Technology: The future, dot by dot

Remember these colorful candy dots on long strips of paper? Now there are nanodots. They may not be as as colorful but, in the future, may be just as sweet.

Tired of carrying around your family history paper charts, or using an iPhone that gets heavier as you add data to various genealogy apps?

Yes, Tracing the Tribe knows that iPhones really don’t get heavier as you add information. Just wanted to get your attention.

In any case, North Carolina State University researchers have developed a computer chip that can store a huge amount of data – an entire library’s information on a single chip – using nanodots.

The single crystal nanodots create magnetic sensors integrated into a silicon electronic chip. Yes, I know that your eyes just glazed over, except for the techies out there.

“We have created magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allowing us to store over one billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch,” says Dr. Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and author of the research.

However, the question is how this new technology may help genealogists, database developers and others. And more technology must be developed to utilize it properly.

The entire Ellis Island Database, along with Steve Morse’s rainbow of One-Step search forms, all the federal censuses? Everything on one tiny chip? Stick it in some sort of reader to be developed and you might not even need the Internet. Ha!

Read more about the “Self Assembly of epitaxial magnetic nanostructures” at the link above

What uses can you think up for such an item? The future is here.

New York: Three Catalan Sephardic programs, May 2-4

The American Sephardi Federation has scheduled three programs from Sunday, May 2-Tuesday, May 4.

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

A lecture on this book, along with a sale and signing, will feature authors Sílvia Planas and Manuel Forcano.

This beautifully illustrated book traces the rich and fertile history of the Jews in Catalonia from the time of the late Roman Empire and the Early Middle Ages, until the drastic decree of expulsion by the Catholic Monarchs.

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.
 
The program is in collaboration with and the support of NYU’s Catalan Center, an affiliate of the Institut Ramon Llull, and the European Institute of the Mediterranean

Fee: ASF members/students, free; others $5. It will take place at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, NYC. Reservations requested.

— A Certain Identity: Crypto Jews Around the World
6.30pm, Monday, May 3

Thousands of Iberian Jews went “underground” at the time of the Inquisition and the expulsion from Spain. They dispersed across Europe, across the ocean to South America and the Caribbean, to North Africa and the Middle East. With tremendous tenacity, they preserved their heritage, married among themselves, and passed it down from generation to generation.

Gloria Mound, Director of the Casa Shalom-Institute for Anusim Studies in Israel, will illuminate their fascinating history, their presence in the Caribbean and in European countries, as well as previously unsuspected links with French Huguenots.

Fee: ASF members/students, $5; others $10. It will take place at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, NYC. Reservations requested.

— Traces of Esther: The Jewish Presence in Contemporary Catalan Literature
6.30pm, Tuesday, May 4

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

The program is in collaboration with and the support of NYU’s Catalan Center and the European Institute of the Mediterranean.

Fee: no charge. It will take place at the King Juan Carlos Center, 53 Washington Square South (bet. Sullivan & Thompson Streets). Reservations requested.

Canada: Yiddish oxen, tractors in Saskatchewan

The Yiddish Book Center (Amherst, Massachusetts) sends out periodic newsletters on books and events.

The latest update, just received by Tracing the Tribe, has several interesting items, particularly a Yiddish book on a Saskatchewan farming community and an update on the Hania, Crete synagogue fire and attempts at rebuilding its destroyed library.

Learning how our ancestors lived is key to understanding who they were and how they coped with local conditions.
When, in 1911, Michael Usiskin arrived in the Jewish settlement of Edenbridge, in northeastern Saskatchewan, he and the other pioneers struggled.

Weather conditions, isolation and other factors contributed to their attempt to form Jewish cultural life. He recorded this life in his 1945 Yiddish book, Oksn un motorn (Oxen and Tractors).

To learn more about this book, click here.

Readers may remember the devasting fire at the Hania, Crete synagogue that destroyed its library. Many people have already donated books to rebuild that important resource. The drawing at left is part of director Nikos Stravroulakis’ drawing of the town.
Click here to read the thank you message from Stavroulakis and his staff. Read the names of those who donated books and see an interactive map, as well as a list of books they still need.
Subscribe to the National Yiddish Book Center’s newsletter.

Florida: Share success, May 12

Researchers are often frustrated by brick walls and remaining gaps in family history, but we also love to hear about colleagues who have made considerable progress and to share their success.

Some 15 years ago, Tracing the Tribe was looking for relatives from Mogilev, who had settled in Detroit, Michigan. The strategy included sending out, via snail mail, a stack of letters to those with the same or similar names. The letter explained why I was looking for those family members and included my contact information. I received quite a few answers.

My favorite response: “I’m not a member of that family, but I do know them. Here’s their contact information.” While some may consider this strategy a long shot – only one good response is needed to find those whom you seek.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County – celebrating its 19th year – will hold its annual SOS (“Share Our Success”) membership meeting on Wednesday, May 12. The day runs from 12.30-3pm at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach.

The agenda includes a Brick Wall Session, election and installation of officers and the main program starts at 1pm.

Three members will share their successful research stories and explain the methods used to trace their families:

  • Dr. Gary Stone will give a PowerPoint presentation “Barney’s Story,” a moving narrative of a family member who was responsible for bringing most of his family (more than 50 persons) to the USA.
  • Dorothy Bernstein will share her research success finding family members despite the many changes in the spelling of the family name. Her persistence in searching for vital records enabled her to discover the various spellings were actually in the same family.
  • Glenn Segal will discuss how to make successful research contacts through phoning.

The annual program provides a wealth of genealogical research information. It is always one of the most popular events of the year. Q&A follows the presentations; members are invited to discuss their own success stories.

For more information on the program, or to submit questions for the Brick Wall discussion, e-mail program chair Helene Seaman.

Yizkor Book Project: Additions and updates during April

The dedicated volunteers at the Yizkor Book Project at JewishGen were busy in April. See below for the complete list of additions, new projects, updates and more.

Four new Translation Fund Projects have been organized for Debica and Grajewo (Poland), Leova (Romania) and Olkeniki (Lithuania). These projects collect funds to hire professional translators so these books can be made accessible online. Readers with roots in these geographical locations (and others) are invited to contribute to the Translation Fund.

The list, with links to each community, is organized by country:
(NP=New Project; N=New Entry; U=Updated)

AUSTRIA

NP — Neunkirchen (The Holy Community of Neunkirchen: A story of Jews in their native land)

BELARUS

NP — Disna (Disna; memorial book of the community)
U — Antopol (Shards of Memory: Messages from the Lost Shtetl of Antopol)
U — Ruzhany (Rozana; a memorial book to the Jewish community)
U — Smarhon (Smorgon) (Smorgonie, District Vilna; memorial book and testimony)
U — Voronovo (Voronovo: Memorial Book to the Martyrs of Voronovo)

LITHUANIA

N — Backininkeliai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Balsiai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baltiskis  (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baltmiskis  (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baltusova (Pinkas Lita)
N — Baranas (Pinkas Lita)
N — Bariunai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Barova (Pinkas Lita)
N — Barsenai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Barstyciai (Pinkas Lita)
N — Bartininkai (Pinkas Lita)

POLAND

NP — Grojec (Grizer Scroll)
NP — Grudki (Horodok; in memory of the Jewish community)
NP – Serock (The book of Serock)
N — Baligrod (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
N — Lutowiska (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
N — Ustrzyki Dolne (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
U — Bedzin (A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Bendin)
U — Bialystok (The chronicle of Bialystok)
U — Brzeziny (Brzeziny memorial book)
U — Chelm (Commemoration book Chelm)
U — Czyzew-Osada (Czyzewo Memorial Book)
U — Dabrowa Gornicza (Book of the Jewish Community of Dabrowa Gornicza and its Destruction)
U — Debica (The Book of Dembitz) – additions to Polish section
U — Kaluszyn (The Memorial Book of Kaluszyn) – necrology
U — Katowice (Katowice: the Rise and Decline of the Jewish community; Memorial Book)
U — Kutno (Kutno and Surroundings Book)
U — Lesko (Memorial book; dedicated to the Jews of Linsk, Istrik and vicinity)
U — Miedzyrzec Podlaski (Mezritsh book, in memory of the martyrs of our city)
U — Opoczno (The Book of Opoczno: memorial for the destroyed community)
U — Piotrkow Trybunalski (A Tale of One City: Piotrkow Trybunalski)
U — Ryki (A memorial to the community of Ryki, Poland) – additions to Polish section
U — Zelechow (Memorial Book of the Community of Zelechow ) – added pictures to Polish section

UKRAINE

N — Skhodnitsa (Memorial to the Jews of Drohobycz, Boryslaw and surroundings)
U — Kolomyya (Memorial book of Kolomey and surroundings)
U — Ivano-Frankivsk (Towns and Mother-cities in Israel: Memorial of the Jewish Communities which Perished)
U — Vystosk (Our town, Visotsk; Memorial Book)

See all additions and updates flagged here.