New York: Non-Jewish research in Jewish resources, May 13

Looking for new research resources? “Non-Jewish Research in Jewish Resources” is set for Thursday, May 13 at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s new location.

David M. Kleiman, president of Heritage Muse, is the speaker. The program starts at 5.30pm at 36 West 44th Street, 7th floor, in New York City.

Explore resources from around the world for Eastern and Western European research, often available for free.

Discover the research aids, books, and online content most often associated with the world of Jewish genealogy. These tools can open extensive research avenues for families of all faiths. Find surprising connections and general research sources in 17th-century colonial, and revolutionary American material, through to late 20th century immigration and burial data.

Publisher, researcher, folklorist and popular educator, Kleiman has been involved in family history works for more than 35 years. As president of Heritage Muse, Inc. and co-founder/chair of the NY Computers and Genealogy Special Interest Group. he is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Genealogical Speakers Guild, and serves on the Executive Council of the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York.

In 2009, he took on the duties of curator for the new Loeb Visitors Center at Touro Synagogue (Newport, Rhode Island), overseeing an extensive exhibit on the synagogue’s history, Colonial Newport, and the founding of America’s First Constitutional Amendment on Freedom of Religion. His company built the web site for both the Visitors Center and the sponsoring George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom.

Heritage Muse is a New York City digital publishing and research firm offering historical, genealogical, and design services to individuals, foundations, museums and corporations.

Fee: NYG&B members, $25; others, $40.

Visit the NYG&B website for more information and registration.

Illinois: Online declarations of intent database

The Cook County (Illinois) Archives hold more than a half-million naturalization petitions, 1871-1929. Of these, 400,000 are Declarations of Intent (1906-1929), also called “first papers.”

Why are these so valuable for researchers?

– These papers were generally filed closer to the time of immigration, so details were fresher in the minds of the immigrants at that earlier date;

– With higher rates of mortality in overcrowded cities, and not discounting the impact of the Great Influenza Epidemic, an immigrant could have died before filing other papers on the way to becoming a citizen; these declarations might be the only available document for an individual.

Learn more here about these records in the archives of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Search the database here.

The Declarations of Intention database was created with a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division of the National Archives. The project began in November 2006 and, since then, more than 150,000 of the Circuit Court records have been entered through 1923; additional entries are ongoing and will include through 1929 when complete. The plan is to also include the Supreme Court declarations.

What can a researcher find on a Declaration of Intention? The document includes the following fields: declaration number, name, age, occupation, physical description, birth city, birth country, birth date, current address, current city, departure, location, vessel of departure, last foreign residence, arrival location, arrival date, signature and declaration date. Most also include marital status, spouse’s name, birthplace and residence information.