31 July 2011

Boston: Jewish genealogy nights at NEHGS

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston will be holding free Jewish genealogy nights at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in September.

No registration is required for the free sessions. The first is set for 6-8pm on September 21, at the NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston. It appears that the sessions will be held at the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), New England Archives, located on the fifth floor of the NEHGS. The AJHS archival materials are available to researchers - no fee for access.

Interested in researching your Jewish genealogy? Have questions or don’t know where to start?

The NEHGS is open on Wednesday evenings, when JGSGB members are available to help new and experienced researchers look into their family histories, answer questions, assist with brick walls and provide resource information. Twice each month, experienced genealogists will be at the AJHS reference desk. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, contact Judi Garner at the AJHS.

See the JGSGB website for additional news and upcoming meetings.

For those who really like to plan ahead, note that the JGSGB will co-host, with IAJGS, the 2013 conference - the 33rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy - from 4-9 August 2013 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston.

Cleveland: 'Rocks, readings, rubbings' - August 3

Planning to visit your family cemeteries? What do you need to know to prepare? What do you need to know when you get there?

The next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland -at 7.30pm, Wednesday, August 3 - will focus on just that.

Cynthia Turk will speak at Menorah Park in the Miller Board Room, 27100 Cedar Road, Beachwood.

A member of the Cleveland-area Computer Aided Genealogy Group, Ohio Genealogical Society, Columbiana County Genealogical Society and East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society, Turk is past president of the Lake County Genealogical Society and North Eastern Ohio Computer-Aided Genealogy Society, and served as chair of the Lake County Cemetery Inscriptions Project.

She will present “Rocks, Readings, and Rubbings; Getting the Most From Your Cemetery Research.”

For more information, visit the JGS of Cleveland. While at their website, check out their databases and other Jewish genealogical research tools.

30 July 2011

Geneabloggers: New blogs

We've missed a few weeks of the new geneablogs discovered by Thomas MacEntee over at Geneabloggers.com.

While many spotlighted new blogs focus on individual family history, there are quite a few in other categories and even some unique ones.

Here are a few that we found most interesting, along with the links to the past few editions for more information on many others.

Genealogy education

Sue Beus has a passion for genealogy work. After years of research she has developed a unique system to easily organize and preserve your family history.

Heraldry: Musings on an Esoteric Topic
Genealogy education

I’m an Academic Herald. I’m not a “real” herald; I don’t design and register people’s coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. (You can find some of my books about heraldry and a list of my articles and presentations about heraldry at “Our Website” below.) And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you’ll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to ask or let me know.

Youth Genealogy & Historical Research
Genealogy education

This blog is designed to be a community blog where genealogists, family historians, and other lovers of history can share tips and resources to aid in the teaching of genealogy and historical research to young people. This blog will also highlight news about youth involved in genealogy and historical research projects. Youth Genealogy and Historical Research blog is owned by Genealogist and Family Historian Drusilla Pair of http://www.professordru.com/  and http://www.findyourfolks.blogspot.com/.

Forgotten Faces and Long Ago Places
Photography blog

As an offshoot of two other blogs Rogers Family History and Teresa’s Tangled Roots, the author has stumbled into a collection of vintage photographs. "It has always disturbed me how many thousands and thousands of 'ancestor' photos are out there in antique stores and on eBay that no one knows who they belong to.  As a genealogist who would give anything to have pictures of her ancestors, it just kills me to see these orphan pictures unclaimed my anyone. These are someone’s family, their ancestors and I wonder sometimes as I look at them if one of them could possibly be one of my ancestors.  As a collector of anything and everything, I have started buying up some of these photos and felt I needed to start sharing these somehow.  Most have no names – why didn’t people put names on the back of these pictures?!?  I will try to post many of the many photos I have, perhaps someone will recognize one or two.  If you do, please let me know, I would be happy to reunite these photographs (people) with their descendants if contacted."

Storytree Blog (from new site StoryTree.me)
Genealogy vendor, Writing Your Family History
Family stories form an important part of a person’s identity – stories about love, friendship, childhood dreams, hardships, triumphs, and the ongoing journey that is life. Too often these stories remain unshared and are forgotten before they can be recorded. Do you wish there were a better way to share meaningful stories with your family?

We at StoryTree feel the same way and this is what has driven us to come up with a solution to this problem. The StoryTree team is dedicated to help you preserve your precious family memories and share them with the ones you love. As time passes, your captured stories come to represent a bond across generations and become invaluable to your family’s collective identity. Your family history has finally found a place to reside.
Storytree was launched out of the Stanford d.school where we discovered a deep unmet need using the design thinking process. We hope that through StoryTree we can achieve our goals to make a positive difference in the world through good design.

Genealogy education

The site is dedicated to helping others uncover their family history and form an appreciation for the past and those who came before. The Genealogy Mom has been researching genealogical histories for nearly twenty years and has assisted people from all across the United States. We hope to offer insight not found anywhere else and teach others how to move forward in their family research. We are also available to help with research if needed. Please check out the sight today and let us know if we can help.
Past editions of New Blog posts at Geneabloggers.com:

Calling all bloggers: Required reading!

What kind of blogger are you?

Tracing the Tribe doesn't mean the category (e.g., geneabloggers), but personality type.

According to Stephen Guise of Deep Existence, who guest-posted on Problogger.net, there are at least 23 types, including the Machine, Ninja, Social Engineer, Name-Dropper, Comedian, Guru, Disruptor - even the Beloved - and some that Guise decided not to write about.

For each, he gives pros and cons.

The last time we checked, there were some 49 comments.

To read all about the 23, click here.

Consider subscribing to the Problogger newsetter which often offers articles of blogging interest. Check out the site's various sections.

Happy reading!

Television: Friday night at the Goodmans

It's not quite "Who Do You Think You Are" but "Friday Night Dinner" may strike some familiar chords with Tracing the Tribe's readers.

The new UK series will premiere on BBC America tonight (Saturday, July 30).

Read an interview on Collider.com with actor Simon Bird and creator/producer Robert Popper as they describe their own childhoods and the differences between American and UK Jewish families.

According to the interview, there's a creepy neighbor, a grandmother in a bikini, embarassing parents and more.

Here's one bit offered by Bird who plays one of the two brothers who get together with their family every Shabbat evening.

"I don’t think Robert is out to specifically write a Jewish sitcom. I think he wanted to write a sitcom about his family, and his family just happens to be Jewish, but they’re quite relaxed Jews. Some of the Jewish customs don’t really come into it, just because they’re not a big deal for Robert’s family. But, I’m a massive fan of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I don’t know if they’re over-the-top, though. On Seinfeld, Judaism didn’t really come up much. It does more in Curb, only for the occasional storyline, here and there. In America, you’ve had decades of humor being fused with Jewish humor. In England, we just don’t have that. Our humor is not infused with Jewish humor. It’s completely different. So, whenever I see Jewish people depicted, they’ve always been done in either an over-the-top way, or a sentimental way. This family is Jewish, and they meet on Friday night. Their candles are lit, but they’re not going to do the whole thing. The way they talk is modern British. It’s second generation and third generation Jewish people. Jewish people will recognize they’re Jewish, but non-Jewish people might not. They might, if they know some Jewish people, but it’s not an issue. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you just enjoy it.
Read the rest of the interview at the link above.
There's another short review here.

10 July 2011

Yiddish Center: Audio books in Yiddish

The Yiddish Book Center and the Jewish Public Library of Montreal produced the audiobook Kinder-yorn (Childhood Years) as part of Y.Y. Trunk's seven-volume Poylen (Poland: Memories and Images).

The work is considered one of the most important memoirs of Jewish Polish life. The author began the work two days after he arrived in the US in March 1941.

According to the Yiddish Book Center, "He knew that Europe’s Jews were facing an unimaginable disaster, and his book has been called a 'portable literary gravestone for a destroyed community.'"

Two Fellows of the Yiddish Book Center have returned with an additional 200 Yiddish audio books on tape. They will be digitized and made available for free online.

Poyln has also been translated into English and published by the Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada.

For those who can read Yiddish, click here . Sample the audio book here.

09 July 2011

Newark NJ: Jewish Chronicle searchable online

Tracing the Tribe's TALALAY family became variously TOLLIN, TALLIN, TOLL, TAYLOR and FEINSTEIN.

The TOLLIN and TALLIN families settled in Newark, New Jersey (two brothers). Another TOLLIN branch was in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1899, and in Boston a few years later. TAYLOR went to Cleveland, and four TALALAI brothers went from Mogilev to Baku to Philadelphia where they took their sister's husband's name of FEINSTEIN and have been lost since.

A new online resource is the Jewish Chronicle of Newark NJ, which can be accessed at GenealogyBank.

The records include all sorts of social events ("hatch, match and dispatch"), community events, news of immigrant associations, local and international issues and much more.

GenealogyBank is for-fee, but the free search will produce small bits of the articles, usually enough to learn if it is relevant for your purposes.

Tracing the Tribe believes that all for-fee sites should offer free searching with snippets of the results. Learning what a site offers is the first step in deciding whether or not to allocate funds for that subscription!

A quick search showed that there were more than 6,000 mentions of TOLLIN, a few of TALLIN. Many of the first variant were from long before my great-grandfather Aron Peretz Talalai arrived there in 1905, but the ones from that time are very interesting, with many relevant results. The paper was published from 1921 until 1943, covering a major portion of the time that my family lived in that city.

GenealogyBank's resources cover newspapers in many states, and Tracing the Tribe found known family mentions in Massachusetts, Pennsyvania and Delaware publications.

Intrigued by anything with a Springfield origin, I found very detailed information on Max Tollin (Mendl Talalai), the first Jewish builder in the town, who constructed the first two homes for the aging, the Kodimoh synagogue and its cemetery. His children were also seen in many results.

In Newark, we saw results for the Mohliver Benevolent Society - Mohliver referring to Mogilev, Belarus - founded by friends and cousins of my great-grandfather, Aron Peretz Talalai TOLLIN.

Not to be outdone, the TOLLIN records in Philadelphia and Delaware were also quite detailed.

Long ago, when I was attempting to track down Mogilev-origin Tollins, I thought I was on the right track with Aron Tollin. However, he told me they were really Tolchinsky. The family's petition for a name change was one of the records in the results, confirming his story.

Where else can you access this paper? The Newark Public Library also has copies, as does the Jewish Historical Society of MetroWest. There is also some information on the Jewish Chronicle ot Chronicling America: Historical American Newspapers.

For more information, click here for a recent NJ Jewish News story about the archive.

Since GenealogyBank is free to search, what are you waiting for? In fact, there is now a discounted subscription  offer available now.

Wexler Oral History Project goes to camp!

Some of Tracing the Tribe's best summers were at camp. The memories last a lifetime.

Even those who only spent long weekends or a week here or there at various youth organization activities went home imbued with a sense of camaraderie, new knowledge and singing essential songs together.

The National Yiddish Book Center offers an interesting look at Jewish summer camps. There are videos of oral history interviews, links to the full interview texts and to the Wexler Oral History Project.

Summer camps, then and now, play an important role in identity for American Jews. Various studies of camps - such as one on the Conservative movement's Ramah system of camps - indicate that children who attend Jewish summer camps develop a much stronger identity with their heritage and also are more likely to become leaders in their communities and to maintain a more Jewish lifestyle.

According to the Yiddish Book Center's link:
Among the camps mentioned:
  • The Sholem Aleichem Folks Institute, known for its commitment to Yiddish literature, founded Boiberik in 1923.
  • Camp Kinderland was founded and was eventually associated with the Ordn Shuln with communist leanings. (The photo above left is of Kinderland)
  • The Workmen's Circle founded their socialist summer camp, Kinder Ring.
  • The Farband, Labor Zionists, created Kinderwelt around the same time.
  • Camp Hemshekh was the Bund's summer camp, founded in 1959 by Holocaust survivors.
Kinderland and Kinder Ring still exist but in different locations.

As everyone who has ever attended a Jewish summer camp knows, each was its own world with its own family. Shared experiences with social values, fun, Jewish culture, shows, plays, camp songs and Shabbat ceremonies all contributed to "family" life. And everyone thought that their camp was the best of all of them.

The Wexler Oral History Project interviewed campers of diverse ages about their summer experiences, including friendships, memories, values and loves.

See the videos at the link above, visit the full texts of these and more at the project's digital archive here.

Learn more here on the Wexler Oral History Project.
When it came to choosing a camp for your children, there were a number of factors to weigh: language, socio-political views, location, and cost. Many New York Yiddishist organizations created summer camps to help people get out of "The Big City" for the summer.

08 July 2011

Family reunion contest: Winners named

When you read about contests, what do you do? Do you think you'll never win and forget about it?

What if the grand prize is a free family reunion?

For one lucky winner, her entry means she will soon meet with a cousin from Denmark, while two runners-up also received recognition for connections to family in South Africa and Norway.

MyHeritage.com and Family Tree Magazine partnered for the free family reunion contest in June.

Winners were recently named in a post on the Family Tree Magazine blog.

Patricia Skubis was the grand prize winner of the free family reunion. Her long-lost Danish relative Tage will travel to the United States so they can meet in person for the first time.

She will also receive a year-long VIP membership to Family Tree Magazine and a three-year Premium-Plus subscription with MyHeritage.com.

Skubis' Danish family immigrated to the US in 1888, while another branch had settled in Australia in 1873. Skubis made contact nearly three decades ago with someone from the down-under branch, but they couldn't find the connection.

 However, that was then, and today we have the power of technology.

There will be more detailed coverage in a future issue of the magazine, but here's some of it.

In March 2011, a Danish family researching THYGESEN posted information on MyHeritage.com and Skubis received a Smart Match notice. She wasn't sure about it because the parents' names were the same, but not the children. She asked for more details and was then able to confirm the match.

I went online to the Danish Church Records [on the Danish archives’ website] and found Tyge Jørgensen’s children between Neils Madsen Thygesen, born in 1794, and my great-great-grandfather Martin, born in 1805. What a great surprise I received when I found that the next son after Neils was Peder Andersen Thygesen, the great-great-grandfather of Alison Rogers.

Tage and I are fourth cousins once removed. Our great-great-grandfathers, along with Alison’s, were brothers.
Runners-up were Linda Mehlinger and Pam Ingermanson, who will each receive a digital subscription to Family Tree Magazine and a three-year Premium-plus subscription on MyHeritage.com. Read some details at the link above about a Zulu warrior pulling five schoolgirls in a rickshaw and Norwegians in Idaho and Ohio.

According to Diane Haddad of Family Tree Magazine:
Thank you to everyone who entered this contest. Both our team at Family Tree Magazine and our contest partners MyHeritage.com were touched by your stories of reconnecting with family, and we're impressed by your diligent research. You’re truly an inspiration to your fellow family historians!
The next time you read about a family reunion contest, what will YOU do?

Southern California: "Genealogy in the Round," July 17

"Genealogy in the round: Share your successes, failures, artifacts and brick walls" is the theme of the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV), on Sunday, July 17.

The meeting begins at 1.30pm. JGSCV meetings are co-sponsored by, and located at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. Meetings are free.

Come and share a genealogical success, failure, brick wall, or genealogical artifact!

This is YOUR meeting—We all learn from one another—take this opportunity to share your genealogical story—success or failure, ask questions about your brick walls, and more!

Each presenter will have 5-10 minutes to share, depending on the final number of presenters.

To participate in the program, contact JGSCV president Jan Meisels Allen.
For more information or to present at the meeting, contact Jan Meisels Allen.