New York: Jewish Merchants 1500-1800, October 18

In 1714, Spanish Inquisition refugee Luis Moses Gomez purchased 6,000 acres along the Hudson Highlands and built a fieldstone house by a stream known as “Jews Creek.”

For 30 years, he and his sons ran a thriving fur trade from the house with three-foot thick walls. He was the first president of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York City and family connections included the poet Emma Lazarus and Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who some consider to have been the real first Hispanic member of the US Supreme Court.
There is a new website, but most of it is “under construction.” To see the old site, click here.

To learn about the family history, click here for a genealogy written by Isaac Gomez, born in New York on July 28, 1768, who begins with his great-great-grandfather Isaac Gomez.

The genealogy of our family as far as I can trace from my own knowledge as well as what I have had from my ancestors, it being necessary for every family to know from whence they sprung particularly when they came from respectable parentage which is the reason why I have been thus particular.

Related family names in the Gomez genealogy: MARKAZE, GOMPAS, JESURUM, DE LUCENA, DE TORES, LEVY, SILVA, DE LEON, HIMES, LOPEZ, HENDRICKS, WAGGE, RIVERA, SEIXAS, EMANUEL and JUDAY. Localities include Jamaica, Curacao, Barbados; Newport, Rhode Island; New York City and Philadelphia. Click on the genealogy link above for more details.

A conference on “Merchants Jews in the New World 1500-1800” will be held at the Center for Jewish History on Sunday, October 18, sponsored by The Gomez Foundation for Mill House (the former home of Luis Moses Gomez. Click here for event details.

The program will focus on lesser-known aspects of Jewish contributions to economic expansion in the New World and the U.S. The Gomez Foundation manages and operates the 300-year-old Gomez Mill House in Orange County, New York, which was used as the Gomez home and trading post.

Presenters include Dr. Ruth K. Abrahams and Andrée Aelion Brooks, Gomez Foundation; Randall C. Belinfante, American Sephardi Federation; archivist Ainsley Henriques and author Edward Kritzler, Jamaica, West Indies; author Dr. Kenneth Libo, NYC; Jewish Studies assistant professor Dr. Jonathan Ray, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.; Dr. Jessica V. Roitman, Birkbeck College, University of London UK; Jewish Heritage Collection curator Dr. Dale Rosengarten and visiting professor Dr. Barry Steifel, College of Charleston, SC; John Hay Library Special Collections’ Dr. Holly Snyder, Brown University, RI; and Hilit Surowitz, Columbia University, NY.

The event runs from 9am-7pm, and includes several panels:

– Exploration & Expansion: Forces that brought merchant Jews to the NewWorld.
– The impact of Jews on Caribbean Trade.
– The importance of Jewish merchants in early America.

There will be a kosher continental breakfast reception, buffet lunch and wine and light supper buffet reception, along with book sales/signings and exhibits.

Early registration, through September 15, is $65 ($75 later). For more information, email gomez@cjh.org. Download the registration brochure here.

New York: Jewish Merchants 1500-1800, October 18

In 1714, Spanish Inquisition refugee Luis Moses Gomez purchased 6,000 acres along the Hudson Highlands and built a fieldstone house by a stream known as “Jews Creek.”

For 30 years, he and his sons ran a thriving fur trade from the house with three-foot thick walls. He was the first president of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York City and family connections included the poet Emma Lazarus and Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who some consider to have been the real first Hispanic member of the US Supreme Court.
There is a new website, but most of it is “under construction.” To see the old site, click here.

To learn about the family history, click here for a genealogy written by Isaac Gomez, born in New York on July 28, 1768, who begins with his great-great-grandfather Isaac Gomez.

The genealogy of our family as far as I can trace from my own knowledge as well as what I have had from my ancestors, it being necessary for every family to know from whence they sprung particularly when they came from respectable parentage which is the reason why I have been thus particular.

Related family names in the Gomez genealogy: MARKAZE, GOMPAS, JESURUM, DE LUCENA, DE TORES, LEVY, SILVA, DE LEON, HIMES, LOPEZ, HENDRICKS, WAGGE, RIVERA, SEIXAS, EMANUEL and JUDAY. Localities include Jamaica, Curacao, Barbados; Newport, Rhode Island; New York City and Philadelphia. Click on the genealogy link above for more details.

A conference on “Merchants Jews in the New World 1500-1800” will be held at the Center for Jewish History on Sunday, October 18, sponsored by The Gomez Foundation for Mill House (the former home of Luis Moses Gomez. Click here for event details.

The program will focus on lesser-known aspects of Jewish contributions to economic expansion in the New World and the U.S. The Gomez Foundation manages and operates the 300-year-old Gomez Mill House in Orange County, New York, which was used as the Gomez home and trading post.

Presenters include Dr. Ruth K. Abrahams and Andrée Aelion Brooks, Gomez Foundation; Randall C. Belinfante, American Sephardi Federation; archivist Ainsley Henriques and author Edward Kritzler, Jamaica, West Indies; author Dr. Kenneth Libo, NYC; Jewish Studies assistant professor Dr. Jonathan Ray, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.; Dr. Jessica V. Roitman, Birkbeck College, University of London UK; Jewish Heritage Collection curator Dr. Dale Rosengarten and visiting professor Dr. Barry Steifel, College of Charleston, SC; John Hay Library Special Collections’ Dr. Holly Snyder, Brown University, RI; and Hilit Surowitz, Columbia University, NY.

The event runs from 9am-7pm, and includes several panels:

– Exploration & Expansion: Forces that brought merchant Jews to the NewWorld.
– The impact of Jews on Caribbean Trade.
– The importance of Jewish merchants in early America.

There will be a kosher continental breakfast reception, buffet lunch and wine and light supper buffet reception, along with book sales/signings and exhibits.

Early registration, through September 15, is $65 ($75 later). For more information, email gomez@cjh.org. Download the registration brochure here.

Lithuania: Cemetery dispute settled

JTA reported that the Vilnius Jewish cemetery dispute has been settled.

Read the article here.

A long-running dispute over construction on the site of a historic Jewish cemetery in Lithuania was settled on August 26. It will provide protection to the Snipiskes cemetery in the center of Vilnius. The cemetery was in active use from the 16th-19th centuries.

Most of the site was destroyed during the Nazi occupation, and a sports center was built over part of it during the Soviet era.

In 2005, an apartment and office complex construction on the site set off worldwide Jewish protests. The Lithuanian government permission for the construction was condemned in a motion by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Buildings on the site will however not be demolished. The agreement set official boundaries for the cemetery site.

Signing off on the plan were The Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Vilnius Cultural Heritage Protection Department, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

The Jewish community rejected a compensation plan offered by Lithuania for Nazi-seized Jewish communal buildings which were held by the Soviets and never returned. Lithuania offered $53 million over 10 years beginning in 2012, but the community said the amount is only one-third of the buildings’ value.

Sign up for breaking news alerts at JTA.org.

Lithuania: Cemetery dispute settled

JTA reported that the Vilnius Jewish cemetery dispute has been settled.

Read the article here.

A long-running dispute over construction on the site of a historic Jewish cemetery in Lithuania was settled on August 26. It will provide protection to the Snipiskes cemetery in the center of Vilnius. The cemetery was in active use from the 16th-19th centuries.

Most of the site was destroyed during the Nazi occupation, and a sports center was built over part of it during the Soviet era.

In 2005, an apartment and office complex construction on the site set off worldwide Jewish protests. The Lithuanian government permission for the construction was condemned in a motion by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Buildings on the site will however not be demolished. The agreement set official boundaries for the cemetery site.

Signing off on the plan were The Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Vilnius Cultural Heritage Protection Department, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

The Jewish community rejected a compensation plan offered by Lithuania for Nazi-seized Jewish communal buildings which were held by the Soviets and never returned. Lithuania offered $53 million over 10 years beginning in 2012, but the community said the amount is only one-third of the buildings’ value.

Sign up for breaking news alerts at JTA.org.

Philly 2009: You thought it was over?

The excellent Philly 2009 event isn’t over, not by a long shot!

Conference program co-chair Mark Halpern, who is also the JGS of Greater Philadelphia webmaster and editor of the group’s publication, Chronicles, has informed Tracing the Tribe that the society is archiving for posterity relevant material for the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

So far, the JGSGP has gathered a selection of thank-you messages posted online or received by the society.

And here are links to articles about the conference in newspapers and other media (such as Tracing the Tribe’s blog postings for Philly 2009) about the conference or speakers.

Read about JGSGP founder/first president/author Harry Boonin who was honored by both the IAJGS and the society.

The online Philadelphia-Area Jewish Genealogical Resource Guide, prepared by Steve Schecter and a team of volunteers is here.

New geneablogger colleague Steve Lasky, award-winning creator and founder of the Museum of Family History, created an exhibit honoring Philadelphia’s Jewish heritage.

The JGSGP is also planning an extensive photo exhibit. If you have conference photos, please send the images (or a link to them) to jgsgp@comcast.net

Additionally, Mark is planning a special conference edition of Chronicles, and he’s also asking speakers and attendees to submit articles about their experience in Philly. Suggestions are research you did at the conference, a brick wall breakthrough, a new family connection, a great session you attended, general observation of the event regardless of whether you were a first-timer or a veteran. Speakers can even submit their talk or a summary of it. Deadline for article submission is September 30.

What a great idea, Mark! Contact him to submit photos, links or articles (by September 30). Tracing the Tribe hopes future conferences will do the same.