleiters as their gift to the Führer on October 23, 1940.

The relocation of Jews to the Gurs concentration camp became only an intermediate step prior to the infamous "Final Solution" which was pronounced in January 1942. This Nazi inspired annihilation program triggered yet a second round of transports that would move the incarcerated from Gurs to the Parisian suburb of Drancy, an assembly point where the victims faced a final deportation to the death camp of Auschwitz.
Frank will delve into the background of the historical events that led to the Aktion, and recount the impact of this cataclysm on his hometown of Eppingen, as he relates the tribulations and ultimate fate encountered by his widely located family in the State of Baden.

He is a founding member, former board member, former JGSCV newsletter, and a member of JGSLA. He was one of the founders of GERSIG (the German Special Interest Group of JewishGen) and has written articles for ROOTS, Maajan, Avotaynu and Stammbaum.

He has been researching his family’s history, amassing a genealogical database of more than 33,000 names, and published his family history ("Legacy: The Saga of a German-Jewish Family over Time and Circumstance," Avotaynu 2003).

For more information and directions, click here.

22 April 2011

London: 'Sounds of Silence' Lithuania exhibit opens May 5

A free exhibit - Sounds of Silence - is dedicated to the annihilated Jewish communities of Lithuania, and will open May 5, at the Spiro Ark Centre in London. It will run through June 17.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm. The Center is located at 25-26 Enford St., London W1.

Photographs capture the images of the cemeteries, prayer houses, and other buildings and sites, portraying the remnants of the Jewish golden age in Lithuania.

Attendees will learn about the Yiddish and Lithuanian names of towns and villages where Jewish inhabitants made up a large proportion of the inhabitants - if not the majority of the population in the 19th-20th centuries.

For more information on Spiro Ark, click here.

21 April 2011

Michigan: Success & Strategies, May 1

Genealogical success stories and strategies are on the program for the Jewish Genealogical Society's next meeting on Sunday, May 1.

The meeting begins at 1.30pm at the Farmington Hills Library Main Branch, 32737 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills. Admission: Members, free; others, $5.

Three JGSMi members will relate start and subsequent research in Jewish genealogical pursuits. Hear them recount their experiences as they share their successes and tips.

Jonathan Haber
will discuss what he has accomplished researching his grandmother’s nine siblings and their descendants.

Richard Jaeger
has discovered many relatives he didn’t know a thing about through a large collection of photographs he received.

Alexandra Goldberg
will talk about her breakthrough in finding the missing link affirming her descendancy from a rabbinical family with possible roots to King David.

For more information and directions, click here.

17 April 2011

New Jersey: 'MyHeritage Super Search Engine,' April 27

The Jewish Genealogical Society of North Jersey will host MyHeritage.com's chief genealogist for a sesson on the site's super search egengine on April 27.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm at the YM-YWHA of Wayne (New Jersey). The library will be open at 7pm. There is no admission fee.

MyHeritage.com's chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz will speak on "Finding relatives in one click: using the MyHeritage Genealogy Super Search Engine," an advanced tool for online genealogical research.
The site's Super Search Engine which allows users to cover effortlessly, in a single search, 1500+ genealogy databases and relevant online repositories, which cannot be searched by regular search engines like Google.

For more information and directions, click here for the JGS of North Jersey site.

15 April 2011

New York City: Ethiopian Jewish Film Festival starts May 15

The 8th Sheba Film Festival begins in New York on May 15.

This festival showcases films showcasing the culture and heritage of Ethiopian Jews.

Films this year include:

  • Across the River
Moshe Rahamim (Tesgau Mahari) carries a great burden. For years he has been explaining and preaching, and yet, the pervasive HIV virus keeps killing in his community. Against the “silencing” policy of the Public Health Authority and the denial of the Ethiopian community, Moshe sets out to expose the disease and stop it from spreading.  He goes back to Ethiopia, where he finds thousands of Ethiopians, waiting for years in compounds, where they are exposed to the HIV virus, to fulfill their dream and immigrate to Israel.

  • Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean
Living in the lingering wake of the Idi Amin regime of terror and intolerance, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Ugandan coffee farmers challenged historical and economic hurdles by forming “Delicious Peace” Cooperative. Their mission was to build harmonious relationships and economic development, and they are succeeding. Partnering with a Fair Trade US roaster, the farmers’ standard of living is improving, peace is flourishing, and their messages of peace and fair wages are spreading to their coffee customers in the US.

New York Premiere of
  • Twilight Revelations: Episodes in the Life & Times of Emperor Haile Selassie
Ethiopia’s last emperor Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) is to this day revered by the million-strong Rastafarian community. Yemane I Demissie’s documentary explores and analyzes watershed events during the reign of the Ethiopian emperor.  Using a wealth of archival footage and photographs, the film reexamines the imperial administration through the eyes of numerous individuals who played important roles in the monarchy.The observations and narratives of these individuals shed new light on the personality, leadership style and humanity of the last and final Ethiopian emperor.

  • Millennium Ethiopia
Ethiopia enters the new millennium on September 11, 2007 nearly eight years after the rest of the world. The celebrations are riotous.  Desaly Goshu left his birthplace of Ethiopia seventeen years ago. As a young boy, his family immigrated to Israel for the opportunity to live in their holy land. Now for the first time, Desaly is returning to Ethiopia to
remember his past and to celebrate the coming of a new era.

  • These are My Names
Ethiopian Jews’ multiple names reflect the richness, wisdom and beauty of their culture — and every name tells a story. In the film, young Ethiopian Israelis share their journeys toward their names: stories of love and connection, survival and loss, anger and pride. The characters’ original names – changed without their consent upon arrival in Israel – take them back to their childhoods in mountain villages, to the hunger and fear in Sudan, to longing for loved ones who died or disappeared on the journey to Israel, to denial of their identity…and reclamation of their roots.

There is also a related art exhibit, "The Many Faces of Yisrael," with an opening reception on June 5, and running through June 26.

For more information on the film festival, locations, dates, times and admission, click here.

Library of Congress: Personal Archiving Day, April 30

The Library of Congress will hold a free public "Pass It On: Personal Archiving Day" on Saturday, April 30.

The event, from 11am-2pm, will provide information about preserving personal and family photographs in digital and non-digital forms. Reservations are not needed.

Library staff will be on hand to talk directly with individuals about how to manage and preserve their pictorial treasures. There will also be videos and printed information for participants.

The event will take place in Room 119 of the Jefferson Building, 1st Street S.E., between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. For more information on visiting the LOC, click here.

This event is part of the LOC celebration of Preservation Week (April 24-30), a joint initiative of the Library of Congress, American Library Association, Institute for Museum and Library Services and others. It highlights libraries and other collecting institutions as excellent sources of preservation information.

“It is a great pleasure for us to be able to help families preserve their photograph collections,” said Laura Campbell, Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives. “Digital technology in particular provides new challenges and opportunities to keeping photographs accessible over time and across generations.”

Dr. Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services, says ”Many of the collections currently held by the Library of Congress came originally from personal collectors It is in the best interest of the Library to help families preserve memorabilia that help trace the history of our communities and nation.”
Learn more about the event and sign up for free digital preservation updates here.For a short video of the event, click here.

10 April 2011

Geneabloggers: 12 new genblogs discovered

Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.com has discovered another 12 genealogy blogs this week.

With these new additions, there are now 1,844 genealogy blogs at the site.

See the complete list here, but here are some of the highlights of his post today.

This week's crop includes blogs on cemeteries, individual family history, Canada, Indiana, a professional genealogist, a genealogy society and a genealogy library.

A Grave Curiosity
Cemetery blog

David Suddarth is a genealogist from St. Paul, Minnesota who enjoys exploring old cemeteries. He also has a genealogy research blog, Ancestral Journeys, and a genealogy website, DWS Genealogy.
A Patient Genealogist
Individual family history (GEISZLER, COMFORT, BROWN, LONG)

Adventures In Brown County Genealogy
Genealogical society blog, Indiana genealogy, Professional genealogist
Authored by the Indiana Genealogical Society’s County Genealogist for Brown County, Indiana.
Branches of OUR Tree
Individual family history

Written by Bret Petersen who developed a love of family history research at a young age. He's the webmaster of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group, a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and serves on the  Utah Genealogical Association’s Education Committee and is working towards professional genealogist accreditation. He has an online family history site where he shares information with his relatives. He loves teaching and helping others learn all they can about using technology in researching their family history.
Collecting Dead Relatives and Live Cousins!
Individual family history
"I love history (thanks Dad!). I love a mystery. I have an inquiring mind. I love a good story. I see dead people (not really, I was on a roll….) Researching family history encompasses all of these traits. It really is a natural for me"
Family History Nuggets
Individual family history
Kevin Huigens is an amateur genealogist and family historian. "I love the detective work and research that goes into tracking down details on my ancestors lives. I bash my head against the brick walls until they come down. I also enjoy writing and my blog is a great way to practice. I try to post all of the interesting little pieces of family history I turn up. I occasionally use the many blogging prompts for genealogists to spur me into blogging action."
Finding Kline
Individual family history
On November 6, 1965, Gerald Kline (24) and his wife Linda (20) were traveling down the highway near Fresno, California when a car traveling in the opposite direction crossed lanes and collided with them head-on. Gerald, Linda and their 13-month old, Theresa Robin, were all killed. Gerald’s two young sons, Jerry (4) and Paul (3), who were playing on the floor in the back seat, were the only Kline survivors.

I am Courtney, daughter of Jerry Kline. This blog is the story of my efforts to find out everything I can about my grandparents. My dad doesn’t know much about his family. He can’t remember anything before the accident. I want to know who there were, how they fell in love, who their friends were. I want to know everything.
Canadian genealogy, Individual family history
The author has been an avid genealogy and family history researcher for 30 years, and has served as Calgary Family History Centre research assistant for 12 years, and director (2001-2004).
KHCPL Genealogy & Local History Department
Genealogy library blog, Indiana genealogy
This is blog of the Genealogy & Local History Department of the Kokomo-Howard County (Indiana) Public Library. It will promote genealogy events in the department and highlight breaking genealogy news.
Remembering Those Who Came Before Us
Individual family history (COLMAN)

Dates are only the skeleton of the stories which should be told about the ordinary or extraordinary lives of our ancestors. Finding clues to how they lived puts flesh on those bones and makes the old photographs glow with life.
Votes for Women: “Spirit of 1776″ Suffrage Campaign Wagon
Individual family history
The suffrage campaign wagon used by Edna Buckman Kearns on Long Island and in New York City parades is an example of the extensive use of “visual rhetoric” used by the suffragists in addition to the written and spoken word. This wagon also tapped into the tradition of the American Revolution by the question posed whenever Edna spoke in public: “If taxation without representation was tyranny in 1776, why not in 1913?” The wagon’s name, the “Spirit of 1776,” also was a crowd pleaser.
Who Knew?
Individual family history (GUNZENDORFER, WALLER)
I started researching the Gunzendorfers about a year ago and have branched out in so many directions with the help of my partner-in-genealogy, Jan. I’ve learned that my 5th great grandfather on my mother’s side, Ashbel Waller, served in the Revolutionary War. And his grandson, Emery Waller, (my 3rd great grandfather) served in the Civil War. I’ve learned that just like my grandmothers told me when we gave our daughter the middle name of Rebecca, both of their grandmothers really were named Rebecca (Steen and Waller). I’ve learned that my dad’s family really are Jewish and that the Jews in California have been studied and researched – a lot. And while I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet, I’ve learned that there really might not be any Gunzendorfers left in the United States. Who knew Mom might be right?
Read more about each new-found blog at the post link above or at each individual blog link.

07 April 2011

Sacramento: 'The French Connection,' April 17

On the menu at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento is the "French Connection," with Susanne Levitsky, on Sunday, April 17.

The program begins at 10am, at Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright St., Sacramento.

A third-generation Californian whose great-grandfather arrived in California from France in 1870 and settled in Yolo County, Susanne will speak on her family's emigration and trace their lives through WWII. She will also discuss the fate of many French Jews during the war.

She will include her trip to France last fall and offer some suggestions for Jewish visitors to Paris.

In the fourth grade, Susanne began writing to a French cousin and became interested in genealogy through handwritten family trees compiled by French relatives. She spent a year in college at the University of Bordeaux and has returned to France numerous times to visit relatives and track down more details of her family's history.

For more information, click on the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento.

Washington DC: 'Women in WWII,' dual program, April 17

Women in World War II is the topic in a dual program presented by the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington on Sunday, April 17.

The program is in two parts at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virgina.

From 11am-1pm, the first part is an intermediate workshop on "Women's World War II Resistance," presented by Patti Maslinoff. It is open only to JGSGW members and is free.

Following a short business meeting, the second part begins at 1.30pm. Davi Walders will read from her book and tell the stories of women throughout Europe whose heroic acts fighting fascism during the Holocaust saved thousands of lives. This part is free to JGSGW members and first-time attendees ($5 for others).

See below for more details on both programs.

Maslinoff's program - My Journey in Genealogy: Tips, How-To's & Rewards - is a two-hour multimedia presentation packed with resources, helpful hints and motivation for genealogists primarily at the intermediate level, although she says even beginners will find much information useful.

She will share some insights, joys and frustrations from 15 years of researching family history.

Included will be techniques she developed for improving research, data collection, organization and presentation, with valuable tips that only come from experience. Also in the presentation is a focus on digital technology and its tools, such as scanners and new software that can help make unreadable documents more legible.

Maslinoff will demonstrate video and audio clips during her own genealogical journey, and will discuss preparation for and conducting video-recorded oral history interviews. Attendees will learn about common mistakes made by beginners intermediate and even advanced researchers.

Ms. Maslinoff’s effusive enthusiasm and involvement with Jewish genealogy will be a motivation to all attendees. She teaches detective skills that will enable us to uncover the records, facts and other information about our families that generate those thrilling “Aha” moments that we treasure. Registration: Pre-registration required. Class is limited to 40 students. Register here
The main program -Women’s World War II Resistance - with writer and educator Davi Walders, will discuss what led her to research and write a moving collection of stories about woman throughout Europe whose heroic acts fighting fascism during the Holocaust saved thousands of lives.

She will read from her newly-published book ("Woman Against Tyranny: Poems of Resistance During the Holocaust;" Clemson University Digital Press).

The book tells the stories of Jewish, Christian and Muslim women who resisted in many ways, from helping others escape, to parachuting into hostile territory, to providing translation support and many other actions.

She will share stories of those who survived and those who perished - known as well as unknown. Included are Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, Emilie Schindler, Baroness Germaine de Rothschild and others.

The session will address the question of why women's stories are so often unknown. Walders spent 15 years researching, traveling, and writing this collection. These women’s stories take place in such countries as Germany, Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Slovakia, Albania, Greece, and elsewhere. The session will include discussion and a book-signing.
Walders' poetry and prose have appeared in more than 200 publications including CCAR Journal, Conservative Judaism, JOFA Journal, Judaism, Lilith and Midstream. She received Hadassah of Greater Washington's Myrtle Wreath Award for her work at NIH and its Children's Inn. For more biographical information, click here.

For more information and directions, click on the JGSGW website.

03 April 2011

Connecticut: 'An 800-year Sephardic Journey,' April 17

Dr. Daniel Laby will be speaking on his family's eight century journey from Aragon (Spain) to Massacusetts, for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut on Sunday, April 17.

The program starts at 1.30pm, at the Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield Street, Middletown.

Dan and I share some roots in Lerida (Lleida) in Catalunya, the same great researcher (Maria Jose Surribas) and a Persian connection. The Lerida archives provided him with a document dated 1204, while our earliest document from the same archive is dated 1353.

Dan is a great speaker and his family's story is fascinating. A few years ago, his family went on a roots trip to Spain. He presented a multi-media program on that trip to the Jewish Family Research Association (JFRA) in Israel. I was privileged to also meet his parents during the 2006 IAJGS conference in New York.

"From Aragon to Massachusetts" follows Dan's family history (Laby de la Caballeria or Cavalleria) from western Massachusetts and New York’s Lower East Side back to the Ottoman Empire and pre-Inquisition Spain.

Dan will describe how he traced his family to 13th-century Spain using both modern DNA analysis and microfilms. He shares his story because he hopes to make Sephardic Jewish genealogy more widely known.

An assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Dan is also a sports vision specialist, working with the Boston Red Sox and several other professional and Olympic teams. His search for his family predates his medical practice.

For more information, click on the JGS of Connecticut website.

Dan's story is worth telling to many more family historians and genealogists, and not only because it is Sephardic story. If your JGS can convince him to speak - if he has time - it will be worth it.

Washington DC: Jews, magic in Medici Florence, April 13

Edward Goldberg will discuss his new book, "Jews and Magic in Medici Florence" (University of Toronto Press) at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, April 13.

The free event - open to the public - begins at noon in the African and Middle Eastern Division Reading Room, Room 220, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, Washington, DC. Tickets are not required, but seating is limited. The program is sponsored by the Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division and the European Division.
Between 1615 and 1620, Benedetto Blanis (c.1580-c.1647), a Jewish scholar and businessman in the Florentine ghetto, sent 196 letters to Don Giovanni dei Medici (1567-1621), an influential member of the ruling family.

Blanis served Don Giovanni as palace librarian—organizing and cataloging the library’s contents, acquiring books from various sources and sharing his patron’s most esoteric interests. Together they ventured into dangerous and often forbidden territory—astrology, alchemy and the Kabbalah.

Discovered nearly four centuries later by art historian Edward Goldberg during his research in the Medici Granducal Archive, Blanis’ letters provide a portrait of a man struggling to survive in a strange no-man’s land between the Jewish ghetto and the Medici court. The letters also reveal the bond between two figures who strove to explain the world through the language of magical power.
Edward Goldberg holds a Ph.D. in modern history (Oxford University, 1979) and taught in Harvard University's Department of Fine Arts (1981-87). He has published widely in the course of 30 years of archival research in Florence. In 1995, Goldberg founded the Medici Archive Project to provide worldwide public access to the historical data in the Medici Granducal Archive through a fully searchable database at www.medici.org .

Established by Grand Duke Cosimo I in 1569, the archive of the Medici Grand Dukes offers the most complete record of any princely regime in Renaissance and Baroque Europe. The 3 million letters contained in more than 6,000 volumes richly documenting more than 200 years of human history (1537-1743).

02 April 2011

Seattle: 'Jews, Genetics & the DNA Shoah Project,' April 11

"Jews, Genetics, and the DNA Shoah Project" with Matthew Kaplan is the next program of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State, on Monday, April 11.

Doors open at 7pm for the 7.30pm program at the Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 East Mercer Way, Mercer Island. Admission: Free for JGSWS members and one guest per year; others, $5.

Kaplan will present research findings from studies of Jewish genetics and Jewish population history. He’ll start with a short review of some basic principles of human genetics and the biology behind DNA testing.

He'll also talk about the DNA Shoah Project, a unique humanitarian effort to reunite survivors of the Holocaust.

Following the lecture there will be time for questions. Volunteers will be on hand to assist those interested in contributing their DNA (free) to the DNA Shoah Project.

Kaplan is a staff scientist at the University of Arizona Genetics Core laboratory (UAGC), which provides genetic testing services for academic researchers and the private sector. He personally developed the genetic testing pipeline for FamilyTreeDNA, the leader in the genetic genealogy field.

The laboratory currently provides genetic testing services for FamilyTreeDNA and for public participants of National Geographic’s and IBM’s Genographic Project.

Kaplan has worked with Dr. Michael Hammer on research projects using the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA to investigate the population genetics and population history of Jewish populations for more than 10 years. Kaplan and Hammer are working together on the DNA Shoah Project.
For more information and directions, see the JGSWS website.

Southern California: Orange County genealogy programs to begin

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles is expanding programming south into the South Bay area to reach genealogists who don't want to drive long distances into the city.

JGSLA' programming chair Pamela Weisberger told Tracing the Tribe that the the first two meetings scheduled will be:

-- Thursday, April 14
Warren Blatt (of JewishGen) will speak on "Abram to Zlata: An Introduction to Jewish Given Names" at the Toyota Car Museum of Torrance, 19600 Van Ness Avenue, Torrence, CA 90501.

-- Tuesday, June 14

Daniel Horowitz (MyHeritage.com's chief genealogist) will speak on Tuesday, June 14 about "Planting a Family Tree Online with MyHeritage.com," at Congregation Shir Chadash, 6440 Del Amo Blvd., Ladewood 90713.

Pamela says that more programming will be offered in Orange County and South Bay to reach more Jewish genealogists during the coming year.

For more information and directions, click on the JGSLA website.

01 April 2011

Northern California: 'When Leopold met Lena,' April 11

Pamela Weisberger will present a fascinating tale of 1890s' marriage, divorce and deception at the Los Altos branch of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, on Monday, April 11.

The meeting begins at 7pm, at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road Rm. 5/6, in Los Altos Hills. The meeting is free.

"When Leopold Met Lena: Marriage, Divorce, and Deception in the 1890s" utilizes newspaper resources, court transcripts and more to reveal family secrets.

First came love, then came marriage—but on the heels of the baby in the baby carriage came accusations of adultery and two trials in New York City’s Court of Common Pleas. The unexpected discovery of a divorce decree in the 1890's New York Times “News of the Courts” led to scandal-ridden court transcripts held at the NYC municipal archives
and revelations of a family secret.

Beginning in Czestochowa, Poland, and Cracow, Austria, and continuing to Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Little Rock, Arkansas, the tumultuous, romantic, and litigious world of immigrant ancestors is brought to life in court records, graveyard inscriptions, newspaper articles, city directories, censuses, and vital records.

Enjoy the ride as Besser v. Besser is deconstructed and learn how present-day genealogical research can be used to solve 19th-century mysteries.

Documenting her family’s history for more than 30 years, Pam has conducted research in Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary with a specialty in newspaper research. She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.S. from Boston University.

For more information and directions, click here.