Washington DC: LOC, Latin-American Jewish Studies, May 17

Seeing this program with the mention of the Library of Congress’ Hispanic Division reminded me of an incident quite a number of years ago.

Our daughter was going to visit one of her friends, who was studying Spanish in Seville. The two were planning to visit, among many other places, a town near Zaragoza which might have had a connection to our family’s Sephardic ancestry.

I called the LOC and spoke to a very helpful young man in the Hispanic Division, and gave him the name of the town. He looked it up in an 18th century gazetteer, and among other interesting items, it noted “Hay muchos lobos y zorros” (there are many wolves and foxes).

When daughter and friend took a taxi out to the village from the city, the driver told them to be careful because “hay muchos lobos y zorros.” The two students, of course, were rather amused, and the driver was understandably confused.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In any case, “Jewish-Latin American Historiography: The Challenges Ahead” is the May 17 lecture at the LOC. An increasingly popular area of academic inquiry, many institutions are offering related classes.

History professors Raanan Rein and Jeffrey Lesser will present the free joint lecture at noon, Monday, May 17, in the Mary Pickford Theater, (third floor, LOC’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, DC).

It is jointly sponsored by the Library’s Hispanic Division and the Hebrew Language Table in cooperation with the Embassy of Argentina and the Embassy of Israel. Reservations are not required.

Tel Aviv University’s Raanan Rein is the Sourasky Professor of Latin American and Spanish History and head of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies. Author and editor of more than 20 books and several dozen academic journal articles, he’s co-president of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association and a member of Argentina’s National Academy of History.

Emory University’s Jeffrey Lesser is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and director of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. The author of “A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese-Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960-1980,” “Negotiating National Identity: Minorities, Immigrants and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil” and “Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question,” he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of São Paulo and held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair of the Humanities at Tel Aviv University (2006-7). He is the former president of the Conference on Latin American History..

The Library’s Hispanic collections comprise more than 13 million items and are the most extensive such collections in the world.

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost centers for the study of Hebrew and Yiddish materials, the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division holdings include works in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Persian, Judeo-Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic and Amharic. The section’s holdings are especially strong in the areas of the Bible and rabbinics, liturgy, Hebrew language and literature and Jewish history.

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Washington DC: Following false trails, May 16

False trails are common in genealogy, and many of us have followed them as we delve into documents and family stories.

Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus, PhD will discuss this topic at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, on Sunday, May 16.

The program begins at 1.30pm, at B’nai Israel, 6301 Montrose Road, Rockville, Maryland.

Attendees are invited to share similar “false trail” experiences – email them to the JGSGW – and they will be discussed at the meeting.

Sallyann was instrumental in founding the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy, Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and Avotaynu. She has chaired or co-chaired six of the annual international Jewish genealogy conferences, authored or co-authored seven books for genealogists and has consulted on numerous projects. Click here for more.

Fee: JGSGW members, no charge; others, $5.

For more information and directions, click here.

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.

Washington DC: NARA Genealogy Fair, April 14-15

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington will participate in the Sixth Genealogy Fair sponsored by the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) on Wednesday-Thursday, April 14-15, in Washington DC.

Admission is free for the two full days of lectures and exhibits at the National Archives Research Center Lobby and Pennsylvania Avenue Plaza. National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC. Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For the full NARA Announcement, program schedule, directors and more, click here. For more information on the JGSGW, click here.

Speakers include historian at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Zack Wilske; professional genealogists Susannah Brooks, Elizabeth K. Kerstens, Marie V. Melchiori, and Thomas Shawker M.D.; and National Archives experts Patrick Connelly, Rebecca Crawford, Damani Davis, John Deeben, Claire P. Kluskens, Trevor Plante, Constance Potter, Mary Frances Ronan, Rebecca Sharp, Katherine Vollen, and Reginald Washington.

Guest exhibitors include the Library of Congress, Washington DC Family History Center, FamilySearch, Federation of Genealogical Societies, and local county genealogical societies.

Programs will run from 9:30am-4:30pm both days and will showcase the diversity of Federal records located at the National Archives as resources for family history research. Speakers include National Archives staff, historians, and genealogy professionals. The fair will provide information and guidance for experienced genealogy professionals and novices alike. The event is presented in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and with support from Ancestry.com.

Sessions include workshops on records relating to minority and ethnic groups including African Americans, Chinese, German, Irish, Japanese, Native Americans, and women, as well as a session on DNA genealogy testing, and an evening program on the new genealogy-based TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?”

National Archives staff will demonstrate how to use databases including the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and Access to Archival Databases (AAD). Staff at the “Help! I’m Stuck” table will be available to assist researchers.

See the Complete schedule for Day 1 – Wednesday, April 14; and the Complete schedule for Day 2 – Thursday, April 15. View the condensed schedule for both days, showing session titles, times and locations. See the map of the fair, showing the locations of guest genealogy exhibitors, NARA genealogy exhibitors,and sessions.

Guest genealogy exhibitors include many archival, historical, libraries exhibitors, NGS, FGS, ethnic societies, and more – see the list at the link above.

Readers in the Washington DC area may be interested in other regional spring genealogy meets in addition to the NARA event:

April 10 – The Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society – Bowie, Maryland – brochure
April 10 – The Family History Institute of Southwest Virginia – Wytheville –
brochure
April 16-17, 2010 – The Virginia Genealogical Society 50th Anniversary Conference – Richmond – brochure

Like to plan ahead? The JGSGW will host the 2011 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (Washington, DC) from August 14-19, 2011.

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.

Maryland: Ashkenazi genetics, March 7

Gary Frohlich will present “Whatever you wanted to know about Ashkenazi Jewish diseases,” at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, on Sunday, March 7.

The program is at B’nai Israel Congregation, in Rockville, Maryland. It begins at 1pm with networking, registration and a business meeting. Frohlich’s talk begins at 2pm.

A certified genetics counselor, he is senior medical affairs liaison for Genzyme Therapeutics.

The goals are to discuss the “founder effect” among Ashkenazim and learn about 11 common genetic conditions. According to Frohlich:

“During the Crusades, many Ashkenazi Jewish communities were driven from England, France and Germany and migrated to eastern Europe, settling primarily in modern-day Poland, Lithuania and Russia, Ashkenazi Jews tended to select marriage partners from within their own community, which played a role in limiting genetic diversity.”

Many European Jews did not have surnames until various countries required them, in some cases as late as the early 1800s.

Frohlich will provide up-to-date information on genetic conditions which occur more frequently in Jews of Ashkenazi descent. Each can be devastating to the individuals and their families.

The program will explore the diagnosis, management and treatment of these conditions with a focus on the most common, Gaucher disease. Approximately one in 850 people may have Gaucher, and the carrier rate is approximately 1 in 16. Gaucher disease is two and a half times more common than Tay-Sachs.

A genetics counselor for more than 35 years, Frohlich has advised more than 26,000 couples and authored scientific articles and pamphlets on Ashkenazi genetic conditions.

He holds a BA in Biology (New York University), and a MS in Human Genetics and Genetics Counseling (Rutgers University).

Those who plan to attend the program can submit their surname (original name in Europe or elsewhere) and Frohlich will check its connection to the Founders Effect. Only submit the surname, no personal information. He will use submitted names to illustrate his presentation. Send surnames prior to the meeting.

Fee: JGSGW members, free; others, $5.

For more details, including directions, click here.

Sources for additional genetic information:

Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium: jgdc.org
Gene Tests: genetests.org
National Society of Genetic Counselors: nsgc.org
Gaucher Disease: ngf.org

Maryland: Snowmageddon mapping madness, Feb. 17

Are you considering using a dog sled team or cross-country skis to get around these days in Maryland?

Perhaps the white stuff will melt enough for you to attend this mapping madness program with Ron Arons, at a meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, on Wednesday, February 17.

The event begins at 8pm, in the Tikvat Israel Synagogue sanctuary, 2200 Baltimore Road, Rockville.

“How to find anyone, anywhere, anyhow by using the latest in online mappnig, tracking and detecting techniques,” is the title of Ron Aron’s program. Ron’s a New York native who lives in San Francisco.

The program includes the basics of Google and Microsoft’s net-based mapping sites – map.google.com, bing.com, maps.live.com and more advanced functionality, as well as other useful tools as mywhitepages.com, Microsoft’s MapCruncher, IBM’s Many Eyes and more.

Things change so quickly in this field and Ron keeps up-to-date with all the new innovations.

He is the author of “Jews of Sing Sing” and his new book, “Wanted! US Criminal Records.” Since losing both his parents nearly two decades ago, he became interested in understanding his roots, and has traced his families to England, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. For more about Ron, see his website.

He’s a frequent speaker at many genealogy societies and conferences.

Fee: JGSGW members, free; others, $5.

For more details, click here.