Washington DC: Coming to America, April 18

What was it like for our ancestors to arrive at Ellis Island?

Learn about the experience with Barry Nove at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, on Sunday, April 18.

The program takes place at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia. The event begins at 1pm with the main talk at 2pm.

Barry Nove will share the story and the techniques he used to learn what it was like for his ancestors and many of our own to arrive in America through Ellis Island. He began his family history quest when he organized the first family re-enactment tour of Ellis Island, filmed by PBS as background material for a 1997 genealogy documentary series, “Ancestors.”

Nove received unique access to the Ellis Island Museum, worked with its archivists and gained understanding and appreciation of what his grandparents and great-grandparents experienced.

On his journey he gathered photos of the ships his family arrived on from Bremen, Danzig, Hamburg and Rotterdam; naturalization documents, passenger manifests and historical research.

Fee: JGSGW members, free; others, $5. For more information and directions, visit the JGSGW site.

USHMM: Holocaust conferences planned

The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has announced several conferences and calls for papers.

Lessons and Legacies XI will take place at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. The proposal deadline (for panels, papers and workshops) is October 31, 2009 and the conference is set for November 4-7, 2010.

The conference is sponsored by the Holocaust Educational Foundation and FAU. Programming includes up to three roundtables, up to 18 panels and up to 14 workshops relating to recent issues and advances in scholarship on all aspects of Holocaust Studies and for further research.

Send proposals for panels and individual papers to both program co-chairs, University of Vermont Professor Frank Nicosia and Dartmouth College Professor Susannah Heschel. Include a title, brief description of the panel as a whole, with names, institutional affiliations, contact information, paper titles and abstracts of all panelists. Applicants will be informed by January 31, 2010. Workshop proposals go to USHMM CAHS Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming, Denison University Professor Donald Schilling and Hillary Earl.

For more information, go to the Holocaust Education Foundation.

Bearing Witness: Memory, Representation, and Pedagogy in the Post-Holocaust Age will be held at Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia. The proposal deadline is October 30, 2009, and the conference will take place April 12-13, 2010.

It will bring together scholars, teachers, students, and community members to explore: (1) how the study of the Holocaust will change without the benefit of eyewitnesses; (2) how literature, film, theater, and music can be used as interpretive voices of memory and teaching tools; (3) how teachers, scholars, and students can preserve and interpret memory responsibly, as the Holocaust becomes a more distant historical event and in the face of persistent Holocaust denial; (4) how Christian and Jewish responses and theologies frame, remember, and respond to this genocide; and (5) how memory of the Holocaust can affect action to halt genocide.

Papers on these subjects are welcome: Teaching the Holocaust through Literature and Film: Sources, Challenges, and Scholarship; The Future of Memory: Defining, Teaching, and Analyzing Testimony; Memory and Faith: Christian and Jewish encounters with the Holocaust; or Engaging Student Activism: How Holocaust Memory Can Affect Actions to Halt Genocide.

Send a 1-2 page double-spaced abstract and CV to Assistant Professor Petra Schweitzer.

Conference on Genocide and Human Experience: Raphael Lemkin’s Thought and Vision will be held at the Center for Jewish History, New York City, on Sunday, November 15, 2009.

An international group of historians, political scientists, anthropologists, legal authorities, philosophers, and policy-makers will gather at the Center for Jewish History in New York City to focus a lens on genocide through an exclusive examination of the writings of Raphael Lemkin, author of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The conference will explore the intersection of historical documentation and contemporary interpretation, and to investigate the efforts of new generations of scholars, human rights advocates and activists to address, prevent and deal with the aftermath of genocide.

See the program and participating scholars here.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. (Claims Conference) is offering fellowships for PhD candidates in advanced Shoah studies. the application deadline is January 25, 2010.

The mission is to support advanced study of the fate of Jews who were systematically targeted for destruction or persecution by the Nazis and their allies between 1933 and 1945. Studies can include the immediate historical context in which the Shoah took place; political, economic, legal, religious and socio-cultural aspects; ethical and moral implications. The Fellowship program also supports awardees in learning languages of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union which are necessary for the study of Shoah related documents. Fellowships are awarded to outstanding candidates who have a strong personal commitment to Shoah memory, who have demonstrated excellence in academic achievement, and who possess the potential to provide outstanding professional leadership that will shape the future of Shoah awareness and scholarship.

Click here for more information.

Let others know about these events.

Virginia: Black history with a Jewish twist

Linking the Jewish and black histories of Richmond, Virginia – from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

One of Richmond, Virginia’s most prominent post-Civil War residents, Richard Gustavus Forrester was born in 1822, and spotlighted in this story.

He was the son of a city Jewish lawyer, Gustavus Myers, and a free woman of color Nelly Forrester, who lived and worked in the home of Moses Myers, the uncle of Gustavus, Richard married Narcissa Wilson of New Orleans. She was the daughter of Narcissa was the daughter of Judah Touro and a free woman of color, Ellen Wilson.

Richard was sent to live in the Richmond home of his father’s aunts, Catharine and Slowey Hays, who began educating him at an early age.

When Richard was 14, his great-aunt Slowey died and left him a large bequest. His father sent him to Canada to continue his education. Narcissa was sent to Canada to live in the same house as Richard. Distant cousins, they fell in love and married in Canada around 1840, producing 20 children and 49 grandchildren.

Their son, Richard Gill Forrester, was the first to raise the Union flag over the Virginia Capitol at the end of the Civil War.

Around 1850, Richard and Narcissa returned to Richmond with their young children. Although they were free persons of color, the entire family was registered as slaves owned by their Jewish relatives so the family could remain together.

In 1855, the couple inherited Catharine Hays’ home and, in 1860, the family is listed as free residents in the census.

After the war, Richard prospered as a dairy farmer and contractor and was active in Reconstruction organizations. In 1870, he was grand marshal of a parade celebrating the 15th Amendment’s ratification, which gave men the vote regardless of race. In 1871, he was one of the first persons of color elected to Richmond City Council, where he served for 11 years.

A school board member in the early 1880s, he improved schools for blacks and hired black teachers.

Richard opened bank accounts for each of his grandchildren at the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Co.

Richard Gustavus Forrester, 69, died in Richmond in 1891.

See the link above for more, including a timeline and photograph.

Virginia: Black history with a Jewish twist

Linking the Jewish and black histories of Richmond, Virginia – from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

One of Richmond, Virginia’s most prominent post-Civil War residents, Richard Gustavus Forrester was born in 1822, and spotlighted in this story.

He was the son of a city Jewish lawyer, Gustavus Myers, and a free woman of color Nelly Forrester, who lived and worked in the home of Moses Myers, the uncle of Gustavus, Richard married Narcissa Wilson of New Orleans. She was the daughter of Narcissa was the daughter of Judah Touro and a free woman of color, Ellen Wilson.

Richard was sent to live in the Richmond home of his father’s aunts, Catharine and Slowey Hays, who began educating him at an early age.

When Richard was 14, his great-aunt Slowey died and left him a large bequest. His father sent him to Canada to continue his education. Narcissa was sent to Canada to live in the same house as Richard. Distant cousins, they fell in love and married in Canada around 1840, producing 20 children and 49 grandchildren.

Their son, Richard Gill Forrester, was the first to raise the Union flag over the Virginia Capitol at the end of the Civil War.

Around 1850, Richard and Narcissa returned to Richmond with their young children. Although they were free persons of color, the entire family was registered as slaves owned by their Jewish relatives so the family could remain together.

In 1855, the couple inherited Catharine Hays’ home and, in 1860, the family is listed as free residents in the census.

After the war, Richard prospered as a dairy farmer and contractor and was active in Reconstruction organizations. In 1870, he was grand marshal of a parade celebrating the 15th Amendment’s ratification, which gave men the vote regardless of race. In 1871, he was one of the first persons of color elected to Richmond City Council, where he served for 11 years.

A school board member in the early 1880s, he improved schools for blacks and hired black teachers.

Richard opened bank accounts for each of his grandchildren at the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Co.

Richard Gustavus Forrester, 69, died in Richmond in 1891.

See the link above for more, including a timeline and photograph.

Virginia: Confederate Soldiers Jewish cemetery

JewishHistory.com has an entire section devoted to the Cemetery for Hebrew Confederate Soldiers.

According to the site, the Shockoe Hill cemetery in Richmond, Virginia – maintained by Congregation Beth Ahabah – is the only Jewish military cemetery in the world outside the state of Israel.

A plaque erected in 1866 by the Hebrew Ladies Memorial Association of Richmond, holds the names of those Jewish soldiers who died during the Civil War.

M. Levy, Mississippi, killed May 31, 1862.
J. Rosenberg, Ga.
Henry Adler, 46th Va.
E.J. Sampson, 4th Texas, killed June 27th, 1862.
G. Wolfe, N.C.I. Hessberg, Caroline co.
Unknown soldier
Henry Gersberg, Salem, Va., killed June 2, 1864.
T. Foltz, 16th Miss.
I. Cohen, Hampton (S.C.) Legion.
Sam Bear, Ga.
S. Bachrach, Lynchburg, Va.
Jonathan Sheuer, La.
J. Frank, Ga.
Henry Cohen, S.C. killed June 29, 1864.
Capt. Jacob A. Cohen, Co. A, 10th La., killed at 2nd Manassas, August 30, 1862, age, 33 years.
M. Aaron, N.C.A. Lehman, S.C.
Julius Zark, 7th Louisiana.
A. Heyman, Georgia.
Lieut. W.M. Wolf, Hagood’s S.C. Brigade, died May 9, 1864.
Lieut. L.S. Lipman, 5th Louisiana, died May 9, 1863.
Erected by his brothers to the memory of Isaac Seldner, of the 6th Virg. Inf. Reg., born December 23, 1837, killed at the battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 3rd, 1863. None knew him but to love him.
S. Weiss, Ga.
H. Jacobs, S.C.E.B. Miller, died April 6, 1864.
Corpl. G. Eiseman, 12th Miss.
M. Bachrach, Lynchburg, Va.
S. Oury, 16th Miss.; died June 10, 1861.
A. Robinson, 15th Ga., died Jan. 26, 1863.

There are also soldiers killed in battle and buried elsewhere:

Gustavus Kann, 16th Mississippi;
Henry Smith, Richmond, Otey Battery;
Marx Myers, Richmond Grays;
Isaac J. Levy, Richmond Blues
Captain M. Marcus, 15th Georgia, killed October 13, 1864.

The site has many very interesting resources – take some time to look around.

Virginia: Confederate Soldiers Jewish cemetery

JewishHistory.com has an entire section devoted to the Cemetery for Hebrew Confederate Soldiers.

According to the site, the Shockoe Hill cemetery in Richmond, Virginia – maintained by Congregation Beth Ahabah – is the only Jewish military cemetery in the world outside the state of Israel.

A plaque erected in 1866 by the Hebrew Ladies Memorial Association of Richmond, holds the names of those Jewish soldiers who died during the Civil War.

M. Levy, Mississippi, killed May 31, 1862.
J. Rosenberg, Ga.
Henry Adler, 46th Va.
E.J. Sampson, 4th Texas, killed June 27th, 1862.
G. Wolfe, N.C.I. Hessberg, Caroline co.
Unknown soldier
Henry Gersberg, Salem, Va., killed June 2, 1864.
T. Foltz, 16th Miss.
I. Cohen, Hampton (S.C.) Legion.
Sam Bear, Ga.
S. Bachrach, Lynchburg, Va.
Jonathan Sheuer, La.
J. Frank, Ga.
Henry Cohen, S.C. killed June 29, 1864.
Capt. Jacob A. Cohen, Co. A, 10th La., killed at 2nd Manassas, August 30, 1862, age, 33 years.
M. Aaron, N.C.A. Lehman, S.C.
Julius Zark, 7th Louisiana.
A. Heyman, Georgia.
Lieut. W.M. Wolf, Hagood’s S.C. Brigade, died May 9, 1864.
Lieut. L.S. Lipman, 5th Louisiana, died May 9, 1863.
Erected by his brothers to the memory of Isaac Seldner, of the 6th Virg. Inf. Reg., born December 23, 1837, killed at the battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 3rd, 1863. None knew him but to love him.
S. Weiss, Ga.
H. Jacobs, S.C.E.B. Miller, died April 6, 1864.
Corpl. G. Eiseman, 12th Miss.
M. Bachrach, Lynchburg, Va.
S. Oury, 16th Miss.; died June 10, 1861.
A. Robinson, 15th Ga., died Jan. 26, 1863.

There are also soldiers killed in battle and buried elsewhere:

Gustavus Kann, 16th Mississippi;
Henry Smith, Richmond, Otey Battery;
Marx Myers, Richmond Grays;
Isaac J. Levy, Richmond Blues
Captain M. Marcus, 15th Georgia, killed October 13, 1864.

The site has many very interesting resources – take some time to look around.

Washington DC: Arlington National Cemetery

Marlene Bishow of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW) has provided information on new records added to the group’s website for the “Ken Poch Index of Jews Buried in Arlington National Cemetery” (ANC).

This project is important enough that I have also posted this announcement (and ANC photographs) to the International Jewish Graveyard Rabbit

Bishow is the group’s immediate past president, current ANC project manager, and will co-chair the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Washington, DC.

Self-proclaimed historian of Jews buried in ANC, Kenneth Poch began the project more than 10 years before his 2003 death. His family donated 12 boxes of his work to the JGSGW.

Based on that research, webmaster Ernie Fine developed the website with a Steve Morse-model search engine. Currently, there are more than 2,600 entries; an additional 600 will go online in January 2009. More than 2,000 grave marker photos (taken by Poch) have been scanned by volunteers and will be added with links to view them online, and new photos will also be added.

Genealogical data is being added to the database using Poch’s data and that of the group’s volunteers. Visitors to the website are encouraged to submit names and additional information about Jews buried in ANC. For the present, the search is limited to the names of the interred.

For more information, click here. To submit information, follow contact page directions.