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.

California: Yosemite’s Jewish past

As regular readers will remember, Tracing the Tribe recently visited the town of Bendigo – north of Melbourne, Australia. It was the center of that area’s Gold Rush, and many Jews arrived there to join in.

In the US, the mid-1800s Gold Rush was centered in the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Country. This was also a magnet for Jews, whether as prospectors or as providers of goods and services for the miners.

Image above left is Yosemite Park.

The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles has an interesting article on Yosemite’s Jewish past and present by Elyse Glickman.

Yosemite even has a Jewish park ranger, Scott Gediman of North Hollywood, although the nearest synagogues are more than an hour away in Stockton and Fresno. He says he’s always wanted to be a park ranger, that isn’t that difficult to be Jewish there for a young Jewish family.

Back in 1978, the Jewish Sentinel published a historic account written by Norton B. Stern, summarizing Jewish life in the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa County, the epicenters of the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s.

Although their numbers were small, Jewish immigrants (mostly from Central Europe, though a few came from France and Bavaria) built their fortunes through dry goods and clothing businesses that in turn provided much-needed supplies, services and necessities for miners and others settling into the West. Many of the Jewish residents were also simultaneously active in politics and civil posts in townships dotting the area — including Bear Valley, Coulterville, Hornitos, Agua Fria and Mariposa.

The short but fact-filled 30-year-old article was sourced in the archives of the Mariposa Museum and History Center, a spot small on space but rich in substance. The prolific collection of Gold Rush-era artifacts is organized thematically and exhaustively catalogued in a way that brings textbook American history into three dimensions.

According to Gediman:

Read the complete story at the link above.

“Today, there is a fairly big Jewish population in Stockton and Modesto, and during the late 1800s, Jewish families served as early concessionaires to miners before settling in those places,” Gediman said. “Before the federal government came to California, Jewish pioneers ran some of the stores, hotels, photography businesses, souvenir stores and things like that. Though many of these businesses are long gone, they made their mark on history.”

JGSLA 2010: Belarus events set

As a charter member of the Belarus SIG, this group is dear to Tracing the Tribe’s genealogical heart.

Belarus SIG began life as a crowded birds-of-a-feather meeting spearheaded by Daveid Fox, at the Boston 1996 conference and became a SIG at the 1998 Los Angeles event. The speaker in Boston was a then-recent Mogilev immigrant to Brooklyn, Bella Nayer, who had been very involved in community affairs.
The map (above left) is a 1916 map of Belarus. 
The graphic (below right) is a woodcut of the Mogilev synagogue.

What does the SIG have planned for its return to its birthplace?

Tracing the Tribe has already covered the Belarus luncheon (Tuesday, July 13) speaker: Moscow born, Jewish filmmaker, researcher and travel professional Michael Masterovoy.

The luncheon description reads:

 “In 1793,the central part of Belarus, including Minsk, became a part of the Russian empire. In addition to being the capital of Belarus it was also a center of Jewish life and home of many Torah sages and Yeshivas that attracted students from all over Europe. Before World War II, Jews made up 40% of the total  population in the city. Join Moscow born, Jewish filmmaker, researcher and travel professional, Michael Masterovoy, as he takes you on a tour of a present-day Belarus, which resonates with the past. View a short video of several Belarusian shtetls, walk the streets of Movsha Shagal’s (Marc Chagall’s) Vitebsk with Michael (and view the museum) and learn about the positive aspects of travel to a socialist state with a human face, the land of vodka and honey that echoes with the footsteps of our ancestors.”

The luncheon is a fee-added event. Belarus SIG luncheons are always well-attended – sign up early and avoid disappointment.

The Belarus SIG business meeting is set for later the same day and will feature the group’s progress and achievements.

The group also plans to be part of the Sunday opening day Market Fair, from 2-4.30pm.

The Market Fair will feature experts and mavens staffing “pushcarts” and offering assistance and guidance, representing nearly every region where Jews once lived. “Wares” will include old maps, vital records, landowner records, historical photos and postcards, translation, crafts, cooking and much more.

Food (including kosher) will be available for purchase. And don’t miss the great klezmer concerts (yes – two of them!) by Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi, after the Market Fair and again in the early evening.

For more information on the Belarus SIG, its treasure trove of databases and much more, click here.

San Diego: Using Ancestry.com, May 16

Our geneablogging colleague Randy Seaver will speak on “Using Ancestry.com Databases and Family Trees Effectively,” at the next meeting of the San Diego Jewish Genealogical Society, on Sunday, May 16.
The program runs from 1-3pm, at the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla.
Randy will discuss and demonstrate these topics and more and will offer recommendations.

The Ancestry.com subscription website has many wonderful features – it’s like a lavish buffet where it is difficult to choose! What is best to do and how do you use it?
Searches: basic or advanced search; new or old search screens; exact or ranked matches; full names or wild cards; specific or all databases; restricted collection or whole collection.

For family trees: public or private; one-editor or group editors; GEDCOM upload or enter-by-hand; upload photos and documents; attach historical documents; add stories; “collect” data from others; synchronization with software; etc.

A native San Diegan, Randy is a graduate of San Diego State University in Aerospace Engineering, and is a retired aerodynamics engineer with a 38-year career at Rohr/Goodrich in Chula Vista. His ancestry is mainly colonial New England and Upper Atlantic, with some colonial German, French and Dutch forebears, and several 19th-century English immigrants.

Randy is one of our master geneabloggers, authoring Genea-Musings, The Geneaholic and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe.

His many genealogy activities include the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (former president, current newsletter editor and research chair); speaking to Southern California societies, libraries and groups; teaching OASIS senior adults beginning computer genealogy classes; authors the Genealogy 2.0 column for the FGS’s ForumMagazine; and is a member of NGS, NEHGS, SDGS and CGSSD.

California: Jamboree mini-course registration begins May 1

In the Los Angeles area? Here are 14 more reasons to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree (June 11-13), in Burbank).

Registration opens May 1 for these 14 mini-course workshops (one or two hours each) – a really good line up of classes and instructors. If you are interested, sign up fast (only online as of May 1). These will likely fill quickly with only 17 seats per class.

You may sign up for the workshops only if you’ve already registered for Jamboree, but you can do both at the same time. Each registrant may sign up for only one workshop. All workshops (except one) require attendees to bring laptops or netbooks.

Download the complete Jamboree program grid here, so you’ll be better prepared to organize your time.

Read instructor bios, class descriptions and whether there’s an advance assignment to complete. Some courses require attendees to download something, register for an account, bring family details, have a specific program on your computer.

Seating is limited, so choose a second if your favorite has already filled. 

Course times, titles and instructors:

  • Friday: Using Google Earth to Map Your Ancestor’s Home, Google Docs for Beginners, Using Excel in Genealogy.
  • Saturday: Platting Your Ancestor’s Land, FindAGrave, Skype – The Cool New Way to Talk to the Grandkids, Blogger for Beginners, WordPress for Beginners, Writing Your Family History Using Microsoft Word.
  • Sunday:  Using Your Computer, Video Camera and YouTube, Second Life: A New World of Online Genealogy, Using Excel in Genealogy, Scanning Tips and Tricks, Google Reader for Beginners.

For complete mini-course descriptions, instructors and requirements, click here.

Southern California: ‘Genealogy in the round," May 2

“Genealogy In The Round: Share Your Successes, Failures, Artifacts and Brick Walls” is the topic at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County, on Sunday, May 2.

It begins at 1.30pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks.

Sharing problems, solutions and other aspects of family history research helps everyone. One person’s experience may solve another’s problem.

Come and share a genealogical success, failure, brick wall, or genealogical artifact! This is your meeting – we all learn from one another – take this opportunity to share your genealogical story – success or failure, ask questions about your brick walls, and more!

If you wish to participate in the program, contact Jan Meisels Allen at president@JGSCV.org. Each participant will be given 5-10 minutes to share – depending on the number of presenters. Whether you are a JGSCV member or a potential member – we’d love to hear your genealogical story.

There is no fee to attend this meeting.

Los Angeles: Jamboree discounts end April 30

The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is just around the corner, June 11-13, at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel and Convention Center.

Some 1,600 attendees will benefit from 120 sessions, workshops and events; 50 internationally known speakers, and 70 exhibitors displaying products and services.

The geneabloggers will again be there in force with two special Blogger Summit sessions. Go from zero to blogging in only 60 minutes in the first, while the second will take you higher as you learn how to market your blog, make it more appealing and even more important issues.

Tracing the Tribe is on the panel for the second blogger session (11.30am-12.30pm, Saturday, June 12, “Now that You’re a Genealogy Blogger”) My genea-colleagues for that session are Lisa Louise Cooke, Kathryn Doyle, Thomas MacEntee and Craig Manson.

Later that day (2-3pm), I will present “The Iberian Ashkenaz DNA Project: The Administrator’s Viewpoint.” it will cover developing and building a DNA project from initial concept, project goal, criteria, participation and results.  

Early-bird discounts end April 30. Register by then and receive a $10 registration discount, $5 discount on all special events, and a free copy of the printed syllabus ($20 value).

More reasons – there are many – include:

Free Friday kids’ session for ages 8-16, as well as librarians and beginner researchers.

Free “Genealogy World” roundtable small group discussion sessions Friday morning – dozens of topics lead by experts (Tracing the Tribe and Daniel Horowitz will each lead one on Jewish research). Topics include regional and ethnic research, searching birth families, genealogy society management sessions. The Jamboree blog will detail these roundtables scheduled over three hours.

Free document and photo scanning provided by Ancestry.com.

Free webinar to help get the most out of any genealogy conference, including Jamboree. Click on the webinar image here.

— Friday morning tour of Evergreen Cemetery (Los Angeles), followed by lunch at Philippe’s Who says genealogy isn’t delicious? Philippe’s is where, according to legend, the French Dip sandwich was created!

— Excel, Word, Skype, blogging and Google applications in hand’s-on minicourses.

— Door prizes – worth thousands of dollars – include a week at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, a weekend at Strawberry Creek Inn or Bunkhouse B&B (Idyllwild, California).

— Beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.

— Live podcast Saturday – with Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems Podcast.

— Friday night banquet with Chris Haley, nephew of Alex Haley (“Roots”).

Free webinar Saturday morning with DearMYRTLE. Societies from across the US and Canada can participate from home via GoToWebinar. Join us onsite for breakfast (fee) or over the web.

Dates to remember:

April 30: Early bird registration ends at midnight.
May 1: Mini-sessions registration opens.
May 10: Marriott hotel discount ends.
June 1: Pre-registration closes.

Get all the details on Jamboree; click on the Jamboree logo.
Follow all Jamboree blog updates.

See you in Burbank!