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.

Montreal: Getting-started panel, April 21

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal, in association with the Jewish Public Library, will present a getting-started panel on Wednesday, April 21.

The program begins at 7.30pm at the Gelber Conference Center.

On the panel are Rikee and Maryn Madoff, Susan Shulman and Sorel Friedman – all JGSM members. They will discuss how they got started and their subsequent research, recount their collective experiences and successes, as well as provide tips.

Check out the JGS Montreal site and look at the wealth of information available in databases, projects, cemetery indices, Montreal and Quebec Province vital records. If you had family members who lived there, make sure to look at these resources. 

Breaking News: JGSLA 2010 program now live!


BREAKING NEWS!

We’ve all been waiting anxiously for this announcement.

The program for the 30th IAJGS International Conference of Jewish Genealogy – JGSLA 2010 – is now live!

Just a cursory glance will leave you breathless as you peruse the amazing collection of programs.

CAVEAT: Some programs are not yet listed and there will be many changes, additions and adjustments to presentation times and days. Remember to check back frequently.

Have you registered? Do you have your hotel reservation? Your ticket to ride? Your T-shirt?

Time to get cracking, people, and enjoy early-bird registration discounts.

Tracing the Tribe will be spotlighting various program categories in the coming days, so stay tuned for much more.

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
Translators
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.

Miami: "I chose life," April 4

Author Mildred Nitzberg – “I Chose Life” – is the speaker at the JGS of Greater Miami’s meeting on Sunday, April 4.

The meeting begins at 10am at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, 4200 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.

Nitzberg’s riveting story is about her husband who survived Auschwitz and the Holocaust and his 33-year search to find his missing brother. It also describes how her husband experienced a world of unmitigated evil and yet emerged with his sense of humanity intact.

“I Chose Life draws a picture of the struggle of my husband, Saul I. Nitzberg, M.D., as his privileged and peaceful life in a small town in eastern Poland was shattered by the inferno of World War II. From 1939 to 1945 he experienced life under Russian occupation, the Pruzhany ghetto, and Auschwitz. Following liberation from the concentration camp he worked prodigiously to rebuild his personal and professional life. Yet he was left with a lingering sense of a life not quite fulfilled, a gnawing ache that led him on a daunting journey to the Soviet Union in search of an elusive peace. He sought to find his brother, the sole remaining member of his family. Still unresolved, he returned to Auschwitz to face his nightmare years, to recite the Kaddish at that vast gravesite where his beloved parents were buried.”

Nitzberg has been collecting oral histories of survivors for many years, and has spoken to other JGSs, the Miami Book Fair and Meet the Author at the Holocaust Center in Hollywood.

For more information please see her website.

If available, David Hirschorn will also be here to discuss the latest on Yad Vashem. He is also very involved with Pages of Testimony. Guests and friends are always welcome. There is no admission fee.

USHMM: Soviet Jewish officers and Germany, March 18

“Jewish Revenge? Soviet Jewish Officers’ Encounters with Germany, 1945” is the 2010 Ina Levine lecture at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on Thursday, March 18, in Washington DC.

It starts at 7pm in the Helena Rubinstein Auditorium, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW.

Professor Oleg Budnitskii will present his work on Soviet Jewish identity through the lens of the Soviet Jewish military experience of World War II.

In Moscow, Budnitskii is: Senior research fellow, Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences; academic director, International Center for Russian and Eastern European Jewish Studies: and professor of history, Department of Jewish Studies, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University.

The author of numerous works, he most recently published (2008) Den’gi russkoi emigratsii: Kolchakovskoe zoloto, 1918-1957 (Money of the Russian Emigration: Kolchak’s Gold, 1918-1957) and (2005) Rossiiskie evrei mezhdy krasnymi i belymi, 1917-1920 (Russian Jews between the Reds and the Whites, 1917-1920) of which an English translation is being published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

For more information or to register, click here. To learn about past presentations and hear recordings, click here.

New York: Telling family secrets, March 21

Tracing the Tribe readers will note that I try to track the speaking engagements of Steve Luxenberg, author of the award-winning “Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret.”

Although some people think it may be strange that I do so, Steve’s book should be a must on everyone’s to-read list. If you haven’t read it, get yourself a copy. All genealogists and family history researchers should read it.

In addition to telling a compelling story, Steve’s use of all possible resources to solve his family mystery can provide clues and tips to all of us.

A Washington Post associated editor working on special projects, Steve will be speaking to the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York at 2pm on Sunday, March 21, at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.

Steve’s mother was an only child. That’s what she told everyone, sometimes within minutes of meeting them.

When Steve heard that his mother had been hiding the existence of a sister, he was bewildered.

Through personal letters and photographs, official records and archival documents, as well as dozens of interviews, Steve revisits his mother’s world in the 1930s and 1940s in search of how and why the secret was born.

Employing his skills as a journalist, he pieces together the story of his mother’s motivations, his aunt’s unknown life, and the times in which they lived. His search takes him to imperial Russia and Depression-era Detroit, through the Holocaust in Ukraine and the Philippine war zone, and back to the places where his aunt languished in anonymity.

Steve has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter, beginning at the Baltimore Sun. He joined the Washington Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the newspaper’s investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward. In 1991, he succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff.

His professional investigative journalism skills served him well when it came time to write the book.

Married with two children, Steve grew up in Detroit, where “Annie’s Ghosts” is centered.

If you haven’t read the book yet, a book-signing will follow his talk.