Long Island: Suddenly Jewish, Feb. 21

Roma Baran will present “Suddenly Jewish” at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island on Sunday, February 21.

The program begins at 2pm, at the Mid-Island Y-JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Road, Plainview, NY.

In August 2008, at the age of 61, Roma Baran received a stunning email from a Jewish genealogist looking for heirs to a small estate of a Holocaust survivor — her father’s cousin – and learned that her casually Christian parents, and the whole rest of her family were not Polish Catholics, but Jews, including a rabbi and a Warsaw ghetto leader, and that her parents had survived the Holocaust under assumed names.

She learned that not only were her family’s names and identities false, but that she had actually lived in Israel, 1949-1951.

Baran will describe — with photos, documents and maps — how she systematically reconstructed her past over the last year. She will focus on the Galizianer side of her family, and will include her new research on her father’s Warsaw family.

She will trace her parents’ war-time escape from the Przemysl ghetto to Tarnawa, Krakow, and other towns, and their post-war journeys to Israel and Canada. She will also examine the emotional consequences of uncovering family secrets of staggering proportions.

Baran – a producer, engineer, musician and attorney – grew up in Montreal, and has lived in New York City since 1976.

Jamboree 2010: Chris Haley is keynote speaker

In the 1970s, television revolutionized genealogy as a pursuit we can all follow.

With the publishing of Alex Haley’s book – “Roots” – and the television production that followed, people around the world were inspired to begin wondering about their own roots.

The Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree 2010 (June 11-13) will feature a special guest, when the Friday night banquet keynote speaker will be Chris Haley, nephew of author Alex Haley.

An actor, musician and genealogist, Christ will speak about how genealogy has both changed and remained the same over the years.

“My Genealogy: Now and Then” will include family photos, documents, music and thoughts on his dual African and Scottish heritage. The story of his genetic discovery and reunion with relatives from the British Isles was covered in the media and is featured on Ancestry.com’s introductory DNA page.

Do you need even more incentive to attend the dinner?

How about this? One lucky banquet attendee will win an autographed, first edition copy of “Roots.”

This presentation is sure to entertain, educate and engage.

Register for Jamboree, including the banquet and other special events, at the SCGS website.