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.

Ancestor Approved: 10 things about my ancestors

Tracing the Tribe has received the Ancestor Approved award from Pat and Judy, the GenealogyGals.

Their blog is a joint effort.

Award recipients are supposed to report on 10 things learned about our ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened us, and then pass along the award to 10 more genealogy bloggers who are doing their ancestors proud.

1. Surprised: At the life of my maternal great-grandmother Riva BANK TALALAY – born in a shtetl outside Kovno – who was ran away to the Gypsies – so the story goes – to avoid a disliked marriage. Along the way, she learned herbal healing, midwifery, reading tarot cards and palmistry. When she did marry Aron Peretz Talalay and moved to his agricultural colony Vorotinschtina, some 12 miles southwest of Mogilev, Belarus, she was known for creating the first closet in the shtetl. In Newark, New Jersey, she was also a midwife and healer and well-known for getting her way to make living better for her family.

2. Surprised: That the generation-to-generation one-liner – “This was our name in Spain” – has been corroborated by archival research in Spain and DNA genetic testing.

3. Enlightened: Our TALALAY family’s first immigrant ancestor met an English-speaker on the boat over in 1898 who advised him to change his name as no one would give a job to Mr. Tell-a-lie. Thus TOLLIN, TALLIN, TAYLOR, TOLL, TALL and – of course – those lost Philadelphia FEINSTEINs, came about.

4. Enlightened: My maternal FINK (Suchostaw, Galicia -> Ukraine) grandfather and his brothers had a large building maintenance company in New York City. Once, during a window-cleaners’ strike, a worker was quoted as calling his employers, “those rats, the FINKs.” According to family story, the term “rat-fink” was born.

5. Surprised: On hearing that my mother, as a teen, used to swim across Kauneonga Lake (Catskills, Sullivan County, about 10 miles from Monticello) frequently. It is a very large lake!

6. Humbled: To have found at least one lost branch of the Dardashti family, and thus fulfilling a request of my husband’s eldest aunt Nane-jan – made more than 35 years ago in Teheran – to find the lost branches (descendants of relatives who became Moslem) and tell them that they had cousins who thought about them all the time.

7. Humbled: To think about the difficulties Nane-jan underwent as the first Jewish girl to go to school in Teheran in 1902. The community stopped buying from her father, a butcher, and she endured taunts and attacks on her way to school. All her sisters also went to school, with some of them becoming French teachers. It wasn’t easy being a father with such advanced enlightened thinking in those days.

8. Frequently flabbergasted when thinking of our newly-connected TALALAY-KATSNELSON relatives (from Bobruisk, Belarus) in Melbourne, Australia. Their eldest daughter Nelly is a journalist and her daughter is Miliana. I’m Schelly, a journalist and our daughter is Liana. Do you also hear Twilight Zone music?

9. Surprised at how much cousin Leon in Melbourne and I resemble each other. His mother was a Talalay whose father (Gamshei) had moved (reasons still unknown) from Mogilev to Bobruisk.

10. Still shocked: My late cousin Victor Talalay (Toronto) and I both located information about the family branch in Israel at the same time, decades ago, when we separately visited Israel and found the data in the English phone book. We each dutifully copied the info and held onto the scraps of paper with name, address and phone number for decades. I finally wrote and located the granddaughter as her grandfather, who placed the entry every year, had died only a year or so prior. He had placed the info in the English phone book every year hoping that US relatives would find it and contact him. He had arrived from Berlin (after leaving Mogilev in 1902 and going to London and Germany) to Israel in 1933. Moral: Never procrastinate when it comes to following up on all clues to family history.

Since I am coming into this award late – procrastination still runs in our family – and I believe almost all bloggers have already been tagged, I am awarding this coveted prize to everyone who has not already been noted.

Ancestry Sweepstakes: Ultimate family history journey!

If you are the grand prize winner in Ancestry.com’s new sweepstakes, you may win a very nice deal.

Have you always wanted to visit your ancestral village? Research in archives? Here’s your chance. No purchase is necessary.

You can register once a day – and if you register up to five friends, you have the opportunity to register more than once a day. Read the rules carefully.

The contest runs through April 30, and you could win the following:

  • $20,000 in travel money
  • Eight-hour consultation with an expert genealogist
  • Five experts in fields relevant to your personal family history to help you learn even more
  • Annual World Deluxe Subscription for you and five family members
    • In addition, 20 First Prize winners will receive an Ancestry World Deluxe Edition subscription.

      The Grand Prize drawing will be held on or around May 3. Go to Ancestry.com, complete the form and see links to other relevant sections, such as the FAQ and Official Rules.

      How to sign up for the sweepstakes: Provide your email address and contact information. You don’t have to buy anything to enter. By registering (you will receive a follow-up email with a username and password to log in to a free account, but not to the subscription databases), you can start a family tree.

      To enter, go directly to Ancestry.com. Register once each day using the username and password sent to you.

      Good luck!

      Best 40 Blogs: Tracing the Tribe is honored!

      Family Tree Magazine has just announced the list of 40 best genealogy blogs in the May 2010 issue. Winners just received an email from editor Diane Haddad.

      Tracing the Tribe is honored to be among the five blogs in the Heritage category.


      In the magazine’s “Fab 40” on-line article, Maureen Taylor writes:

      Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog

      Schelly Talalay Dardashti’s passion for Jewish genealogy comes through every post. Since August 2006, she’s written on genealogy news and resources, research strategies, Jewish history, museums, and her experiences tracing her own Jewish ancestors through Belarus, Russia, Lithuania and Spain.

      Read below for Diane’s email and the list of all 40 winners.

      Writes Diane:

      That’s not to say, of course, that there aren’t many more stellar blogs among the hundreds family historians use to chronicle their successes and brick walls, share history, offer genealogy guidance and more.

      All their legions of posts add up to an extraordinary store of collective knowledge about how to discover, preserve and celebrate your family history.

      We’re hoping this look at the genealogy blogosphere inspires you to go exploring for more blogs to add to your reader.

      See our online article for the complete “FT40” list, as well as tools to find more genealogy blogs. Congratulations to the following Family Tree 40 bloggers (listed in alphabetical order by category). We admire their writing, research and photography skills, and applaud their work to promote the pursuit of family history. I hope their blogs will proudly wear the Family Tree 40 logo!

      All-Around
      Creative Gene by Jasia Smasha
      footnoteMaven by footnoteMaven
      GeneaBloggers by Thomas MacEntee
      Genea-Musings by Randy Seaver

      Cemetery
      The Association of Graveyard Rabbits by several authors
      Granite in My Blood by Midge Frazel

      Corporate
      Ancestry.com Blog by various authors

      Genetic Genealogy
      The Genetic Genealogist by Blaine Bettinger

      Heritage
      George Geder by George Geder
      Scottish Genealogy News and Events by Chris Paton
      Small Leaved Shamrock by Lisa
      Steve’s Genealogy Blog by Stephen Danko
      Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog by Schelly Talalay Dardashti

      How-To
      Family Matters by Denise Barrett Olson
      Genealogy Guys by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith
      Genealogy Tip of the Day by Michael John Neill
      The ProGenealogists Blog by various authors

      Local & Regional
      California Genealogical Society and Library Blog by Kathryn Doyle
      Sandusky History by the staff of the Sandusky (Ohio) Library Archives Research Center
      Midwestern Microhistory by Harold Henderson

      News & Resources
      The Ancestry Insider by theAncestry Insider
      DearMyrtle by Pat Richley-Erickson
      Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter by Dick Eastman
      GenealogyBlog by Leland Meitzler

      Photos & Heirlooms
      The Family Curator by Denise Levenick
      Shades of the Departed by footnoteMaven

      Personal & Family
      Ancestories: The Stories of My Ancestors by Miriam Midkiff
      Apple’s Tree by anonymous
      BeNotForgot by Vickie Everhart
      Educated Genealogist by Sheri Fenley
      Greta’s Genealogy Blog by Greta Koehl
      Heritage Happens by Cheryl Fleming Palmer
      Herstoryan by Herstoryan
      Janet the Researcher by Janet Iles
      Kinexxions by Becky Wiseman
      Little Bytes of Life by Elizabeth
      Our Georgia Roots by Luckie Daniels
      WeTree by Amy Coffin
      West in New England by Bill West
      What’s Past is Prologue by Donna Pointkouski

      Read the online article by Maureen Taylor at the link above.

      Congratulations to all our geneablogger colleagues on this honor!

      New York: Old Records Division treasures, Feb. 21

      New York City’s Division of Old Records holds many important genealogical records.

      Joseph Van Nostrand, of the New York County Clerk’s office, will demonstrate what researchers can find in division records at the next Jewish Genealogical Society of New York meeting on Sunday, February 21.

      “Treasure Hunt at the Division of Old Records” begins at 2pm at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. See the JGSNY website for address, directions and more information.

      His talk will cover the use and interrelationship of various record series at the Division, for use in genealogy. It will include information in New York County naturalizations (1792-1924) with emphasis on records before and after 1895.

      Additionally, the census records for 1855, 1870, 1905, 1915 and 1925 and the diverse data and access will be explored. He’ll also address business records, civil court proceedings and more. Court proceedings cover divorces, guardianships, name changes, foreclosures and other tort actions.

      Van Nostrand has been the supervising archivist at the Division of Old Records of the New York County Clerk for almost 30 years. He earned a BA (History) from Fordham University and an MA (American History) from NYU.

      He’s a trustee and officer for two non-profit corporations concerned with the preservation and use of historical records.

      Since the inception of the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund by the New York State Archives, he has successfully written grants for over $1 million for the conservation treatment of colonial and early national court minute books, microfilming and scanning of court records, and the creation of database indexes to search pre-1911 court records by both plaintiff and defendant.

      In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded the 2009 Bernard B. Botein Award for “outstanding contributions to the administration of the courts,” by the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

      The Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at CJH will be open 12.30-1.45pm for networking.

      For more information, visit the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York.

      Online: Top 10 gen mags

      Genealogy in Time has two interesting articles online now.

      The first is a list of the top 10 most popular online genealogy magazines, according to Alexa, which measures Internet traffic and monitors millions of online sources including thousands of genealogy sites. The second is a top 10 list of 2009’s most popular genealogy themes.

      Read the first here.

      The list is headed by our geneablogger colleague Dick Eastman, of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Magazine. When Dick started writing, there was no such thing as a blog, thus he decided to call it a magazine, but Tracing the Tribe is always proud to call him a fellow geneablogger!

      The Top 10 list with links to each:

      1. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Magazine [Link]
      2. Family Tree Magazine [Link]
      3. Family Chronicle Magazine [Link]
      4. Journal of Genetic Genealogy [Link]
      5. The Global Gazette [Link]
      6. Genealogy In Time [Link]
      7. Genealogy Roots Blog [Link]
      8. Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly – This is the go-to genealogy site for anyone wanting to trace their roots in the State of Georgia. [Link]
      9. Genealogy Magazine [Link]
      10. Family Research [Link]

      For more on each publication, click the link above and also see Alexa’s most recent list here.

      The second article is a 2009 roundup of top genealogy news stories and themes. Read Genealogy in Time’s article here for more on each. Last year, genetic testing topped the list; this year’s is more diverse and is topped by privacy or lack of same for online personal gen information.

      Here are the top 10 in reverse order:

      10. Long Life Does Run in Families – Long Life Runs in Families.

      9. Who Owns Your Online Genealogy Information – Who Owns Your Online Genealogy Information.

      8. DNA Confirms Final Remains of Russian Royal Family – DNA Confirms Remains of Russian Royal Family.

      7. The Drive for Youthfulness Even Extends to the Grave – Obituary Photos are Getting Younger.

      6. The Downside of Genetic Genealogy Tests – Germany Bans Genetic Genealogy Tests.

      5. Europe Remains at the Forefront of Genealogy Privacy – Europe Demands Privacy Standards for Social Networking Sites.

      4. Why Your Ancestors Kept Changing Their Name – Why Immigrants Change Their Name.

      3. Facebook and Privacy – Privacy Fears Raised Over Genealogy Application on Facebook, Regulator Finds Facebook has Serious Privacy Gaps, Facebook Announces Tighter Privacy Standards and Google Ads New Privacy Tools: Implications for Genealogy.

      2. The Biggest Genealogy Company Lists on the Stock Exchange – Genealogy This Week and Why Are Newspapers Dying?

      1. We Now Know How Much We Don’t Know About Our Ancestors

      According to Genealogy in Time, “we still do not have definitive answers to some of the really big genealogy questions. So, the next time you feel frustrated in your genealogy searches, take heart. You are in good company!”

      Enjoy your read!

      Books: 2010 Sami Rohr Prize finalists

      Five non-fiction finalists, from among 25 entries, were announced for the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, the fourth year the award has been given.

      Topics range from the role rabbis and Jewish intellectuals have played in forming American public identity, a candid and quirky spiritual memoir, the Jewish renaissance in Russia at the time of the Russian Revolution, the involvement of Jews in the international feather trade and Yiddish radio in America.

      The prize is administered by the Jewish Book Council.
      The winner gets $100,000, and the first runner-up will receive $25,000. The five finalists will meet with judges on December 6 in New York. The winners will be announced in January 2010, and the awards ceremony will take place March 31 in Jerusalem.
      The finalists and their books:

      — Lila Corwin Berman – Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity (University of California Press)

      — Ari Y. Kelman – Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio in the United States (University of California Press)

      — Kenneth B. Moss – Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press)
      — Danya Ruttenberg – Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press)
      — Sarah Abrevaya Stein – Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce (Yale University Press)

      To read the complete press release, please click here.