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Schelly

Illinois: Midwest Jewish Genealogy Conference, June 6

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois has organized a one-day Jewish genealogy conference, “From the Shtetl to the 21st Century,” on Sunday, June 6, in Skokie.

The full-day event features experienced instructors on topics to expand knowledge of genealogical resources, including a two-part Beginners’ Workshop. Five time slots each feature three concurrent programs.

This event can also be considered a great lead-in and preparation for the main event of the Jewish genealogy year, the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy - JGSLA 2010 - which runs from July 11-16, in Los Angeles.

Speakers at the Illinois event include Ron Arons (keynote speaker), Judith R. Frazin, Harriet Rudnit, Abby and Bill Schmelling, Ralph Beaudion, Leslye Hess, Robin Seidenberg, Irwin Lapping, Alvin Holtzman, Louisa Nicotera, Everett L. Butler and Mike Karsen.

Topics include: Beginners’ Genealogy Workshop, Using the Internet to Research Your Family History, Travel to Your Ancestral Shtetl, Find That Obituary Online, Holocaust Research in Libraries and Internet, Polish Translation Guide, Mining for Gold: Online Newspapers, Waldheim Cemetery, Basics of DNA Testing, Mapping Techniques, Cook County Genealogy Online, Genealogy Research Reasoning, Write Your Family History Now, Ask the Experts.

Before May 15, fees are: Members (of any Jewish Genealogical Society), $45; others, $50, Conference plus JGSI membership (new member only), $70. After May 15, each category increases by $10.

Download an event brochure, and find more program details, at the JGSIllinois website.

New York: JDC Archival genealogy resources, May 16

The global archives director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee will speak at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York, on May 16.

The event opens with networking from 12.30-1.45pm, followed by the main program, at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street.

JDC’s director of global archives Linda Levi is responsible for archival centers in New York and Jerusalem. She is also assistance executive vice president for global archives. An NYU graduate, she holds an MA in contemporary Jewish studies (Brandeis University).
Since its inception in 1914, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC, known popularly as “the Joint”) has borne witness to the greatest events of twentieth-century Jewish history. The JDC Archives documents the organization’s operations, overseas activities and serves as a record of life in Jewish communities around the world.
Its extensive holdings include eye-witness accounts, correspondence, reports, logs, passenger lists, emigration cards, photographs, and much more. Participants will learn how the Archives are organized, see examples of rich genealogical records in the JDC archival collections, and find out how to conduct research at its repositories. New efforts to digitize the JDC collections will also be included in the discussion.

For more information, visit the JGSNY website.

Washington DC: LOC, Latin-American Jewish Studies, May 17

Seeing this program with the mention of the Library of Congress’ Hispanic Division reminded me of an incident quite a number of years ago.

Our daughter was going to visit one of her friends, who was studying Spanish in Seville. The two were planning to visit, among many other places, a town near Zaragoza which might have had a connection to our family’s Sephardic ancestry.

I called the LOC and spoke to a very helpful young man in the Hispanic Division, and gave him the name of the town. He looked it up in an 18th century gazetteer, and among other interesting items, it noted “Hay muchos lobos y zorros” (there are many wolves and foxes).

When daughter and friend took a taxi out to the village from the city, the driver told them to be careful because “hay muchos lobos y zorros.” The two students, of course, were rather amused, and the driver was understandably confused.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In any case, “Jewish-Latin American Historiography: The Challenges Ahead” is the May 17 lecture at the LOC. An increasingly popular area of academic inquiry, many institutions are offering related classes.

History professors Raanan Rein and Jeffrey Lesser will present the free joint lecture at noon, Monday, May 17, in the Mary Pickford Theater, (third floor, LOC’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, DC).

It is jointly sponsored by the Library’s Hispanic Division and the Hebrew Language Table in cooperation with the Embassy of Argentina and the Embassy of Israel. Reservations are not required.

Tel Aviv University’s Raanan Rein is the Sourasky Professor of Latin American and Spanish History and head of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies. Author and editor of more than 20 books and several dozen academic journal articles, he’s co-president of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association and a member of Argentina’s National Academy of History.

Emory University’s Jeffrey Lesser is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and director of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. The author of “A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese-Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960-1980,” “Negotiating National Identity: Minorities, Immigrants and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil” and “Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question,” he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of São Paulo and held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair of the Humanities at Tel Aviv University (2006-7). He is the former president of the Conference on Latin American History..

The Library’s Hispanic collections comprise more than 13 million items and are the most extensive such collections in the world.

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost centers for the study of Hebrew and Yiddish materials, the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division holdings include works in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Persian, Judeo-Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic and Amharic. The section’s holdings are especially strong in the areas of the Bible and rabbinics, liturgy, Hebrew language and literature and Jewish history.

Washington DC: Following false trails, May 16

False trails are common in genealogy, and many of us have followed them as we delve into documents and family stories.

Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus, PhD will discuss this topic at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, on Sunday, May 16.

The program begins at 1.30pm, at B’nai Israel, 6301 Montrose Road, Rockville, Maryland.

Attendees are invited to share similar “false trail” experiences – email them to the JGSGW - and they will be discussed at the meeting.

Sallyann was instrumental in founding the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy, Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and Avotaynu. She has chaired or co-chaired six of the annual international Jewish genealogy conferences, authored or co-authored seven books for genealogists and has consulted on numerous projects. Click here for more.

Fee: JGSGW members, no charge; others, $5.

For more information and directions, click here.

Spain: Little-known Sephardic genealogical sources

Here are a few little-known books, from Tracing the Tribe’s own collection, offering much detailed information on Sephardic Jews in Girona and other towns in the province of Catalunya, Spain.

Tracing the Tribe purchased some in Girona Jewish Museum bookshop, in second-hand bookshops in Barcelona and elsewhere. The Library of Congress in Washington DC may hold copies as may other libraries – I have not checked WorldCat.

These provide much genealogical information in the form of archival documents and notarial records.

– Documents dels Jueus de Girona 1124-1595 (Arxiu Historic de la Ciutat and Arxiu Diocesa de Girona), compiled by Gemma Escriba i Bonastre and Maria Pilar Frago i Perez.

It includes an excellent 52-page surname index, a 10-page toponym (geographical) index, 14-page bibliography). The book’s text is in English, French, Catalan and Spanish – the documents are in their original language (Latin, Catalan, Spanish). The volume is marked “Colleccio Historia de Girona, 12,” published by La Caixa and the Ajuntament de Girona. Other features: A 20-page introduction to the document collection in both the historical and diocesan archives; with 250 pages of documents and record extracts.

– Per a una Historia de la Girona Jueva (volumes I and II), by David Romano, (1988, Ajuntament de Girona).

It has a 44-page name index, bibliography, and additional references for each chapter in the book. For each chapter, I’m including the number of articles to give readers an idea of the wealth of information. Texts are in Latin, Spanish, Catalan, French – according to the original language.


Chapters and the numbers of articles in each:


1) Introduction (1)
2) Encyclopedia articles about Girona (5)
3) Epigraphs and Hebrew Inscriptions (7)
4) The synagogues (3)
5) Jewish religion and culture (4)
6) Individuals and Texts (5)
7) Historic and Chronological Studies about the Jews of Girona (22)
8) The Inquisition (2)
–name index
–appendix
–chapter references

– Els Jueus de Valls i la Seva Epoca, by Gabriel Secall i Guell (Edition Vallencs, 1980).

This details the names of Jews of the town of Valls, and also includes some names of those who lived in nearby communities, such as D’Alcover, De L’Aleixar, D’Alforja, De L’Arboc, Cabra, Falset, Montblanc, Pla de Santa Maria, Prades, La Riba, Reus, Santa Coloma de Queralt, Sarral, La Selva, Tamarit, Tarragona, Tortosa, Vallmoll, Vilaplana, Vila-Rodona. It includes the archival references to documents with the names for all towns.

There are separate bibliographies providing additional publications for the Jews of Valls, Tarragona, Comarques Tarragonines (the smaller towns listed above), Lleida, Girona, Barcelona. There’s are general bibliographies for the Jews of Catalunya, and for the Iberian Jews.

– Corografia Portuguesa, published by the Fundacao Ana Lima, Brazil (Fortaleza, 2006) contains:

Two detailed indexes for proper names and toponyms for Portugal. It refers to a 1,500-page history by Father Antonio Carvalho Costa, which in addition to detailed geography includes detailed genealogical information on Portuguese Jewish and other families up to the year 1700. The work was published in three volumes of some 500 pages each in 1706 and 1708, but I do not see a date for the third volume. The second edition of the complete, published in 1868, is the basis of this index. Each name and geographical location provides the original volume and page for more information. The introduction is in Portuguese and English, and contains some very detailed examples of the entries.

– Jews of the Caribbean, by Mordecai Arbell, provides extensive information on the history of these communities.

– Sangre Judia, by Pere Bonnin, is the first book of choice for those who wish to see if their name has Jewish roots, but only the most recent edition (the 4th expanded edition) contains the surnames, year and geographical location. Documents are from pre-Inquisition, Inquisition and other sources. A previous edition is part of the large Name Search Engine at Sephardim.com, but the edition used provided no year or city.

This is available online from a Barcelona bookshop, Casa Llibre. The price is 18€ or $28.26; the official title and author’s name: “Sangre Judia”  (edicion Aumentada y Revisada, 2006), Pere de Bonnin Aguilo. To find it in the catalogue, use the English page (see top right of the page for other languages).

Pere has also just published a second book, “Sangre Judia 2: La Brillante Estela de los Espanoles expulsados,” (2010), the price is the same. I have not yet seen the second book so cannot advise on it. Both books are in Spanish.

– In 1988, the city Historic Archive (Arxiu Historic de la ciutat) in Girona discovered that multiple layers of 14th-15th century Hebrew manuscripts were used to pad covers of  books and registers held in the archives. They were recycling even in medieval times, and after the Jews were expelled, the Hebrew documents were not needed. The discovery led to a still on-going process of painstaking restoration.

Learn more about this here (unfortunately, it is in Catalan, but is easy to follow if you have some Spanish, French, Italian or Latin) and there is aan 11-minute video here (also in Catalan) showing the process in some detail.

Additionally, there is a search engine for these Hebrew manuscript fragments. Search by title (titol), place name (desriptor toponimic), subject (ambit tematic), date (data del document), and/or name (descriptor onomastic).

Have you seen these resources?
Have you used them?
What have you found?
Now that you know about them, are you planning to work with them?

Los Angeles: Galeet Dardashti, May 16

Tracing the Tribe is delighted to announce that our cousin Galeet Dardashti will receive a special award on Sunday, May 16, in Los Angeles.

The event, sponsored by the Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization will be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

I wish it were a few weeks later so that I could attend this wonderful event.

The objective of this organization, in addition to its social, cultural and charitable activities has been to protect the dual identity of the Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles, as well as to recognize the impact and role of Iranian Jewish women in society.

The Shamsi Hekmat Achievement Award will be given to three outstanding Iranian Jewish women: Azadeh Farin, MD, neurosurgeon; Mojgan Rahbar, journalist, editor and anchorwoman; and Galeet Dardashti, PhD, vocalist and composer.

Galeet Dardashti is the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship. She leads Divahn—a renowned all-female power-house ensemble that performs edgy interpretations of Middle Eastern Jewish music internationally. She received a Six Points Fellowship and a Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Fellowship to pursue her independent project “The Naming”, a multi-disciplinary (original music, dance, video art, monologues) work performed in Hebrew, Persian, Arabic, and Aramaic that re-imagines some of the compelling women of the Bible.

Galeet holds a PhD in anthropology and completed her dissertation on the cultural politics of contemporary Middle Eastern music in Israel in 2009. Her work was supported by fellowships from Fulbright-Hays, The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, among others. She has published her academic work widely and offers lectures and artist/scholar-in-residencies throughout the country. She lives in New York with her husband and son.

Azadeh Farin is currently chief resident and clinical instructor of neurosurgery at the Department of Neurosurgery, Keck School of Medicine, LA County-USC Medical Center. She is one of fewer than 200 female neurosurgeons in the US, less than 4% of all US neurosurgeons.

Among her numerous accomplishments are dozens of publications, including first-author publications, several of which have been featured on the covers of the most prestigious peer-reviewed journals in her field.

Azadeh has served as a consultant for the hit ABC television drama, Grey’s Anatomy.

Mojgan Moghadam Rahbar is a journalist, writer, translator and humanitarian who has worked in the Iranian and American media for the past 20 years. Currently editor-in-chief of Shofar Magazine, the quarterly publication of the Iranian American Jewish Federation’s quarterly publication, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

Congratulations to the three honorees.

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