Colorado: Memoir writing workshop, May 13

If you don’t write the history of your family, who will?

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, under the leadership of Ellen Shindelman Kowitt, is an active group offering several programs each month.

The next program is a “Memoir Writing Workshop for the Family Historian,” with Susan Jacobs, set for 6.30pm, Thursday, May 13, at Temple Emanuel, Denver.

Discover the joy of memoir writing in Jacobs’ stimulating and fun workshop for family historians, regardless of whether or not they’ve written anything previously.

Jacobs holds a BA in oral interpretation of literature (USC) and an interdiscplinary gerontology certificate (University of Denver). She has 30 years of teaching experience and 18 years teaching memoir writing at such venues as Regis University and the Denver Jewish Community Center.

In addition to monthly programs, the JGS of Colorado also offers a community genealogy education series for which it received some interesting grants which could be duplicated in other communities. For more information on the JGSCo’s programs, including resources and useful links, see the website above.

For more information, click here.

Inspiration: Vote for this Jewish genealogy video

“Genealogy is roots, connections, wanderings, imaginings, hearts, souls and minds,” says one participant in a short inspiring video that all genealogists – Jewish or not – should see (and vote for now).

Developed by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado and produced by the multi-talented Ellen Shindelman Kowitt, this video has the potential to influence a large audience of young people and bring them into the field.

But the JGSColorado needs the help of Tracing the Tribe’s readers to do it. Watch the video here as it reveals to viewers concisely and precisely what Jewish genealogy is, why we do it and some advice for beginners.

It takes only eight minutes to view the video and a few seconds to vote for the full five stars it deserves.

Ellen is one of the most dedicated and passionate genealogy people that I know. Her work focuses on the preservation and connectivity of the Jewish community in Colorado and throughout the world. Her passion for our favorite topic has brought people to their roots and revealed stories that would have been lost forever.

The video was produced as part of a larger JGSColorado project, and the group needs your help in a grass-roots video contest.

If the video wins any final position from first to fifth place, it will be announced at the Jewlicious Festival – the largest Jewish student and young adult festival in the world – in southern California February 19-21. It is the only video with a genealogy theme in the competition.

As genealogists, we are always talking about how we can bring in younger people. Imagine if this video were played to that huge young audience? How may this video impact the future of the Jewish genealogy world?

Be a part of this dream and help the JGS of Colorado – and perhaps the entire field of Jewish genealogy – by voting for this video.

Let’s win one for Jewish genealogy! Vote now!

Send this announcement to the members of your family, to the members of your genealogy societies, to your friends who understand your passion to this field, and ask them to vote as well. This post will be on Facebook and on Twitter, so if that’s your thing, please “LIKE” it and retweet it to let people know about it.

Go here or

Some relevant quotes from the video:

According to Rabbi Josh Rose of Congregation Har HaShem:

“It isn’t just accumulating information about your [ancestors], but being drawn into the process and being affected by it. Genealogy is you. Both what we discover and the very process of discovering is at the core of what we are. Link this to the study of Torah and you are learning the story of our people, the genealogy of our people. It is not only what we discover but the process, how that learning informs you, changes you, draws you in.”

Martin Mandelsberg, a Holocaust artist, notes that genealogy asks (and sometimes answers): “Where did I come from? How far can I go back? Are there people like me? I had to come from somewhere – who am I?

Terry Lasky, who has documented 22,000 Jewish burials in Colorado, advises viewers of two important points: “Have patience. Don’t expect to find everything in an hour,” and “Never give up.”

Go to the link above, see the full video, be inspired and vote for it now.

Colorado: Three great January programs!

While most people might not think of Colorado as a hotbed of Jewish genealogy, Tracing the Tribe knows better.

Ellen Shindelman Kowitt and her colleagues in the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado are doing a fantastic job in educating their community, organizing multi-session courses, and inviting experts to speak.

Three programs will take place during January.

— Sunday, January 10, 9-11am
How to find naturalization records and why they are so useful for researching family history, with Joan Grady, PhD. There is no charge. Congregation Har HaShem, 3950 Baseline Road, Boulder.

Grady teaches several courses, including one on genealogy, at Arapahoe Community College’s Adult Education division, has presented to local and national groups and her articles have appeared in genealogical magazines.

In addition to earning a PhD, MA, MLA and BA, she completed the BYU Certificate for genealogy with a special emphasis on the British Isles and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She’s been a public and private education teacher, principal and superintendent.

— Thursday, January 14, 6.30pm
Digitized Documents: Footnote & Family Search Pilot, with Janice Prater. There is no charge. Congregation Emanuel, 51 Grape Street, Denver.

Come learn about the exciting research tools on Footnote and FamilySearch. Footnote enhances your genealogy research through the use of digitized documents from the National Archives and Library of Congress.

The FamilySearch Pilot Site is a focus of the LDS and Family History Library; thousands of volunteers are working world-wide to make indexes and digitized images available to researchers. As these records become available, genealogists will benefit from this ever-changing site with expanded search capabilities.

Prater is Colorado Genealogical Society past president and editor of British Connections, a publication of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. She has worked in the Denver Public Library’s Western History/Genealogy Department for eight years, and now volunteers in the same department and archives.

Tracing the Tribe has previously written about Ellen’s eight-session Jewish Family Tree Initiative: Workshop and Mentoring Series. Here’s the information on the next session of this great course, which will take place at Temple Sinai, 3901 S. Glencoe Street, Denver.

— Sunday, January 24, 9.30-11.45am
Maximizing the Internet to Jump Start Research: Jewish Resources Online.

Learn how to successfully navigate Internet resources for tracing Jewish family history. Get pointed in the right direction and jump start your research. This lecture will focus on resources that identify, index or explain specifically Jewish documents, gravestones and traditions; JewishGen, Holocaust Research, Jewish Archives in the U.S. and Israel, Blogs and more.

The lecture and workshop are part of the series supported by the Rose Community Foundation. Sessions are led by members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado and developed to help people get started in Jewish family history research.

Each session includes an instructional lecture and a hands-on workshop to assist with the creation of family trees and historical research utilizing genealogical resources and techniques. Mentoring assistance outside of class will be available.

There is an $18 one-time fee for non-members to cover a book and materials; the course is free for JGSCO members. For those who have already attended one session and paid the fee, the other sessions are free. Attendance is not required for all eight sessions, so feel free to jump in to the sessions you want.

Questions on any of the JGSCO programs may be sent to Ellen. For more information, click on the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado’s site.

Colorado: Jewish Family Tree Initiative

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado received a Rose Community Foundation Grant to develop an innovative program to help start Jewish family history research.

The grant covers development and publicity costs.

The eight-session Jewish Family Tree Initiative: Workshop and Mentoring Series will be held at Denver’s Temple Sinai.

If you’ve never started tracing your family history, this is for you.

If you’ve started before but stalled and got sidetracked, this is also for you.

The one-time fee of $18 includes a book and materials, and a one-year membership in the JGS of Colorado. Mentoring assistance outside of class is available as part of the program, which is open to everyone.

Participants may attend every session or pick and choose according to their interests and schedules. Each two-hour session includes an instructional lecture and a hands-on workshop to assist with the creation of family trees and historical research utilizing genealogical resources and techniques.

The first session (Sunday, October 18) covered “Family History Starts with Family: Interviewing Techniques Offline, Online and On Tape.”

The second session – mark your calendars now – will be Sunday morning, November 22 – will be “What’s Jewish about Jewish Genealogy: Naming Patterns, Calendar, Gravestones and Lifecycles.”

For more information, visit the JGSColorado website.

Colorado: 150 years of Denver Jewish life

“Pioneering Jews: Cowboys, Rebels and Trailblazers,” sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies, opens Sunday, September 13, at the Jewish Community Center. The opening day festivities really focuses on Jewish genealogy, thanks to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado.

Tracing the Tribe has previously blogged about the genealogy component of this celebration, including the appearance of Jewish genealogy pioneer Arthur Kurzweil, but this article in the Cherry Creek News gives details of other facets.

The nine-month celebration of 150 years of Jewish life in Colorado will kick off with the opening of an exhibition on Denver’s first Jewish residents and free presentations on Jewish genealogy by author and speaker Arthur Kurzweil.

“Kurzweil’s sessions on Jewish genealogical research fit well with our exhibition’s focus on Denver’s earliest Jewish families, some of whose descendants still live here,” says Jeanne Abrams, professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Denver and curator of the exhibit.

The exhibit includes photos, documents and household items that come from the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society’s Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, part of the Center for Judaic Studies.

Included are furnishings from the 2900 Champa Street home of Louis and Louise Anfenger, who moved to Denver in 1870. Louis was a Temple Emanuel and B’nai B’rith chapter founder. There’ll be an exhibit on the history of Jewish women and one for kids – an interactive scroll through history.

“It is significant that Denver is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, because it means that Jews were here at the very beginning of the city, and helped it become what it is today,” Abrams says.

The day’s events are free, but reservations are required. Making the festivities possible are the generosity of the Rose Community Foundation, and co-sponsorship of the The Mizel Museum, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado and the Allied Jewish Federation.