Florida: Genealogy beyond the Internet, April 14

Genealogy beyond the Internet is the program at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County on Wednesday, April 14.

The meeting runs from 12.30-3pm, with a brick wall session, business meeting and main program, at the South County Civic Center, Delray Beach. Members are free; others, $5. SIG groups for Hungary and Ukraine will meet from 11.30am-12.15pm.

Mark Jacobson, Jerry Naditch and Dennis Rice will present the main program, as they discuss genealogy resources not generally available online.

Researchers tend to forget that genealogists discovered useful sources of information well before the internet existed!

The presentation will focus on several “hard copy” resources such as: vital records, grave markers, published obituaries, city directories and Social Security applications.

The speakers will demonstrate examples of source material; how and where to obtain it. They will review resources of the Family History Centers (FHC), sponsored by the Mormon Church.

Many valuable genealogical documents are available only on microfilm, which can often be ordered and read at the Boca Raton Family History Library and other Palm Beach County sites.

Submit questions in advance for the Brick Wall program.

For more information, visit the JGS of Palm Beach County.

Belarus: Dokshitsy Diaspora Reunion, August 20-22

Tracing the Tribe reported earlier on the planned Dokshitsy (Belarus) Diaspora Reunion.

Aaron Ginsburg of Natick, Massachusetts has provided more information on the reunion which will take place in a suburban Boston hotel, from Friday-Sunday, August 20-22. See Tracing the Tribe’s earlier post for additional details.

There’s also a tentative program which may also help other researchers attempting to plan such a reunion for their own ancestral villages.

Aaron’s message is doubly important at this time of the year:

Passover is a time when we are called on to remember our shared past.

We remember Sinai because we know that our ancestors were there; we remember Dokshitsy because our ancestors were there.

The road from Sinai to today runs through shtetlach like Dokshitsy where so many of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents began their lives.

The lost Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, including Dokshitsy, are part of a past that continues to unite us no matter where we live.

Aaron reminds Dokshitsy descendants that volunteers are needed to help out, families to create presentations and talks about their family histories from the shtetl to the Diaspora.

Descendants who wish to participate and help in planning should contact Aaron through the group’s website or Facebook page (Jewish Dokshitsy).

Tentative Schedule:

Friday, August 20
5-8pm: Sign in, cocktails, light snacks, introductions, and networking.
7.30-8.20pm: Services, followed by dinner (Kosher option).

Saturday, August 21
7-9am: Services
8.15-9am: Breakfast
9am: Organizers’ welcome and introductions
9.30am: Dokshitsy– a vanished world
10.45am: The Dokshitzers who left – how a small shtetl gave rise to the Dokshitsy Diaspora
Noon: Lunch
1pm: Dokshitzers who stayed – the Holocaust in Dokshitsy; the Dokshitsy Cemetery Restoration Project; future remembrance projects
2:15-4pm: Family Presentations
4-7pm: Break
7pm: Pre-dinner presentation; slide show; photographs
8-11pm: Dinner, informal sharing experiences, family stories

Sunday, August 22
8-11am: Light breakfast and goodbyes

When will YOU plan a reunion for your ancestral shtetl’s descendants?

Washington DC: NARA Genealogy Fair, April 14-15

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington will participate in the Sixth Genealogy Fair sponsored by the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) on Wednesday-Thursday, April 14-15, in Washington DC.

Admission is free for the two full days of lectures and exhibits at the National Archives Research Center Lobby and Pennsylvania Avenue Plaza. National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC. Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For the full NARA Announcement, program schedule, directors and more, click here. For more information on the JGSGW, click here.

Speakers include historian at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Zack Wilske; professional genealogists Susannah Brooks, Elizabeth K. Kerstens, Marie V. Melchiori, and Thomas Shawker M.D.; and National Archives experts Patrick Connelly, Rebecca Crawford, Damani Davis, John Deeben, Claire P. Kluskens, Trevor Plante, Constance Potter, Mary Frances Ronan, Rebecca Sharp, Katherine Vollen, and Reginald Washington.

Guest exhibitors include the Library of Congress, Washington DC Family History Center, FamilySearch, Federation of Genealogical Societies, and local county genealogical societies.

Programs will run from 9:30am-4:30pm both days and will showcase the diversity of Federal records located at the National Archives as resources for family history research. Speakers include National Archives staff, historians, and genealogy professionals. The fair will provide information and guidance for experienced genealogy professionals and novices alike. The event is presented in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and with support from Ancestry.com.

Sessions include workshops on records relating to minority and ethnic groups including African Americans, Chinese, German, Irish, Japanese, Native Americans, and women, as well as a session on DNA genealogy testing, and an evening program on the new genealogy-based TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?”

National Archives staff will demonstrate how to use databases including the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and Access to Archival Databases (AAD). Staff at the “Help! I’m Stuck” table will be available to assist researchers.

See the Complete schedule for Day 1 – Wednesday, April 14; and the Complete schedule for Day 2 – Thursday, April 15. View the condensed schedule for both days, showing session titles, times and locations. See the map of the fair, showing the locations of guest genealogy exhibitors, NARA genealogy exhibitors,and sessions.

Guest genealogy exhibitors include many archival, historical, libraries exhibitors, NGS, FGS, ethnic societies, and more – see the list at the link above.

Readers in the Washington DC area may be interested in other regional spring genealogy meets in addition to the NARA event:

April 10 – The Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society – Bowie, Maryland – brochure
April 10 – The Family History Institute of Southwest Virginia – Wytheville –
April 16-17, 2010 – The Virginia Genealogical Society 50th Anniversary Conference – Richmond – brochure

Like to plan ahead? The JGSGW will host the 2011 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (Washington, DC) from August 14-19, 2011.

JGSLA 2010: Volunteers needed

Frequent conference attendees will tell you that an excellent way to meet new people and connect with those sharing your interests is to volunteer in various ways before or during the conference.

JGSLA 2010 has put out a public call for volunteers, via conference volunteer coordinator Lois Rosen. (See below for some important jobs that need the right person now!)

A major conference like this relies on an army of volunteers in so many areas. Some jobs can be done from home prior to the conference, others are focused on helping during the conference.

Do you have time to help before or during the conference?

During the conference, help is needed in all areas to help staff important locations, such as registration, hospitality, resource and more.

Volunteering your time adds to the success of the event, and also helps you meet new people and make new friends.

Here are just some of the possibilities:
Hospitality volunteers/Greeters
Registration volunteers
Resource Room staff
Film Festival or Screening Room staff
Tour chaperones or guides
Computer or tech support volunteers
Outreach to are synagogues
Outreach to area Jewish organizations, schools, or youth groups

and many more opportunities!

Before the conference, there are other jobs that need to be done. Frequent conference attendees who arrive early know all about bag-stuffing! But there’s much more.

Volunteers needed now:

Banquet Journal: Volunteers needed for Ad Solictor and Ad Layout.

Volunteer Scheduling Coordinator: This is a major job and carries a perk (free conference registration).

Carpenter/Artist: For the handy creative types out there: A carpenter/artist volunteer is needed to create a directional sign post for the Market Square event. This needs include arrows showing the distance to, for example, Minsk or Warsaw. Tracing the Tribe is assuming distances will be measured from Los Angeles.

There are many other jobs you can do. See the next Tracing the Tribe post which details some ways that you can help, no matter where you live.

Click here to learn all about volunteering for the JGSLA 2010 event or email volunteer coordinator Lois Rosen for more information.

New York: Sephardic programs, April-May

If you are searching your family’s Sephardic origin and history – particularly in Catalunya, here are three programs that may provide assistance.

American Sephardi Federation/Sephardic House presents “The Jews of Spain: Past and Present,” in a year-long program made possible through the support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, and the assistance of the Consulate General of Spain in New York.

These three April and May programs are in collaboration with and with the support of NYU’s Catalan Center, which is an affiliate of the Institut Ramon Llull.

All events take place at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, NYC, unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, April 28, 6:30pm
“Daughters of Sara, Mothers of Israel: Jewish Women in Medieval Girona”

I met Silvia Planas in Girona several years ago. She is the director of the Nahmanides institute in that city and the Museum of Jewish History, which I have visited several times. She is also the author of a book by the same name.

The names of the Jewish women who lived in medieval Girona were Astruga, Dolça, Esther, Mairona, Preciosa, Rahel, Sara. They were born in the city, and they gave birth there. They worked and did business there. Some of them, often under duress, gave up the faith of their fathers. Others professed to be the fervent heiresses of the ancestral law.

In this talk, Planas will endeavor to rediscover these women and honor their legacy and their memory.

Fee: ASF members, students: free; others, $5. Reservations requested.

Sunday, May 2, 2010, 4pm
A History of Jewish Catalonia

One of the books in my collection is this beautifully illustrated book, by Silvia Planas and Manuel Forcano (who will present this program), which traces the rich history of the Jews in Catalonia from the time of the late Roman Empire and the Early Middle Ages, until the decree of expulsion.

It captures their wedding songs, the smells from their cooking pots, and reconstructs the soaring intellectual edifice they created despite the difficulties of a daily life fraught with religious persecution and social degradation.

A book sale and signing follows. Fee: ASF members, students, free; others, $5. Reservations requested.

Tuesday, May 4, 6:30pm
Traces of Esther: The Jewish Presence in Contemporary Catalan Literature

Manuel Forcano, Ph.D. (Semitic Philology), poet and essayist, will offer a Catalan perspective on Jewish culture as reflected in the writings of the great 19th-20th century Catalan authors.

Offering rich passages from the literature, Dr. Forcano will guide us from the negative stereotypes of the 19th century, through the fascination with Israel as both a religious and political inspiration, and the Bible and the Talmud as references, to the emergence of a modern, nuanced view of the place of Jewish culture in Catalonia.

Fee: Free. Venue: King Juan Carlos Center, 53 Washington Square South (bet. Sullivan & Thompson Streets). Reservations requested.

JGSLA 2010: Ways to get the word out!

Each annual conference is the place where everything new in Jewish genealogy is announced, demonstrated, discussed and thoroughly enjoyed.

From lectures to workshops to SIG luncheons, IAJGS awards, business matters, creative initiatives – this is where it happens. This is where the research juices flow and where additional ideas and projects germinate

Most of today’s leaders in the Jewish genealogy world got their start and met some of their closest friends today at these conferences.

The LA conference is shaping up to be one of the best in recent years, in my opinion. Tracing the Tribe thinks that you will also find it stimulating, creative, fulfilling and well worth the investment to attend regardless of whether you live close by in Los Angeles, or will be coming from Israel, Europe, South America, Canada or Australia.

No matter where you live you can help get the word out to more people. “The more the merrier” holds true for these annual conferences. We learn from the international experts presenting, from the people we share lunch or just a cup of coffee with. We never know whom we’ll be sitting with at a program and they may just provide the “missing link” for which we’ve been searching for a very long time.

Here are some suggestions for getting the word out about JGSLA 2010 (June 11-16, Los Angeles).

These are methods that everyone can use, no matter where you live. They are also adaptable to your own genealogical and historical society’s programs throughout the year.

Jobs everyone can do, no matter where you live:

Get-the-Word-Out Volunteers: Everyone can help with this in their own communities. It involves “plugging” the conference with a brief presentation at your synagogue, JCC, library, Hadassah group, Chavurah, relevant committee meetings, youth groups, Jewish school, etc.

If speaking, even briefly, isn’t your thing, here are other suggestions:

— Post a conference fliers on community institution bulletin boards.

— Leave fliers in the lobby for visitors.

— Major event coming up at your synagogue or school? Ask the office if the conference flier can be included in a mailing or if conference information can be included in the weekly Shabbat handout.

— Ask your rabbi to mention the conference at Friday night or Saturday morning services. The rabbi may be even more willing to tie it in to a bar/bat mitzvah, baby naming, calling the bride and groom for an aliya, or other life cycle event. Perhaps he or she may be willing to say a few words on how recording Jewish family history connects the generations, past, present and future.

Materials Available: There is a JPG flier to print and post (at synagogues, JCCs, libraries, local Judaica stores or kosher markets, Jewish schools, etc.) or stacks of fliers to distribute to the same places.

Most community institutions have a location in the lobby where fliers for relevant events can be placed for patrons and visitors, as well as bulletin boards to display fliers.

If you’d like to have a speaker come to talk about the conference to your organization, club, women’s or men’s group, that can also be arranged. That’s a great way to let new people know about Jewish genealogy and the conference.

Click here to learn all about volunteering for the JGSLA 2010 event or email volunteer coordinator Lois Rosen for more information.