[USA] American Community Survey To Offer Internet Response

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The American Community Survey is an ongoing statistical survey that samples a small percentage of the population every year to help with economic development.  It is a replacement for the US census long-form . The American Community Survey is performed annually rather once a decade (as is the census)  by sending it to approximately 250,000 American households monthly ( 3 million a year).
 
Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director, announced on December 17 that they will now permit an online response as an option.
 
 
To read more on the American Community Survey go to:
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

[USA] Ohio Department of Health Changing Marriage and Divorce Abstracts Retention

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The [USA] Ohio Department of Health (ODOH) maintains an index of all marriages and divorces registered by Ohio Probate courts and submitted to the ODOH back to 1950. As of January 1, 2013 the ODOH Office of Vital Statistics (ODOH/VS) will change the way marriage and divorce abstracts are filed with them.  Starting January 1, 2013 the ODOH/VS will only maintain two years of marriage and divorce abstracts in their office  (2011 and 2012).  They will continue to maintain and electronic index--the new policy only effects the housing of the physical paper abstracts from 1950 forward.
 
The electronic index is searchable and provided free to the public.  The ODOH/VS will still be able to confirm marriage and divorce dates, the names of the individuals involved and the county where the event took place.
 
While I have a copy of the notice, at the time of writing this notice I was unable to find it on the Department's website.  http://www.odh.ohio.gov/
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Jewish American Heritage Month Theme- May 2013

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM),  is a national commemoration of the contributions that American Jews have made to the fabric the American culture and society. JAHM announced the theme for the May 2013 celebration: American Jews in Entertainment.  Immigrant Jewish entrepreneurs or their sons (like Sam Goldwyn, Jack and Harry Warner, Louis B. Mayer) were integral to the creation of Hollywood.
 
Beginning in January 2013, the JAHM website, www.jahm.us, will be updated with educational resource materials related to the theme American Jews in Entertainment.  Also in January, the JAHM website will roll out “Speaking of American Jewish Heritage,” an online resource listing speakers, musicians, artists and authors whose area of expertise is American Jewish heritage and history.
 
The JAHM website is an interactive clearinghouse for events, programs, and activities nationwide and a resource for school and community leaders. JGSs can submit their events, in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, sign up for email updates, and find out what’s happening in your neighborhood and across the country. See: http://www.jahm.us/events.aspx
 
Another part  of the website is entitled 50 stories from 50 States about unknown famous Jews in history from each state see: http://www.jahm.us/statestories.aspx  Societies may wish to submit a story for consideration.
 
History
 
JAHM recognition was started by President George W. Bush in 2006 as a result of the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish Community leaders resulting in congressional leaders urging then-President Bush to recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture.  The recognition of Jewish American Month has been continued by President Barack Obama.  Jewish American Heritage Month had its origins in 1980 when Congress passed Pub. L. 96-237, which authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating a week in April or May as Jewish Heritage Week.  President Carter issued this first proclamation, Presidential Proclamation 4752,  in April 1980.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(Belarus) NY Orthodontist Cemetery Rehabilitation Project

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

NY Orthodontist Michael Lozman started  a personal mission to restore the cemetery in his father's village in Belarus, Sopotskin, which has spread to help restore other Belarusian villages Jewish cemeteries.  Dr. Lozman realized he could not do this alone and was successful in getting college students from Dartmouth College to help during their summer schedules over several years.  One-third of the participating students are Jewish.  He has started  the Restoration of Eastern European Jewish Cemeteries Project to help restore more Jewish cemeteries and has received requests for restoration in Belarus and Lithuania.

To read more about this go to:  http://tinyurl.com/cntknrt
original url:
 http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-york-orthodontist-restores-jewish-history-one-grave-at-a-time/

 Thank you to Saul Issroff for alerting us to this interesting story.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(Greece) Lost Jewish Headstones Found In Greece

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Greek police said December 20  that 668 fragments of marble headstones and other fragments from Jewish graves destroyed during the Nazi occupation in World War II have been recovered from a plot of land in Thessaloniki Greece. Thessaloniki is Greece's second largest city. The headstones found are dated
from the mid-1800's until World War II. The engraving includes occupations as well as the name of the deceased.  An estimated 60,000 Greek Jews, most of the Jewish-Greek population pre-World War II were killed in the holocaust.

To read more about this find go to: http://tinyurl.com/cywbq5c
original url:
http://news.yahoo.com/lost-jewish-tombstones-found-greece-181312769.html

Thank you to Randy Herschaft, Associated Press  for alerting us to this exceptional find.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) Bnai Brith Transfers Its Archives to the American Jewish Archives

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Last June Bnai Brith archives and its Holocaust collection were transferred to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati,Ohio. It is a discreet collection and not merged in with the other collections at the American Jewish Archives.  Bnai Brith was the first national federated benevolent organization in the United States--it traces American Jewish history from the 19th century into the 20th century--from all facets of American Jewish community.

More information is available at: http://tinyurl.com/a54ujvq
original url:
http://www.bnaibrith.org/8/post/2012/08/bnai-brith-archives-transferred-to-ohio.html

You can access the American Jewish Archives website at:
http://americanjewisharchives.org/genealogy/   Not all of the Bnai Brith
archives are yet searchable.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

[US] Census Resource Guide

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Michael Hait, a well-known professional genealogist, completed a free PDF e-book, called the  United States Census Pathfinder which includes a compilation of available information from government and independent websites about the US census from 1790-1940.  Census information grew each year from the inception in 1790 to 1940--the most recently released census.
The census is an essential tool for every  genealogist. To access the US Census Pathfinder go to: http://tinyurl.com/bnns3bw
original url:  http://haitfamilyresearch.com/pdf_files/Census_Pathfinder.pdf
The Pathfinder is copyrighted.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Ancestry.com Announced Stockholder Approval of Acquisition by Permira

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

December 27, 2012 Ancestry.com announced their stockholders approved the previously announced merger agreement to which a company owned by Permira funds and co-investors will acquire the company.  Permira is a European private equity firm with global reach.   To read the corporate press release
go to: http://tinyurl.com/bu5tdcv
original url:  http://ir.ancestry.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=729910

This is for information only as Ancestry.com is an online family resource that many genealogists are used to using.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Google Blogs of Interest

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Google has blogs that may be of interest to the genealogical world specifically Google Cultural Institute .There are 42 stories-- several that caught my attention include:  The Were Children--Deportation and Rescue of Jewish Children 1940-1945; 19 Kilometers From Auschwitz --The Story of  the Jewish Community of Trezbenia, Poland; The Fate of the Children of Marais, Grandchildren of the Righteous: Ambassadors of Memory, and more that are not specific to the holocaust or to Jewish-specific-issues.
to view the stories go to: http://tinyurl.com/9aans5x
original url:
 http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/#!home:page=1

Thank you to the National Genealogy Society Upfront with NGS to alerting us
to this find.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

JewishGen Awarded the Seton Shields Genealogical Award

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Please join me in congratulating JewishGen for being awarded the November 2012 Seton Shields Genealogical Award. This award is granted by award-winning genealogist Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
( that is not a typo--she married someone not otherwise related with same last name).

In granting the award, Megan stated:  "JewishGen is a valuable resource I've used many times over the years. If you have any Jewish heritage or have ever used the popular Steve Morse website (http://stevemorse.org/), you're already familiar with all JewishGen has to offer, including countless databases and many other tools and resources. If not, I encourage you to visit and explore".

See:  http://tinyurl.com/d958xyv
original url:
http://megansmolenyak.posterous.com/seton-shields-genealogical-grant-awarded-to-j-72010

The monthly Seton Shields award is granted in the name of Megan's late mother.

About the Seton Shields Award:

If you represent an organization which serves the genealogical community at large - or if you serve a smaller community (perhaps you produce a family newsletter, host a website, organize reunions or some such thing) -- and find yourself shy of necessary funds, please consider filling out the form to apply for a small grant.  Megan will review all submissions and periodically select one for a donation.  Megan's goal is one per month.
Submissions will remain active candidates for six months from the date of receipt. She has awarded 150 such grants since May 2000.
To learn more about the Seton Shields award and perhaps apply for one go to:
http://www.honoringourancestors.com/grants.html

I do not know the amount of the awards--but since Megan is funding them herself expect that they are in the smaller range.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Jewish Genetic Diseases Subject of January 6, 2013 JGS Conejo Valley and Ventura County Meeting

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will hold a general meeting, co-sponsored with and located at Temple Adat Elohim, on Sunday, January 6, 2013 1:30-3:30 p.m.at Temple Adat Elohim 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA

The Program:Jewish Genetic Disorders Across the Diaspora: Including Tay Sachs, Gaucher, BRCA1, BRCA 2 Mutations in the Ashkenazi Jewish Population and Genetic Screening for the Persian Jewish Community.Certified genetic counselors will be talking about various Jewish genetic disorders that affect different Jewish populations.  They will talk about
the importance of knowing our family health history-an integral part of genealogy-and the increased risks of inherited diseases of Ashkenazi
(Eastern European) Jews. Included in the discussion will be BRCA testing (breast and ovarian cancer) as well as Tay-Sachs, Gaucher and Familial Dysautonomia in the Ashkenazi Jewish community and a novel genetic screening panel for Persian Jewish community. Find out why some Jewish families would benefit from education, screening and testing for certain disorders.

Speakers: Catherine Quindipan, Certified Genetic Counselor, Study coordinator for the Persian Jewish Genetic Screening Program, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and Gary Frohlich, Certified Genetic Counselor for US Rare Diseases at Genzyme a Sanofi Company.

Our schmoozing corner starts 20 minutes before the program (1:10 p.m.) facilitated by Marion Werle, JGSCV board member.

We will have Categories A & B of our traveling library available beginning at 1:00 PM to shortly after the meeting. The list of books which are in the JGSCV library is located on our website www.jgscv.org under library-traveling.

There is no charge to attend the meeting and all are welcome to attend. Our 2013 membership dues campaign is well underway. Membership forms are available at the meeting, on the jgscv.org website and in our newsletter, Venturing Into Our Past. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family. Dues paid are good through December 2013.

Directions: Take 101 Freeway - exit Rancho Road in Thousand Oaks, go north (if coming from the west, cross Thousand Oaks Blvd ) to E. Hillcrest Drive turn right on E.Hillcrest go about 1.3 miles (just east of Conejo School Road ) Temple is on the right. There are approximately 75 parking spots within the complex. There is no parking on Hillcrest Drive . You may park in the complex or on any of the side streets.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.

For more information, please see the JGSCV website:  www.jgscv.org


Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV



Important Letter from Gary Mokotoff


Friend --

JewishGen is an organization that is guided by individuals determined to light a spark within the hearts and minds of all people who want to know more about their Jewish family heritage.

With the help of more than 1,000 volunteers throughout the world, JewishGen has become a pivotal landmark of the global Jewish community. It is offered as a free public service, as the JewishGen staff and volunteers believe that anyone should have the opportunity to research their Jewish family history, even if they have limited money or technical skills to do so.

With its incredibly valuable databases (currently containing more than 21 million records), networking tools (such as the Family Finder) and projects (such as KehilaLinks and Yizkor book translations), JewishGen has become indispensable to anyone in search of answers about their past.

With this in mind, and with a humble spirit, I urge you to support JewishGen’s important work. YOUR support will help further the growth and success of JewishGen, which has a direct impact upon the global Jewish community.

Act now! Make your credit card contribution at JewishGen’s secure website by clicking here. (All donations received before December 31st will be eligible for full tax benefits for US donors.) If you prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to JewishGen and send it to:

JewishGen
36 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280
USA

I wish you and your family a happy, healthy New Year, and best of luck with your research.

With warm regards,

Gary Mokotoff
Volunteer since 1988
Creator of JewishGen’s Family Finder and Family Tree of the Jewish People
Co-Chair of JewishGen’s Board of Governors

[US] Library of Congress Releases 1,600 Photos From USA WWII Era-Past

Published by: Jan Meisels Allen

The US Library of Congress released over 1,600 color photographs from the USA's  World War II era, past. Usually photographs from that time period were in black and white not  in color.  The images were made between 1939 and 1944.  The  pictures depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with a focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working.
 
To learn more about the exhibit read: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsac/
 
To read an article on the exhibit go to:  http://tinyurl.com/bp64ko3
 
http://tinyurl.com/yvao7a
 
 
 
Thank you to Dick Eastman for alerting us to this article in Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter about this article.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Irish Army Census of 1922 On-Line For Free

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Irish Army Census of 1922 --the year the Irish National Army was formed- just celebrated its 90th anniversary.  The Anglo-Irish Agreement stipulated that with regard to strength,that the force could not exceed the size of the military establishments maintained in Great Britain as that which the population of Ireland bears to the population of Great Britain. Without accurate information, headquarters staff could not adequately estimate pay bills, feed, clothe or procure weapons or even determine how many troops they had at their disposal. By October 1922 the Army Council had decided that a Census of the National Forces would be taken as at midnight 12/13th November.
The census hasn't been transcribed, so you'll need to have some idea of where your relative might have been based in 1922
The census has been placed on the Irish Military Archives Website:
original url:
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Update on Washington State Access to Vital Records

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Last month we learned  the disturbing news that the Washington State Department of Health  was planning on proposing to reduce access to vital records requiring 125 years for birth, 50 years for marriage, death and divorce. The Washington State Public Records Committee meeting was scheduled December 5 to hear the request.
 
 This was met with great concern across the genealogical community and a lot of publicity ensued.  We have been advised that the Department of Health is backing away from their original plans to offer legislation on access to vital records in the upcoming legislative session--however, future legislative plans are unclear.  In addition we have been advised that the Department of Health will be transferring the vital records that under current law are required to be housed in the State Archives--for preservation and access.  The State Archives will have to digitize these records.  When we know more about which years and accessing them it will be reported on this forum.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Western Australia Police Gazette

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The State Library of Western Australia has digitized and put online the Police Gazette of Western Australia from 1876 forward.  It lists all the police activity by year. The information includes a list of people arrested and their sentences, police appointments and promotions, conditional pardons issued to convicts, physical descriptions of convicts, etc.  I tried some "Jewish sounding" names such as Cohen and Levine and received multiple hits.  You can search by surname, place and convict number. 
 
The information is free by going to: http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au/find/eresources/police_gazettes
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee                                                                                               
 

Spain Opens Door To Naturalization for Descendants of Sephardic Jews Who Fled Due to Inquisition

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Five hundred and twenty years after the start of the Inquisition, Spain opened the door to descendants of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors had fled the Iberian Peninsula, forced, in order to live in Spain or its colonies, to choose between exile or conversion to Christianity. Spain officials have promised to speed up the naturalization process for Sephardic Jews who spread through the Diaspora--however, the offer is not simple according to Genie Milgrom, president of the JGS of Greater Miami who is quoted in the article in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune on Sunday December 9. 
 
The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain told  the article's author, Doreen Carvajal, to be naturalized and become citizens, secular bnei anousim (descendants of anousim or crypto Jews)  Jewish applicants whose families had maintained double lives as Catholics must seek religious training and undergo formal conversion to Judaism. The Federation will screen and certify the Sephardic Jewish backgrounds of those who submit applications to obtain Spanish citizenship.
 
To read the article go to:  http://tinyurl.com/aw6pl7o
 
I don't know how long the article will be available at no cost past December 9.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Success: A twisted genealogical knot of inter-generational first-cousin marriages


Posted by Marla Raucher Osborn

We've all had this same frustrating family conversation with a parent or grandparent:

Question: “So, how is she related to us?”
Answer: “She's a cousin.”
Question: “Yes, but how exactly is she a cousin?”
Answer: “What does it matter? She's a cousin. I don't know how. She's a cousin.”

A nightmare conversation for me, the family-recognized genealogist and keeper of important trans-generational information.

osborn story
Great-grandmother Rose (Belfaur) Brownstein, c. 1910, Mohyliv-Pokilskyi with son Berl, nephew Schulim, and baby Ben
Questions of relationships—like the one above—take on headache-inducing proportions for my mother's side of the family, the Brownsteins. Why? Because the more I questioned and researched, the more knotted the ancestral picture became.

And twisted, metaphorically speaking, of course.

For at least three consecutive generations beginning at my great-grandparents' level, I found siblings marrying first cousin siblings: a Brownstein brother and sister would marry a Faber sister and brother; or, a Brownstein brother and sister would marry a Sarfas sister and brother.

This would then be reproduced again (no pun intended) at the next generational level: a child created from a first cousin union would then marry a child created from another first cousin union. And so on.

What was wrong with these people? Is this even legal?
The net effect—from a genealogical perspective—was a common ancestor for many generations that followed, and great complication as well, not only for creating a family tree using standard software programs, but also for keeping straight “who's who”. I cannot quickly and easily rattle off from memory family relationships on the Brownstein-Sarfas-Faber side of the family without inducing a severe headache. I need a paper drawing, and even then...
osborn story 2
Great-great-grandmother Leah (Sarfas) Brownstein in scarf, c. 1910, Mohyliv-Pokilskyi with daughter-in-law Lena (Faber) Brownstein, Schulim and baby Mojsche
To add insult to injury, none of the three families ever showed much creativity or imagination in choosing new names for their offspring. They just kept reusing the same old names. Result: multiple names like David and Sam and Esther in all three families.
So here is my genealogy nightmare—I mean, knot—in a simplified form:

My great-great grandmother Leah Sarfas of Kamyanets-Podilskyy, Ukraine, had three sons with her husband Aaron Brownstein of Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Ukraine: Louis, David, and Harry. David was my mother's grandfather and therefore my great-grandfather. (I will not be talking about brother Harry because he appears to have married and reproduced in a normal, healthy way.)

Leah also had a daughter named Anna Sarfas whose biological father is a family mystery; hence, she is known in the family and in the records as Anna Sarfas, not as a Brownstein like her (half) brothers Louis, David, and Harry.

Leah herself had a brother named Wolf Sarfas. Wolf had a son and a daughter. The daughter's name was Ida.

On the same generational level as Leah and her brother Wolf was the Faber family, likely also of Kamyanets-Podilskyy. That family had three sons (one was named Solomon) plus one daughter named Lena.
At some point, all three families—Brownstein, Sarfas, and Faber—lived in Mohyliv-Podilskyi.

In 1911, large pieces of these three families—women and children only—would emigrate together to Chicago, their husbands having preceded them.

The scene is set.
  • Leah's son Louis Brownstein married Lena Faber.
  • Leah's daughter Anna Sarfas married Morris Faber, the brother to Lena.
  • Wolf Sarfas' daughter Ida married Solomon Faber, the brother to Lena and Morris.
On the next generational level:

  • Louis and Lena Brownstein had seven children, two of which were named Sam (Schulim) and Dorothy.
  • Anna and Morris Faber had seven children, three of which were named Sam, Nettie, and Dorothy.
  • Ida and Solomon Faber had five children (all of which went on to marry spouses who were neither Brownstein nor Sarfas, so we can forget about them henceforth).
On the next generational level (aspirin necessary at this point):

  • Schulim Brownstein married Nettie Faber.
  • Schulim's sister Dorothy married a man named Kaufman (hooray, but short-lived, as we will see next) and they produced a daughter named Sondra.
  • Nettie's brother Sam Faber married Dorothy Brownstein, sister to Schulim.
Next generational level:

  • Sondra Kaufman married Herb Brownstein, the son of Ben—sadly, in my direct line—a younger brother to Berl Brownstein, my grandfather and son of David Brownstein, my great-grandfather.

Just before emigrating from Mohyliv-Podilskyi to America in 1911, three portrait style photographs were taken at a professional studio of the three families, Brownstein, Sarfas, and Faber. These photos are precious to me for several reasons.
osborn story 3
Anna (Sarfas) Faber (center), c. 1910, Mohyliv-Pokilskyi with mother-in-law Dora Faber and children Dorothy, Mark,
Harry and Nettie

First, they each came to me from different sources in the family and at different times. It wasn't until all three were united and I sat facing them on my desk that I realized they were shot at the same photography studio, possibly on the same day: the stylized backdrop for each photo—the palm tree, the vase on the Victorian stand, the wooden rocking horse—is identical in all three.
Second, the photos, taken together, represent three generational levels, with the matriarch, Leah (Sarfas) Brownstein, my great-great-grandmother, as the common link.

Third, two of the photos have Leah (wearing the scarf) with her daughters-in-law and their children.
In one photo is Rose (my great-grandmother, married to David Brownstein) and her two children, Berl (my grandfather, on the wooden rocking horse) and baby Ben (whose son Herb would later marry Sondra Kaufman, born as a Faber and discussed above). Also in the photo is Schulim, the son of Lena, the other daughter-in-law.

In the second of the three photos is Leah (again in scarf), but this time with daughter-in-law Lena and her two children, Schulim (now he is on the rocking horse) and baby Mojsche (Morrey).
osborn story 4 Sarfas Family, c. 1928, Kamyanets-Podilskyy
In the third photo, which came to me quite a while after the other two, Leah is not present. However, present in her place, at the center of the photo, is Leah's daughter Anna (the one with the unknown biological father, bearing her mother's maiden name of Sarfas but now married to a Faber) and four of Anna's children, including baby Nettie who would later marry Schulim (a Brownstein)! Also present is Anna's mother-in-law, Dora Faber.

The women and children of the three photos would a few months later travel together from Mohyliv-Podilskyi to Chicago, via Bremen and Baltimore, to join their husbands.
In subsequent years, many (including my great-grandparents David and Rose and their children, including my grandfather Berl) would move to Los Angeles; other Brownsteins would follow, some changing their names to Bronson.

In the late 1990s while living in California, I visited Fanny Golob nee Sarfas. She was in her 90s. My (non-Jewish) husband Jay enjoyed a tongue sandwich with Fanny—much to her delight—at a nearby west Los Angeles deli. Back at her apartment, Fanny shared with me family stories and photos. One photo was of her and her Sarfas family (parents and siblings) taken in Kamyanets-Podilskyy around 1928. Her father Yosel was the son of Wolf, the brother of Leah, my great-great grandmother, and the common ancestral link in the three families, Brownstein, Sarfas, and Faber.

Off to the Louvre to soothe my headache.

November 2012
Paris, France

Getting The Most Out of Ancestry.com with Crista Cowan-Program- December 2 JGS Conejo Valley and Ventura County

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen



The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will hold a general meeting, co-sponsored with and located at Temple Adat Elohim, on Sunday, December 2, 2012 1:30-3:30p.m.at Temple Adat Elohim 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA

The Program: Getting The Most Out of Ancestry.com

Do you have an Ancestry.com subscription (or are thinking about getting one) but suspect that you are only using a fraction of what can be done with the powerful tools and resources available on this website? Spend an afternoon with Crista Cowan, The Barefoot Genealogist, as she shares what's new on Ancestry.com.  She'll show you how to access key record collections to assist with your Jewish and other European family history research.  She'll also share some of her favorite search tips and site tricks.  Join us to learn more about unleashing the full potential of Ancestry.com on your family history.  Even if you've been using Ancestry.com for years you are sure to learn something new!

Speaker: Crista Cowan, Community Alliance Manager Ancestry.com. "The Barefoot Genealogist" has been employed at Ancestry.com since 2004. Crista has been involved with family history research for over 20 years and is the owner of Legacy Family History Services, specializing in descendancy research, Jewish immigration, and sharing family history with the genealogically challenged.

Our schmoozing corner starts 20 minutes before the program (1:10 p.m.) facilitated by Hal Bookbinder, founding JGSCV member.

We will have Categories A & D of our traveling library available beginning at 1:00 PM to shortly after the meeting. The list of books which are in the JGSCV library is located on our website www.jgscv.org under
library-traveling

There is no charge to attend the meeting and all are welcome to attend. Our 2013 membership dues campaign has started-any one joining or renewing at our December 2nd meeting and is in attendance at our December 2nd  meeting is eligible to have their name drawn for great genealogical gifts! Membership forms are available at the meeting, on the jgscv.org website and in our newsletter, Venturing Into Our Past. Annual
dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family. Dues paid are good through December 2013. Light refreshments will be served celebrating Chanukah and our membership drive.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.

For more information, including directions to the meeting, please see the JGSCV website:  www.jgscv.org  

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

Time Life Never Before Published Photos From Ellis Island in 1950 and Inside Nazi Occupied Poland 1939-1940

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Most of us concentrate on the immigrants that arrived at Ellis Island in its earlier years and forget that it while it opened in 1892 it was receiving immigrants until November 1954.  Time-Life  recently posted 30 photographs never previously  published by famous  Life photographer Alfred Eisenstadt who visited Ellis Island in the fall of 1950.  Nearly one-third of all Americans can trace their ancestry to one of the 12 million people  who arrived in the US at  Ellis Island at New York Bay.
  
Some of the pictures in this gallery appeared in the November 13, 1950 issue of LIFE 
 
To see the gallery go to: http://tinyurl.com/aab74s7
original url:
 
Time-Life also posted photographs from  Inside Nazi Occupied Poland in 1939-1940-- a German photographer and ardent Nazi named Hugo Jaeger documented the brute machinery of the Reich, including the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. LIFE.com presents a series of photos from Warsaw and from the town of Kutno, 75 miles west of the Polish capital, in 1939 and 1940. In June 1940, all of Kutno’s roughly 8,000 Jews were forced into the ghetto.
 
 
Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images ©
Never published. Twenty-four-year-old Schulim Pewzner, a rabbinical student from Warsaw, Poland, at Ellis Island, 1950
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hugo Jaeger—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images ©
Kutno, Nazi-occupied Poland, 1939.
 
 Read more:  click on: http://tinyurl.com/9e4hz4j
 
Thank you to David Oseas for sharing the information about  the website with us.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
 
 

National Archives of Ireland

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The National Archives of Ireland has a new genealogy website that was launched on November 8, 2012.

You can access the following free on the website:
Census records for 1901 and 1911,
The Tithe Applotment Books for 1823 to 1837;
And the Soldiers’ Wills for 1914 to 1917.
 
More records will be added over the coming years.  To read more go to: http://tinyurl.com/bzjllf4
 
The archives home page may be accessed at: http://www.nationalarchives.ie/
Its genealogy area may be accessed at: http://tinyurl.com/anl7h6p
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
 




JDC's Cyprus Collection Available On Line

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Cyprus Collection (1945-1949) is available online for the first time.  The collection includes 16,667 pages of textual files including personal letters, group petitions and newspapers published by the deportees.  From 1946 until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the British confined some 53,000 Holocaust survivors on the island of Cyprus. From August 1946 to February 1949, the deportees lived behind barbed wire in 12 camps on Cyprus. During this period, 53,000 Jews passed through the camps, 2,200 children were born in the camps, and 150 Jews died there--nearly all of the deportees were survivors of the Nazi death camps.  The collection also has 180 photographs taken at the detention camps. See: http://tinyurl.com/cpp2mjc
original url:
[http://archives.jdc.org/sharedlegacy/photo-galleries/gallery-cyprus-detention-camps.html ]

To read more about the collection go to: http://tinyurl.com/bvnlq23
original url:
http://archives.jdc.org/about-us/articles/jdc-cyprus-collection-now.html

To view highlights the files click on:  http://tinyurl.com/d27cvos
original url:
http://search.archives.jdc.org/query.asp?site=ideaalm&lang=ENG&param=%3Cquery_operation%3Eload%3C/query_operation%3E%3Cquery_id%3E101204_27%3C/query_id%3E

To see more of the collection go to search the collection and type in "Cyprus" in the query box
http://archives.jdc.org/archives-search/?s=archivestopnav

There are video tutorials available to help you search on the website.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Judaica Europeana

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Judaica Europeana is a growing network with currently 30 institutions: libraries, archives and museums in Europe, Israel and the US.  Judaica Europeana is led by the European Association for Jewish Culture working closely with the Frankfurt University Library and the National Library of Israel.  It provides integrated access to digital collections which document Jewish life in Europe via Europeana, Europe’s digital platform for cultural heritage. To date the project has made available online 3.7 million items. It can be searched in 30 languages and by geographic area. One can find books, photographs, manuscripts to the culture of Jews .
To view the website go to: http://www.judaica-europeana.eu/
 
They also have a free electronic newsletter: http://www.judaica-europeana.eu/Newsletter.html
 
Thank you to Saul Issroff for informing us of this very interesting and diverse website and newsletter.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Congratulations to Genie Milgrom-Winner of Florida State Genealogical Society Genealogy Outstanding Achievement Award

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Please join me in congratulating, Genie Milgrom, president, JGS of Greater Miami on being awarded the Florida State Genealogical Society's Genealogy Outstanding Achievement Award!  Genie's research involved the evidence of the Medieval Notary Records that helped her trace an unbroken maternal lineage as proof of Jewish roots found through Catholic records.  Genie has been able to trace back 15 grandmothers to her ancestral roots to Fermoselle, Spain.  Her research took her genealogical journey from Jewish (pre Inquisition) to Crypto Jewish to Catholic back to Jewish.  Genie's recently published book, My 15 Grandmothers tells her story--the Florida State Genealogy Award is not for the book, but for her extensive research which led to her writing the book.

Genie just returned from a trip to Fermoselle, Spain where the town's mayor proclaimed to be making an Official Act and handed her the Symbolic Key to the Jewish Quarter of The Village along with a Pergamino 
(a formal parchment used for writing) to serve as a Document of Historical Memory being given  to a descendent of the Jews that had lived in this town of Fermoselle. In history this is only the second time that a Mayor in Spain has given a Symbolic Key to a descendent of the Spanish Jews. 
The Florida State Genealogical Society Genealogy Outstanding Award in Genealogy is given to an individual,  society,  or institution to recognize contributions toward the promotion of genealogical interests or activities within the state of Florida. This could include a publication; a sustained work in the area of  extracting,  preserving, accumulating or collecting genealogical/historical data (regardless of what state in  which the data  originated or to what state they apply) for the genealogical community; an instructor of genealogy or local history; or  any person who has aided in furthering the interests of research in genealogy over a period of five (5) or more years. To read more about the award and award recipients go to:  http://flsgs.org/cpage.php?pt=12.  The award was given on November 9, therefore, it may take a few days for Genie's name to be added to the list of previous award recipients on the above-mentioned website.  

Michael Milgrom, Genie's husband, nominated her for the award.
IAJGS is proud of the accomplishment that Genie has done as an example of the excellence that a Jewish genealogist achieved. It is an example for all of us to strive to attain.  IAJGS and its member societies are indeed fortunate to have leaders of such caliber.
Jan Meisels Allen,
IAJGS Vice President

[UK] National Archives Starts Commemoratiuve Series For Centenary of WWI

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen


The National Archives of the UK is launching a  series of commemorative activities for the upcoming of the centenary of World War I .  Their first activity is a blog entitled "My Tommy's War" a blog series following members of staff at The National Archives as they research their own First World War ancestors. By following this blog you can learn  how to use the vast archival records for your research.  Click on: http://tinyurl.com/bckfava
 
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

[UK] Western Front Associaton Preserves 6.5 million WWI Soldiers Penison Archives

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Western Front Association (UK) announced that it secured 6.5 million soldiers pension records from WWI. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) [sic] was no longer able to retain and manage its archive of Great War soldiers' pension records cards and related archives. The records were due to be destroyed if a haven was not found.  During the "Great War" dependents of each serving British soldier, sailor, airman and nurse who was killed were entitled to a pension, as were those service personnel who were wounded or otherwise incapacitated due to the conflict--there is a card for each person.
 
The Western Front Association's intent is to create an online, searchable archive.  They  plan to scan the records digitally and to make them findable with a searchable database.  This will take funding and their fundraising activities are about to start...therefore, it will be a while before the online searchable database is available.
 
To read more and see several examples of what is contained on the archival pension records go to:  http://tinyurl.com/abgs8nd
 
Thank you to Lost Cousins newsletter to alerting us to this new resource of WW I UK records.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews-Exhibit at UCLA Fowler Museum

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

For those who may be visiting Southern California between now and March 10, 2013 you may find of interest a new exhibit at The Fowler Museum- Lucas Gallery at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles): Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews. The exhibit tells the story of one of the oldest Jewish communities which dates back nearly 2,700 years since the first Jews exiled from Jerusalem to Babylonia settled in the Persian sphere. Over a hundred objects, including archaeological artifacts, illuminated manuscripts, Judaica and amulets, paintings, and photographs demonstrate the long, complicated, and vibrant history of Iranian Jews. The exhibit includes from the crypto-Jewish community of Mashhad whose residents were forced to convert to Islam in the mid 1800's, a pair of miniature phylacteries, designed to fit beneath a man's Muslim head-covering.  The exhibit continues in the Fowler Museum Goldenberg Galleria, where the exhibition focuses on the twentieth century and ends with Hasan Sarbakhshian's photographs of Jews remaining in Iran--of which today there are at least 25,000 practicing Jews-- and installations by artists Shelley Gazin and Jessica Shokrian about the dynamic community of Iranian Jews in Los Angeles.

Genealogy includes the study of the culture, society and artifacts of our ancestors. This exhibit depicts those areas for the Persian Jewish Community.

This exhibition was created and organized by Beit Hatfutsot-The Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv, Israel.

To read more about the exhibit go to: http://tinyurl.com/8pvbjon
original url:
http://www.fowler.ucla.edu/exhibitions/light-and-shadows-story-iranian-jews

The Fowler Museum is also selling a book on the exhibit-more can be read
about the book at:
http://www.fowler.ucla.edu/publications/light-and-shadows-story-iranian-jews

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President

(USA) Guests of the Third Reich--National WWII Museum

Posted by Jan Meisels Allen

The National WWII Museum (USA) [ http://www.ddaymuseum.org/] located in New Orleans, Louisiana will be holding a special exhibit  November 11, 2012 through July 7, 2013, Guests of the Third Reich: American POWs in Europe  http://www.guestsofthethirdreich.org/home/.  There is an interactive map depicting the locations of  selected European POW camps.
 
Over 120,000 out of 16 million Americans serving in WWII spent time as prisoners of war (POW).  While the Nazi's "generally adhered " to the Geneva Convention, those American troops captured  in the Pacific by the Japanese -- 27, 465-- were not protected by the same restraints--over 40 percent died.  Wartime circumstances and the leanings of individual camp leaders dictated the fates of those held captive in Europe--92, 820 men lived to tell their experiences.  About 1,100 or 1 percent of the Americans held as POWs by the Nazi's perished. These approximately 93,000  Americans were anything but "guests" of the Nazis.
 
In the exhibit there are several panels that  explain how, for the most part, Jewish-American POWs, many of whom either didn't designate a religion on their dog tags or ditched them before capture, were not separated from their comrades and sent to concentration camps. [I had a family member taken and kept with his comrades and Stalag IVB in Mulberg].   There were exceptions. In January 1945, the commandant at Stalag IXB rounded up 350 prisoners based on name or physical characteristics, and shipped them to the Berga concentration camp.
 
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
 

Do You Subscribe to JewishGen Discussion Groups?


Posted by Gary Mokotoff

Do you subscribe to those JewishGen Discussion Groups that cover the areas of interest in your family history research? JewishGen currently has 24 such groups, each oriented toward some geographical area of ancestry. These message boards post regularly—usually daily—announcements about the latest resources for Jewish family history in their area. They also include inquiries from people as well as responses to these inquiries. Many of these inquiries/responses are educational.

Each week I pour through every message posted to each of the JewishGen Discussion Groups looking for potential news items for Nu? What’s New? Many of interest to subscribers of the Discussion Group only are not included in this e-zine because the information is of interest only to the local area covered.

A list of all the Discussion Groups and how to subscribe can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/ListManager/members_add.asp. There is also a “Main Discussion Group” all should subscribe to that includes information of general interest. All groups are moderated to filter out messages of little value or those that do not adhere to JewishGen guidelines.

All messages are archived. The Main Discussion Group archives contains every message posted since September 1993. This is a great resource for information posted in the past. It is located at http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~archpop. Back editions of the Special Interest Groups since July 1998 are at http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~sigspop.

Here are some recent postings to these groups:

Austro-Hungary. If you had relatives that fought in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, then an Internet site at http://www.austro-hungarian-army.co.uk/ might be of interest to you. It does not name individuals but provides interesting background information about the units that fought, badges and uniforms (which might help decipher pictures), engagements and battles, and other useful information.

Galicia. A project has been started on Geni.com seeking to connect all Jewish families from Krakow on to one family tree. Information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/GeniKrakow.

Germany. A biographical memorial book to the Jews of Munich murdered in the Holocaust is now online. It was originally published in book form in 2003 and again in 2007 by the Munich City Archives. Information about an individual can be extensive including name, occupation, date/place of birth, deportation date, date/place of death, names of parents including maiden name of mother, date/placed of marriage, who married to including maiden name and date/place of birth, names of children including birth date/place. There also may be a photograph of the victim. The database can be searched at http://tinyurl.com/MunichGedenkbuch.

Lithuania. For the 20th year, veteran genealogists Howard Margol and Peggy Mosinger Freedman will be organizing another group trip to Lithuania. It will be from June 25 – July 5, 2013. Persons interested in tracing their roots in Lithuania, Latvia, portions of Poland close to Lithuania, or Belarus, may find the trip valuable. The group is limited to 25 people.

Included are visits to the archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sightseeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl or shtetlach of interest. All meals are included (except for one dinner and two lunches), the finest hotels, buses, and much more. The trip planners are on a first-name basis with the archivists and directors of main places of Jewish interest.

For details and a full itinerary of the trip, see http://www.litvaktrip.peggyspage.org or contact the planners at litvaktrip@gmail.com.

Romania/Moldova. The World Memory project has added information from questionnaires distributed by the World Jewish Congress in Romania in the Spring, Summer and Fall of 1945. Information at the site includes name, birth date, place of residence, marital status and relationship to head of household. For a specific individual, the names and relationships of all members of the household are shown. The database, a description, as well as its historical background can be found at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2425.

A Search For Jewish Roots -- Genie Milgrom Speaker at November 5 JGS Conejo Valley and Ventura County Mtg

Posted by Jan Meisels Allen

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will hold a general meeting, co-sponsored with Temple Adat Elohim, 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Monday, November 5, 2012 at Temple Adat Elohim 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA

NOTE: Different Day of Week and Time of Day for This One Meeting!

The Program: From the Spanish Inquisition to the Present: A Search for Jewish Roots

Whether or not you have known-Sephardic roots, you will find this program of interest-both for the genealogical techniques Genie Milgrom will discuss as well as her genealogical journey through time as she criss-crossed  the planet for her Converso or Marrano roots. Milgrom was able to document fully an unbroken maternal lineage of 15 grandmothers going back to the late 1400's. She will tell us her personal story and explain in detail the methods she used to open up the Jewish history of the small village in Spain where her ancestors resided for over 500 years. Today she is still very active and preserving her findings in the village of Fermoselle, Spain which sits on
the border between Spain and Portugal.


Speaker: Genie Milgrom is an International Businesswoman and is currently the President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami. She is also the author of the book, My 15 Grandmothers and is President of Tarbut Sefarad-Fermoselle in Spain as well as an active member of the American Society of Personal Historians. You can see more information on her website
at www.geniemilgrom.com .  Book signing and purchasing opportunity--$15.00 per copy.

[Genie just returned from a trip to Fermoselle, where the town's mayor proclaimed to be making an Official Act and handed her the Symbolic Key to the Jewish Quarter of The village along with a Pergamino to serve as a Document of Historical Memory being given  to a descendent of the Jews that had lived in this town of Fermoselle. In history this is only the second time that a Mayor in Spain has given a Symbolic Key to a descendent of the Spanish Jews. If you wish to read about her trip a brief write-up is in the JGSCV's current issue of Venturing Into Our Past accessible on our website: www.jgscv.org and  click on newsletters 2012 issues for the November issue.]

Our schmoozing corner starts 20 minutes  before the program (6:40 p.m.) (note the earlier time) facilitated by Werner Frank,  founding JGSCV member.

We will have Categories A & C of our traveling library available beginning at 6:30 PM to shortly after the meeting.

Our 5-minute genealogical hint at the beginning of the program will be by JGSCV President, Jan Meisels Allen on researching US military records to commemorate Veterans Day.

 The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history. (www.jgscv.org).

There is no charge to attend the meeting and all are welcome to attend. Our 2013 membership dues campaign has started-any one joining or renewing from now to our December 2nd meeting and is in attendance at our December  meeting is eligible to have their name drawn for great
genealogical gifts! Membership forms are available at the meeting, on the jgscv.org website and in our newsletter, Venturing Into Our Past. Annual dues  are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family. Dues paid are good  through December 2013.

For more information, including directions to the meeting, please see the JGSCV website:  www.jgscv.org

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

 


KehilaLinks Update


Posted by Susana Leistner Bloch

We are pleased to welcome the following webpages to JewishGen KehilaLinks We thank the owners and webmasters of these webpages for creating fitting memorials to these Kehilot (Jewish Communities) and for providing a valuable resource for future generations of their descendants.

Created by Martin Davis
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Created by Spiros De Castro Leon
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Created by Martin David Lentz
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Created by Sharon Zane
Webpage Design by Richard Baum
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Created by Andrzej Selerowicz
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KehilaLinks webpages recently updated:

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Some of our Kehila webpages were created by people who are no longer able to maintain them.
We thank them for their past efforts and wish them luck on their future endeavors.
The following webpages are "orphaned" and are available for adoption.

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Good News!  The following webpages were adopted:

Cherkasy (Cherkoss), Ukraine
Created by Ron Doctor and Richard Baum
Adopted by Esther Rechtschafner
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Dunayivtsi (Dunayevtsy,Dinovitz) ,  Ukraine Created by Ron Doctor and Richard Baum Adopted by Carol Rombro Rider http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Dunayivtsi/
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If you wish to create a KehilaLinks webpage or adopt an exiting "orphaned"
webpage please contact us at: < bloch@mts.net>.

NEED TECHNICAL HELP CREATING A WEBPAGE?: We have a team of dedicated volunteers who will help you create a webpage.
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Susana Leistner Bloch, VP, KehilaLinks, JewishGen, Inc.
Barbara Ellman, KehilaLinks Technical Coordinator