DHTML Menu, (c)2004 Apycom
JGSGB


JGSGB Past Events

  • Click on to view/print a flyer of an event
  • Click on to view information about purchasing audio CDs of certain lectures
  • To download PDF files, you need the free Adobe reader. You can download it here.
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014

National Archives

Tuesday, December 17, 1996

An evening at the National Archives - New England Region at 380 Trapelo Road in Waltham. Open 6pm-9pm, for JGSGB members only (you can join at the door).


Beginners' Workshop

November 12 and 19, 1996

Are you interested in unlocking your family's history? Is your goal to develop advanced techniques or brush up on dusty genealogy skills? The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (JGSGB) will feature a two-part Jewish Genealogy Beginners' Workshop on November 12th and 19th at Temple Reyim in Newton.

Over two evenings, the workshop will guide you through the maze of census, probate, ship, obituary, cemetery, and naturalization records; Mormon resources; overseas research; and Yiddish and Hebrew names. The course will also cover the critical art of interviewing, plus the increasing value of internet resources in genealogy research. Participants will also have time to discuss specific questions with experienced genealogists and review the society's extensive reference collection.

The combined genealogy experience of program leaders Jim Yarin, Warren Blatt, and Nancy Arbeiter exceeds 30 years, and includes lecturing, publishing, and the development of internet resources for genealogy.

The workshop will run from 6:30-9:30 pm on November 12 and 19 at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.

Workshop cost is $20 for non-members; $17 for JGSGB members.


The 15th Annual Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy

"Boston: Beacon of Heritage"

July 14-19, 1996

Boston Park Plaza Hotel

A five-day event featuring over 75 speakers from around the world. Attended by 676 people from 35 states and 11 countries.

An Evening at the National Archives

Tuesday, December 2, 1997 -- 5:30-8:30pm

National Archives, New England Region, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

The National Archives, New England Region holds many records for research, including the U.S. Federal Census (1790-1920); Passenger Arrival Records for Boston and other New England ports; New England Naturalization Records, New England WWI Draft Registration Cards, and the Russian Consular Records. For a complete list of holdings, see Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, Boston: JGSGB, 1996).

This meeting will include an orientation lecture and three hours of open research time. Archives staff and experienced JGSGB members will be available to help anyone who needs assistance. Microfilm copiers are available, so bring quarters.

This meeting is open to JGSGB members only -- you may join at the door.

Directions: From Route 128: Exit at Trapelo Road (Exit 28A) and continue east on Trapelo road for 2.8 miles to the Archives, on the right side of the road.


Resources for Jewish Genealogy -- A half-day Seminar

Sunday, October 26, 1997 -- 12:00noon-5:00pm

NEHGS, 101 Newbury Street, Boston

Join us for a half-day Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, co-sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston.

Schedule for the Day:

12 noon - 12:30pm
Registration
12:30 - 1:30pm
Unique Methods and Sources for Researching Jewish American Genealogy. Warren Blatt.
1:30 - 2:30pm
Memories of Our Fathers and Mothers: The World of East European Jewry. Leon Jick.
2:30pm
Refreshments
3:00 - 4:00pm
How to Locate the Descendants of Family Members who Immigrated in the Early 20th Century: A Case Study. Nancy Arbeiter, C.G.R.S.
4:00 - 5:00pm
Guided tours of the NEHGS Library with an emphasis on resources for Jewish and immigrant genealogical research. Non-members of NEHGS will receive a complimentary library pass valid for the week following the seminar (Oct. 23 - Nov. 1).

Speakers:

  • Nancy Arbeiter, C.G.R.S. specializes in Jewish family research in Massachusetts, Maine, Amsterdam and the Netherlands. She is on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston.
  • Warren Blatt is Vice President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, and on the Board of Directors of JewishGen, the principal presence of Jewish genealogy on the Internet. He is the author of FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Jewish Genealogy and Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area.
  • Leon Jick is the Helen and Irving Schneider Professor Emeritus of American Jewish Studies at Brandeis University.

Registration is $40. Please make checks payable to "NEHGS". Mail to: One Day Seminar, NEHGS, 101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116-3007.

Please register early since space at this seminar is limited.


Mormon Family History Center

Monday, September 15, 1997 -- 7:00pm-9:00pm

LDS Family History Center, 130 Brown Street, Weston, MA

An introduction to LDS (Mormon) Family History Centers, and what resources are available for Jewish genealogy there.

Program:

  • Introduction: Maude Bentall, Director, Weston FHC
  • Presentation: Marcia Melynk, on LDS resources
  • Videos: Using a Family History Center, and How to Use the Family History Library Catalog.
  • Library Tour and research time:
    (Social Security Death Index; FHLC Locality catalog; Indefinite loan resources, such as NYC BMD indexes, 1860s-1960s).
Marcia Melnyk is a reference librarian and lecturer at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). She has taught genealogy courses at community colleges, and has developed and leads NEHGS' "Genealogy 101" program. She was a founding member, and is current president of the Italian Genealogical Society of America. Marcia is currently compiling the 4th edition of NEHGS' Genalogist's Handbook for New England Research, as well as other projects.

Directions: The church is a beige brick building on the south side of Route 30, located 3.2 miles west of Route 128.


Summer Gathering: Review of Paris Seminar

Sunday, August 10, 1997 at 3:00pm

David Kohen's home, 121 Rachel Road, Newton Centre

Our annual informal summer gathering, at a member's home.

A dozen JGSGB members attended the International Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy in Paris, France, July 13-17, and will report back to us about the activities there, and the follow-on trips to Eastern Europe.

Bring a switsuit and towel if you want to use the pool.

Please RSVP to David Kohen at (617) 527-8082 or dkohen@bje.org.


The Shtetl on Celluloid and Annual Meeting

Sunday, June 22, 1997 -- Noon-5:00 pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

In conjunction with our annual meeting and election of board members, we will be showing movies depicting Jewish life in the shtetl. Documentary shorts and a full-length video will be scheduled for repeat showings in classrooms. The large meeting room will be filled with our many resources. Videos include documentaries of pre-World War II Jewish life in Warsaw, Vilna, Bialystok, Lvov, and Vilna. A full-length feature will give a portrayal of life in the old country. Our brief annual meeting begins at 12:30, movies to begin immediately after.

Come by, check out the resources, shmooze, take in some videos -- enjoy! No Fee. Members Only. Non-members may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


The Lost Paper Trail: Jewish Genealogical Records in the Archives of the Former Soviet Union

Sunday, May 4, 1997 -- 1:00-3:30 pm

Temple Reyim, Newton

Chae Ran Freeze, author and scholar, will make a presentation based on her specialized area of study and her first-hand experiences doing research in the Former Soviet Union. The program promises to be a highlight of our 1996/97 program year. The presentation will provide a basic guide to sources for Jewish genealogy in the archives of the former Soviet Union. It will not only examine familiar records such as metrical books and poll-tax registers, but also 'unusual' sources such as wills, educational records, petitions for resident rights, and court files. Practical suggestions on how to undertake a trip to the archives will also be provided (e.g. visas, archival access, procuring photocopies, research conditions).

The program will begin promptly at 1:00 pm on Sunday, May 4th. Any time left at the end of the presentation will be used for networking and chat time with fellow genealogists.

Cost: $3.00 non-members, no charge for members. Non-members may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Boston Public Library tour

January 29, 1997

A tour of the Boston Public Library's main research library at Copley Square. Genealogical resources and the in-progress renovations will be highlighted. 6pm-9pm.

European History for the Jewish Genealogist

Jack Arbeiter

Tuesday, December 8, 1998 -- 7:00-9:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Have you ever tried to find Prussia on a map? Did you ever wonder why vital records in Poland were kept in Russian instead of Polish after 1868? Are you curious about what made so many Russian Jews decide to emigrate after 1881? This lecture will answer these questions and provide an overview of European history specifically for people with little or no knowledge of the subject. The discussion will focus on areas which have significance to today's Jewish genealogist, but will also include a general overview of the events which shaped the Europe of our ancestors. Topics will include the partitions of Poland, the French revolution and the Napoleonic conquests, the various states of the German confederation, and the border changes that occurred following World War I and World War II.

Jack Arbeiter is an amateur historian who specializes in Modern European History. He has travelled extensively throughout Europe and other parts of the world, visiting sites of historical significance. Jack has previously lectured at the 15th Annual Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy. He currently works for Raytheon Electronic Systems as an Engineering Manager.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Polish Jewry Between the Two World Wars

Sunday, November 15, 1998 -- 2:00-5:00pm

Holiday Inn
1200 Beacon Street, Brookline

This program is being held in association with the Workmen's Circle and Boston University Hillel. The keynote speaker is Professor Antony Polonsky of Brandeis University. Halina Nelkin will describe the life of Polish Jewry between the two world wars through painting and art objects. Daniela Harpaz will perform a concert of Yiddish songs. Marek Lesniewski-Laas, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland, will make some remarks.

A talk on genealogical research in Poland will follow the presentations. After the formal part of the meeting, there will be a genealogical workshop, and books will be sold.


New England Regional Genealogical Conference

October 23 to October 25, 1998
Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Maine

The Fifth New England Regional Genealogical Conference, "Connecting to Your Cousins", will be held Fri-Sun, October 23 to 25, 1998 with pre-conference activities on Thursday October 22, 1998 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Maine.

The New England Regional Genealogical Conference is a consortium of more than 20 genealogical and historical societies which assemble to promote a major genealogical conference every 18 to 24 months in a different New England state. The first conference in September 1992 at Sturbridge, MA, was hugely successful with over 750 attendees. Conferences were subsequently held in Manchester, NH, Burlington, VT, and the most recent and most successful to date at Cromwell, CT, in April 1997.

The JGSGB is a sponsor of this three-day event...   dozens of lectures...   over 50 genealogical vendors...   over 500 genealogists...   don't miss it!

See the conference information and full schedule at http://www.maine.com/photos/event.htm or http://users.rootsweb.com/~maplymou/conf/confmain.htm.


An Evening at the National Archives

Wednesday, October 14, 1998 -- 6:30pm-9:00pm

National Archives, New England Region, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

The National Archives, New England Region holds many records for research, including the U.S. Federal Census (1790-1920); Passenger Arrival Records for Boston and other New England ports; New England Naturalization Records, New England WWI Draft Registration Cards, and the Russian Consular Records. For a complete list of holdings, see Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, (Boston: JGSGB, 1996).

This meeting will include an orientation lecture and two hours of open research time. Archives staff and experienced JGSGB members will be available to help anyone who needs assistance. Microfilm copiers are available, so bring quarters.

This meeting is open to JGSGB members only -- you may join at the door.

Directions: From Route 128: Exit at Trapelo Road (Exit 28A) and continue east on Trapelo road for 2.8 miles to the Archives, on the right side of the road.


Beginner's Workshop

Sunday, September 13, 1998 -- 6:30-9:30pm
Tuesday, September 15, 1998 -- 6:30-9:30pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

Are you interested in unlocking your family's history? Is your goal to develop advanced techniques or brush up on dusty genealogy skills? The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (JGSGB) will feature a two-part Jewish Genealogy Beginners' Workshop.

Over two evenings, the workshop will guide you through the maze of census, probate, ship, obituary, cemetery, and naturalization records; Mormon resources; overseas research; and Yiddish and Hebrew names. The course will also cover the increasingly valuable internet resources for genealogy research.

Participants will also have time to discuss specific questions with experienced genealogists and opportunity to to research with the society's extensive reference collection.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

$10 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Summer Gathering: Review of Los Angeles Seminar

Sunday, August 16, 1998

David Kohen's home, 121 Rachel Road, Newton Centre

Our annual informal summer gathering, at a member's home.

A dozen JGSGB members attended the 18th International Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy in Los Angeles, July 12-17, and will report back to us about the activities there.

Bring a switsuit and towel if you want to use the pool.

Please RSVP to David Kohen at (617) 527-8082 or dkohen@bje.org.


"Hollywood Chai" -- The 18th Annual Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy"

July 12-17, 1998

Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, California

The week-long annual gathering of Jewish genealogists, featuring dozens of speakers. For details, see the JGSLA's web page at "http://www.jewishgen.org/jgsla/seminar.htm".


Annual Meeting
Sallyann Amdur Sack, PhD, President of the Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies: "Israel at 50 and Jewish Genealogy"

Sunday, June 14, 1998 -- 1:00-4:30pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, we are proud to have visionary AJGS President Sallyann Sack speaking at our annual meeting. Dr. Sack will discuss how her recent negotiations in Israel will lead to connections between the Goldman Genealogy Center (at Beth Hatefutsoth, the Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv) and the rest of organized Jewish genealogy. She will also speak about other recent initiatives including seeking funding for a full-time executive director for the AJGS, and the new Family Tree of the Jewish People.

Dr. Sack is editor of Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, and co-author of A Guide to Jewish Genealogical Research in Israel and Where Once We Walked.

Outgoing JGSGB President Fred Davis will deliver a brief recap of the past three years of our society, and some challenges for the future.

We will elect next year's Board members at our Annual Meeting.

There will be opportunity to do research with our resource materials.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door. Only members may vote.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Hidden Children of the Holocaust and Revealed Family Stories

Sunday, May 17, 1998 -- 1:00-4:00pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

Professor Ingrid Kisliuk will speak about her new book, Unveiled Shadows, a compelling and moving memoir. This is a personal, touching, terrifying account of a young child's flight with her family from Vienna, Austria in 1938 to forced exile, and a chronicle of hiding in German-occupied Belgium until Liberation in 1944. She will also explain how she researched the records compiled by Steinberg and Klarsfeld.

In 1991, Dr. Kisliuk attended the first gathering of 1600 former hidden children and is now active with the The Hidden Child Foundation. Besides her interest in Holocaust studies, she is a scholar of French Literature (Ph.D. Tufts University) and is also fluent in German, Spanish, and Dutch. A resident in the U.S. since 1950, she now writes, teaches, translates, and lives with her husband in Newton.

Postscript: Fay and Julian Bussgang, JGSGB members, will discuss The Last Eyewitnesses: Children of the Holocaust in Poland, which they translated from Polish. Just published, this book contains 65 wartime accounts of child survivors who still live in Poland.

Both new books will be available for purchasing and signing.

JGSGB President Fred Davis will also report on the efforts of the international Jewish community to pressure the Vatican to open records which might reveal instances of Jewish children being adopted or baptized during World War II.

Resources for Jewish genealogical research, both international and domestic, will be available as time allows. Resources include: shtetl-finding aids; the JewishGen Family Finder; guides to Jewish surnames in old Russia and Poland.

Free for members; $3 for non-members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Cousins Apart for a Century:
Looking for Jewish Family in the US and the Former Soviet Union

Sunday, April 5, 1998 -- 1:00-4:00pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

Joint Program of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and Action for Post-Soviet Jewry.

Have you ever wondered whether you might have "long-lost" relatives in the US or the former Soviet Union? At this meeting, we will bring together two groups who have been separated for generations: Americans whose Jewish ancestors came from the Russian Empire many years ago, and Jewish emigres from the Former Soviet Union who have sought refuge in the US in the recent wave of immigration.

Program highlights:

  • Judy Patkin, Director of Action for Post-Soviet Jewry: "Report on the Current Status of Jewish Communities"
  • Glen Dynnen, Brandeis Univ. graduate student in 20th century Eastern European Jewish History, "The Jewish Experience in the Soviet Union, 1880-1945"
  • Two genealogy tutorials to help individuals from each group locate "cousins."
    • "How To Connect with the Descendants of Those Your Grandparents Left Behind"
    • "How to Get Started Finding Your American Cousins"
  • An opportunity for those with an interest in the same geographic regions within the Former Soviet Union, such as Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, to mingle and share information about the status of the Jewish population, past and present.

Recent, major developments in genealogical resources accessible to anyone in the greater Boston area will be featured, such as: U.S. ship arrival and census records; the worldwide JewishGen Family Finder; shtetl-finding aids; ShtetlLinks; and archival records of the former Soviet Union available by mail, world wide web, and microfilm.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


The Best Missing Link

Sunday, March 15, 1998 -- 1:00-4:30pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

This meeting will provide us with an opportunity to share our favorite genealogical success story (or perhaps our most perplexing unanswered question) with fellow genealogists. We will break into small groups, each with a facilitator. Each person will describe a successful (or perhaps unsuccessful) effort in making the connection to an immigrant ancestor or shtetl. Each group will select the best story, and the winners will present their stories to the whole group. The group will award a small prize to the "best" overall story, with initiative and inventiveness being the criteria used for selection.

Postscript by Warren Blatt: JewishGen Family Finder and the Family Tree of the Jewish People.

Resources, many new, will be available before and after the speakers for research on-site.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.

Fee: Free for members; $3 for non-members. You may join at the door.


Intermarriage in Biblical Times and Today -- Implications for Jewish Genealogy & Our Family Stories

Monday, February 23, 1998 -- 7:00-9:30pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

Our speaker will be Dr. Paula Brody, Director of Reform Jewish Outreach at the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) / Northeast Council.

Intermarriage has affected our Jewish family histories in past and current generations. Our speaker will reflect on the impact of intermarriage on biblical genealogy, and will discuss societal influences contributing to the rate of intermarriage today. Dr. Brody has been at the forefront of evolving responses to Jewish intermarriage. This talk promises to be of interest to all.

Postscript session: "Jewish Given Names and Naming Patterns", by Warren Blatt.

Speaker begins at 7:30. Resources available as time allows.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.

Fee: Free for members; $3 for non-members. You may join at the door.


Jewish Theater of New England

Sunday, January 25, 1998 -- 2:00pm

A social program, a performance of the Jewish Theatre of New England at the Newton JCC. Farewell Cracow is a dramatic concert recounting Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter of Cracow -- "a touching journey in time and space".

Reception 4:00-5:00pm. $25.00.


Maps for Genealogy

Sunday, January 18, 1998 -- 1:00-5:00pm

Temple Reyim, West Newton

Maps are useful tools: in doing genealogical research, and in understanding better the world of our ancestors. Our speakers will discuss how to use, read, and understand maps, primarily of Eastern Europe. The talk will describe the amazing map collection at the Pusey Library of Harvard. You will have a chance to see some of the historic maps of the Russian Empire in the era of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Resources, many new, will be available before and after the speakers for research on-site.

Postscript session afterwards on "Finding Your Shtetl", by Martin Kessel.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.

Fee: Free for members; $3 for non-members. You may join at the door.

A Research Afternoon

Sunday, December 5, 1999 -- 1:30pm to 4:30pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Come and spend the day using the research materials of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston. Experts in Massachusetts, Polish, Lithuanian, Belarussian and other research areas will be there to assist you. A mini-talk on naturalization records will be given before the research by Al Luftman.

Admission: Free for members of JGSGB or Temple Reyim; $3 for non-members. Refreshments will be served.

For information phone: 617-796-8522. Email: JGSGB@aol.com.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Getting Started in Your Family Research

Patti Couture and Jim Yarin

Sunday, November 14, 1999 -- 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

This will be a three hour class of instruction, with explanations of how to use genealogical research sites and resources. It will be taught by Jim Yarin and Patti Couture.

Patti is co-President of the JGSGB with a depth of experience in Jewish as well as French-Canadien genealogy. Jim is a lawyer and professional genealogist with great expertise in all kinds of records for genealogical research.

Admission: Free for members of JGSGB or Temple Reyim; $10 for non-members. Course Materials: $10 per set.

Refreshments will be served. For information phone: 617-796-8522. Email: JGSGB@aol.com.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


"Our Night at the Archives"

Tuesday, October 19, 1999 -- 6:30pm-9:00pm

National Archives, New England Region, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

The National Archives, New England Region holds many records for genealogical research, including the U.S. Federal Census (1790-1920); Passenger Arrival Records for Boston and other New England ports; New England Naturalization Records, Canadian Border Crossing records, WWI Draft Registration Card for New England, Russian Consular Records, and WWII War Crimes records.

For a complete list of the National Archives' relevant holdings, see Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, (Boston: JGSGB, 1996).

This meeting will include an orientation lecture and over two hours of open research time. Archives staff and experienced JGSGB members will be available to help anyone who needs assistance. Microfilm copiers are available, so bring quarters.

This meeting is open to JGSGB members only -- you may join at the door. Beginners and those wishing to join please come at 6:00pm, others at 6:30pm. Orientation promptly at 6:10 and 6:25pm. Refreshments will be served.

Directions:

  • From Route 128: Exit at Trapelo Road (Exit 28A) and continue east on Trapelo Road for 2.8 miles to the National Archives, on the right side of the road.
  • From Boston: Take Storrow Drive, follow signs for Route 2. Cross the Charles River at the Eliot Bridge, bear right but keep left, left on Mt. Auburn Street till it forks, bear right onto Belmont Street. When Belmont Street forks, bear right onto Trapelo Road, follow for 2.4 miles to National Archives on the left.


"Saudades: Nostalgic Yearnings"

by Steve Gorban and Dr. Manuel Luciano DaSilva

Tuesday, September 28, 1999 -- 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Steve Gorban will describe the Sepharad and Saudades Projects which attempt to connect the Iberian and Jewish communities of New England, lowering the historic veil between them to reveal glimpses of mutual yearnings and cultural memory.

Dr. Da Silva will subsequently describe the "Odyssey of the Portuguese Jews", illustrated by slides taken on his recent trip through Portugal to sites of a glorious Jewish Sephardic past.

The talks will begin at 7:30. There will be time for research in the JGSGB resource materials from 6:30 to 7:30 and after the program.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

Admission: Free for members, $3 for non-members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


19th Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy

August 8th - 13th, 1999

Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York City

You don't want to miss the exciting schedule of workshops, lectures and meetings that is being planned for the 1999 conference in New York City. Whether you are just beginning your family research or have been researching your ancestors for many years and now consider yourself an advanced genealogist, you will find programs of interest and have the opportunity to check out New York's wealth of historical and genealogical resources.

Sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. of New York.


Genealogy Pops

Dick Eastman: "Online Genealogy - the Good and the Bad"

Sunday, June 13, 1999 -- 3:00-6:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Join us for a fun afternoon. Dick Eastman, an internationally known genealogist and author of Your Roots, will speak on "Online Genealogy - the Good and the Bad". A sharing session on "Your Worst Problem" will follow. Donald (not Keith) Lockhart will entertain us with Klezmer music as we have special refreshments at Pops-style tables. Come and celebrate another wonderful genealogical year!

Research materials will NOT be available that day.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Roots and Ruses: Computer Tools for the Genealogist

Steve Kyner, founder of The Computer Genealogist

Sunday, May 2, 1999 -- 2:00-5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Genealogical research and data keeping becomes much easier and productive by using a computer -- for updating and linking information, sharing data, searching tables and trees, retrieving information from on-line databases, etc.

As noted in a recent Time Magazine article, Steve Kyner has been a long time pioneer in this field, and whether you are a novice with computers or an experienced user, he will have instructive and interesting information and advice for you, including a discussion of the most recent genealogy programs.

The talk will begin at 3 pm. The society's resources will be available for use from 2:00 to 3:00 and also after the talk.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Genealogical Research in New York

Steven Siegel

Sunday, April 4, 1999 -- 2:00-5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Do you have a New York connection somewhere in your family tree? Have you heard about New York's new Center for Jewish History? How can one city consist of five counties? When's the last time you were in New York?

New York...Gateway to America: The 19th Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy -- to be held in New York City, August 8-13, 1999 -- offers a unique opportunity to do research in the city's archives and libraries and to participate in more than a hundred lectures, workshops, meetings, tours and other events.

Our speaker will provide an overview of the dozens of research facilities in New York City and the surrounding area, with particular emphasis on those repositories consulted by Jewish genealogists. These include: The New York Public Library, New York City Municipal Archives, National Archives - Northeast Region (NYC), County Clerk's offices and Surrogate's Courts in the city's five boroughs, and several Jewish research libraries.

New York City can be both a rewarding and a confusing place for genealogical research. Learn some practical techniques to maximize your time and minimize your frustration. For example, the genealogical holdings of several New York repositories are on microfilm through the LDS Family History Centers and may be consulted in advance.

Our speaker also will present a detailed preview of the Conference and answer your many questions about genealogical research in New York City.

Steven W. Siegel is the library director and archivist at the 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association in Manhattan, where he has worked for 20 years. He is a founding member and past president of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (New York City) and served as managing editor of Dorot, the society's quarterly publication. From 1995 to 1997, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

He is currently president of the Jewish Historical Society of New York, a board member of the Jewish Book Council, and chair of the Documentary Heritage Program Advisory Council of the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

An expert in New York City records and history, Steven is the editor of the forthcoming revised edition of Genealogical Resources in the New York Metropolitan Area. He was a contributor to The Encyclopedia of New York City and to Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. He compiled the Archival Resources volume of Jewish Immigrants of the Nazi Period in the USA, and was co-founder and co-editor of Toledot: The Journal of Jewish Genealogy.

The talk will begin at 3 pm. The society's resources will be available for use from 2:00 to 3:00 and also after the talk.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Presentation on Yizkor Books

Martin Kessel

Sunday, March 21, 1999 -- 2:00-5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Martin Kessel, Project Manager of JewishGen's Yizkor Book Project, will give a talk on yizkor books and the genealogical resources they contain. Yizkor books contain a wealth of details concerning the Jewish communities of pre-Holocaust Europe, including descriptions and histories, photographs, and names of those who perished. The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project has already resulted in the translation of portions of over 70 yizkor books, with the translations available on-line. Researchers may access the Yizkor Book Database through JewishGen to see which communities are covered by yizkor books, to determine whether other researchers share a common interest in a particular book, and to view the partial translations as they become available. Mr. Kessel will describe the rich sources of information to be mined from the database and from the books themselves.

The talk will begin at 3 pm. The society's resources will be available for use from 2:00 to 3:00 and also after the talk.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia
Slide Show and Resource Night

Donald Lockhart

Sunday, February 21, 1999 -- 6:00-9:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Mass-Pocha Co-Editor, Donald Lockhart, will take you on a slide show tour of former shtetls, Jewish cemeteries and archives in Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia, based on his visit to those countries this past summer. He will discuss how he prepared for the trip, how he found interpreters, how he discovered archival documents concerning his wife's family, how he located rural Jewish cemeteries and photographed all the headstones in them, and how he met with villagers who told him about the history of the Jewish communities in these towns and about his wife's family. Among the slides will be close up photographs of some of the documents Mr. Lockhart discovered. Mr. Lockhart was a prosecutor with the U.S. Justice Department and now works at a law firm in Boston.

The talk and slide show will last from 7 to 8 pm. The society's resources will be available for use from 6-7 and from 8-9 pm.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.


A Daughter's Search for Her Mother's History

Helen Epstein

Tuesday, January 12, 1999 -- 7:00-9:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

A hands-on genealogy workshop with author Helen Epstein, author of Children of the Holocaust: Conversations with Sons and Daughters of Survivors. Veteran journalist Helen Epstein will take you through her research and methodology on her family of Czech Jews, as demonstrated in her new book Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for Her Mother's History.

You will learn interview techniques, how to patch a narrative together with anecdotal material, and verify family stories, enlisting the aid of museum curators, archivists, family and friends.

You are strongly encouraged to buy the paperback book, Where She Came From, and come prepared with questions.

Please join us. Refreshments will be served. Afterwards, the author will be available to autograph books.

$3 fee for non-members. No charge for members. You may join at the door.

Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), Newton (near the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, between Routes 128 and 30 -- a short walk from the Woodland Stop on the Green Line). Click here for directions.

Jewish Surnames

Warren Blatt

Sunday, December 10, 2000 -- 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Come learn about the fascinating history of Jewish surnames -- their origins, types, and etymologies. Find out when they were first used in various countries, and their transformation upon immigration. This presentation will dispell several common myths about Jewish surnames. Discover which Jewish surnames are the most common in the U.S. and Israel. We will present sources for learning more about your surnames and how they may be accessed. This information is indispensable in tracing your family history.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


An Evening at the National Archives

Tuesday, November 21, 2000 -- 6:00-9:00pm
National Archives, New England Region, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

The National Archives, New England Region holds many records for genealogical research, including the U.S. Federal Census (1790-1920); Passenger Arrival Records for Boston and other New England ports; New England Naturalization Records, Canadian Border Crossing records, WWI Draft Registration Card for New England, Russian Consular Records, and WWII War Crimes records.

For a complete list of the National Archives' relevant holdings, see Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, (Boston: JGSGB, 1996).

This meeting will include an orientation lecture and over two hours of open research time. Archives staff and experienced JGSGB members will be available to help anyone who needs assistance. Microfilm copiers are available, so bring quarters.

This meeting is open to JGSGB members only -- you may join at the door. Beginners and those wishing to join please come at 6:00pm, others at 6:30pm. Orientation promptly at 6:10 and 6:25pm. Refreshments will be served.

Directions:

  • From Route 128: Exit at Trapelo Road (Exit 28A) and continue east on Trapelo Road for 2.8 miles to the National Archives, on the right side of the road.
  • From Boston: Take Storrow Drive, follow signs for Route 2. Cross the Charles River at the Eliot Bridge, bear right but keep left, left on Mt. Auburn Street till it forks, bear right onto Belmont Street. When Belmont Street forks, bear right onto Trapelo Road, follow for 2.4 miles to National Archives on the left.


Beginner's Class

Sunday, November 5, 2000 -- 2:00-4:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Taught by Patti Couture, APG

Areas to be covered include: how to start your search, what records are available and how to access them, how to keep track of your findings, how to interpret data that you find, using your computer to further your research, and how to deal with immigrant searches. Researchers of all backgrounds are welcome.

Admission: The fee for the class is $20, which includes handouts and a copy of the very important reference book Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, by Warren Blatt, a fine manual for any kind of genealogical research in Massachusetts. Class size limited to allow for individual attention.

Refreshments served. Sign up to reserve a spot: Phone: 617-796-8522; email: info@jgsgb.org.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Research Time

Sunday, October 29, 2000 -- 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Temple Reyim, West Newton

A great opportunity to really dig into our research materials without interruption. Several "experts" are expected to be on hand to help with questions about various areas such as Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and more. At the same time, other experienced members will be available to guide you towards the best research materials for your hunt.

New members welcomed. Bring a friend. Refreshments will be served. Admission: free for members of JGSGB, $3 for non-members.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Jewish Research at HisGen -- 19th and 20th Century Records

Sunday, September 24, 2000 -- 1:30-4:30 p.m.
New England Historic Genealogical Society, 101 Newbury Street, Boston

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), known familiarly as "HisGen", is the oldest genealogical society in the country. When it opens its doors especially for us, you will be pleased and surprised to discover how much material this venerable Yankee institution has for Jewish genealogical research. Jerry Anderson, staff member at HisGen and board member of the JGSGB, will give an opening talk on HisGen's holdings. Other staff members will then give us a tour and help us find our way around HisGen's incredible library.

Directions: HisGen is located at 101 Newbury Street, between Clarendon and Berkeley streets. If you come by MBTA (a good idea), take the Green Line to the Copley stop. Walk one block north on Dartmouth St. to Newbury St. and turn right. HisGen is just past Clarendon on the left.   If you drive, take the Mass Pike to Exit 22 (Copley Square). Continue on Stuart St. to Berkeley St. (3rd light) and turn left. Take 3rd left onto Newbury and park wherever you can (manageable on Sundays).

Don't miss this unique opportunity!
Refreshments will be served.


20th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

July 9-14, 2000

Doubletree Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah

For details see http://www.jewishgen.org/iajgs/slcy2k. Sponsored by the
International Association of
Jewish Genealogical Societies

Research -- Revelry -- Refreshments

Sunday, June 11, 2000 -- 2:00pm-5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Our Spring Social and Annual Meeting, the last meeting of the 1999-2000 season, will be held Sunday, June 11th from 2:00-5:00 at Temple Reyim.

Society resources will be available from 2:00 to 3:00, with knowledgeable members helping novices.

At 3:00 our brief annual meeting will be held, where our 2000-2001 slate of officers will be presented. Following the election, there will be some entertainment: the Wholesale Klezmer Band, headed by one of our members, Sherry Mayrent. There will be a chance to share problems and successes with other members as you partake of the festive refreshments. We hope you will join us for a fun finale to a wonderful year.

This is a Members Only Event. New memberships will be gladly accepted at the door.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Jewish Given Names

Warren Blatt

Sunday, May 7, 2000 -- 7:30pm-9:30pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Learn why "Mordechai Yehuda" is also "Mortka Leib" is also "Max".   An introduction to Jewish given names (first names), focusing on practical issues for genealogical research.

Our ancestors each had many different given names and nicknames, in various languages and alphabets -- this can make Jewish genealogical research difficult. This presentation will teach you about the history and patterns of Jewish first names, and how to recognize your ancestors' names in genealogical sources.

Topics include: Religious and secular names; origins of given names; languages used; patronymics; name equivalents; variants, nicknames and diminutives; double names (unrelated pairs, kinnui, Hebrew/Yiddish translations); Ashkenazic naming traditions (naming of children); statistics on the distribution and popularity of given names in various regions and times; spelling issues; Polish and Russian declensions; and the "Americanization" of immigrant Jewish names: adaptations and transformations.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Mormon Family History Center

Monday, April 10, 2000 -- 7:00pm to 9:00pm
150 Brown Street, Weston, MA

An evening at the Mormon Family History Center in Weston, with a preview of what materials are available for those attending the International Seminar of Jewish Genealogy in Salt Lake City this summer.


Genetics and Genealogy

Stanley Diamond

Sunday, March 26, 2000 -- 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Stanley Diamond of Montreal, head of the incredible Jewish Record Indexing - Poland Project, will speak on "Genetics and Genealogy", and his search for people from Poland carrying the Beta-Thalassemia trait. He will tell how he originally got involved in this project, and how it has turned into a phenomenal cooperative venture for all Jewish genealogists with any Polish roots. It is also a model for other groups to follow elsewhere.

In a similar vein, we are invited to participate in a study conducted by Dr. Harry Ostrer on "Genetic Analysis of Jewish Origins", a related topic. Dr. Ostrer will pass out a questionnaire about the places of origin of our matrilineal and patrilineal lines and collect samples of our DNA via a brief swab. This will help identify areas of origin, and is a project that has involved many Jewish Genealogical Societies.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Visiting the Old Country: Two Genealogical Success Stories

Arthur Obermayer and Jim Feldman

Sunday, February 13, 2000 -- 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Two experienced genealogists will share their successful visits to their ancestral communities and how they found family information and records.

Arthur Obermayer will speak on: "At Home with Isaac the Jew: A Return Visit to 16th Century Germany." Arthur, a chemical engineer and entrepreneur, has made several trips to Germany to investigate his family history. In addition to describing his genealogical findings, he will share how he worked with officials in his ancestral town to create a town-sponsored Jewish museum in the house of one of his ncestors.

Jim Feldman will speak and show slides on: "FOUND! 200 Family Records: Success in Poland." Jim Feldman is a retired professor of electrical and chemical engineering who has used his training to develop tools of technical research with which he has traced his Polish roots back to the 1750s and forward to relatives now living in every continent but Antarctica. He will discuss his most recent research trip to Poland and the methodology for making such a trip.

The Society's resources will be available for research before and after the speaking program.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.

Refreshments will be served. The meeting is free to JGS members. The charge is $3 for non-members, who may pay or join at the door.


Sunday, January 9, 2000
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Rabbi Wilfond, assistant rabbi at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, will talk about his recent two years in Kiev as a Reform rabbi. He will also tell us how he happpened to accidently find relatives in the Ukraine. There will be an opportunity to use the Society resources after the talk.


 

Best-Kept Secrets of Polish Genealogy: Books of Residents     

Fay and Julian Bussgang

Sunday, December 9, 2001 -- 1:30-4:30pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Fay and Julian Bussgang will describe this little-known source of valuable information for Polish genealogy, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Books of Residents are a valuable yet little-known source for Polish genealogical research, showing on a single page: name, date of birth, birthplace, names of parents, occupation, etc. for every person within a household. A new CD from Poland lists towns and dates for such books.

Also to be discussed: Survivor Lists, Ghetto Lists, Passport Applications, Professional and Military Records. Many records are equally applicable to non-Jews. Similar resources may exist in other East European countries. Opportunity for questions after the talk.

The Bussgangs have made nine trips to Poland and have done a great deal of research on their families in the Polish State Archives.

Admission is free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


JGSGB Members Night at NARA

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

National Archives, New England Region, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

Our annual meeting at the National Archives and Records Administration facility in Waltham features instruction on how to access the materials at NARA and an opportunity to carry out research.

The National Archives, New England Region holds many records for genealogical research, including the U.S. Federal Census (1790-1920); Passenger Arrival Records for Boston and other New England ports; New England Naturalization Records, Canadian Border Crossing records, WWI Draft Registration Card for New England, Russian Consular Records, and WWII War Crimes records.

For a complete list of the National Archives' relevant holdings, see Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, (Boston: JGSGB, 1996).

This meeting will include an orientation lecture and over two hours of open research time. Archives staff and experienced JGSGB members will be available to help anyone who needs assistance. Microfilm copiers are available, so bring quarters.

This meeting is open to JGSGB members only -- you may join at the door. Beginners and those wishing to join please come at 6:00pm, others at 6:30pm. Orientation promptly at 6:10 and 6:25pm. Refreshments will be served.

Directions:

  • From Route 128: Exit at Trapelo Road (Exit 28A) and continue east on Trapelo Road for 2.8 miles to the National Archives, on the right side of the road.
  • From Boston: Take Storrow Drive, follow signs for Route 2. Cross the Charles River at the Eliot Bridge, bear right but keep left, left on Mt. Auburn Street till it forks, bear right onto Belmont Street. When Belmont Street forks, bear right onto Trapelo Road, follow for 2.4 miles to National Archives on the left.


Introductory Workshop in Jewish Genealogy

Sunday, October 28 and November 4, 2001 -- 2:00-5:00pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

This year the JGSGB will be offering a greatly expanded and enhanced version of its annual beginners' workshop. First of all, it is no longer just for beginners; there is plenty of material of interest to more advanced researchers. Second, instead of one session of two hours, there will be two sessions, each of three hours, for a total of six hours!

The instructor will be Nancy Levin Arbeiter, a full-time professional genealogist, Director of Genealogical Research for the American Jewish Historical Society, and author of "A Beginner's Primer in U.S. Jewish Genealogical Research" (Avotaynu, Fall 1998). Nancy has led these workshops at numerous international Jewish genealogy conferences.

Click here for more information and registration form.


Open House at the AJHS

American Jewish Historical Society

Sunday, October 21, 2001
AJHS, Waltham

We will hold an open house at the American Jewish Historical Society on the Brandeis campus, where the expanded JGSGB resource collection will be available for use during all hours when the AJHS is open (most weekdays).


Russia to America: Why They Came, Where They Settled

Harry D. Boonin     

Sunday, September 16, 2001 -- 1:30-4:30 PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Harry Boonin, founding president of the Philadelphia Jewish Genealogy Society and frequent contributor to Avotaynu, will speak about Jewish life in northern and southern Russia and the big immigration to the U.S. at the end of the 19th century. The immigrants' reasons for leaving, their routes, and their early settlement in one of the East Coast cities will be covered.

Harry Boonin is an expert on the Jews of Philadelphia and the author of a book on the subject. He is also an expert on the shtetl of Slutsk (Belarus) and on Russian Jewish genealogy. You might enjoy a visit to his web site starting at the following page: http://www.boonin.com/author.htm.

Admission is free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Annual Meeting - Gary Mokotoff    flyer

"The Future of Jewish Genealogical Research"

Sunday, June 10, 2001 -- 2:00-5:00PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton     

Annual Meeting - Election of Officers

Special guest: Gary Mokotoff

  • Pioneer of Jewish genealogy
  • Author of many articles and books
  • Organizer of Jewish genealogical conferences
  • Publisher of Avotaynu, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members. Festive refreshments will be served.

A preview of the JGSGB Family Finder will be available for access on our laptop computers.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Brock Bierman - Research Adventures in Eastern Europe     

Sunday, May 6, 2001 -- 2:00-5:00PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Former Rhode Island State Representative Brock Bierman traveled through Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, and other Eastern European countries last summer in search of his family's history. Learn from him how to plan your trip, make contacts with researchers and archives, and find convenient lodging--all to make your stay in Europe as productive as possible. Even if you are not planning a trip any time soon, you'll enjoy hearing about Brock's adventures and fascinating discoveries.

Admission is free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments will be served.

Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Fact and Fiction about Immigration

Walter Hickey

Sunday, April 22, 2001 -- 2:30-5:30PM
(note the later-than-usual time)
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Walter Hickey, Archives Specialist at the New England Regional Archives in Waltham, will explore the content of passenger arrival records, with an emphasis on the records of the Port of New York. The famous "Ellis Island Myth" will be put to rest. Also discussed will be Boston Arrivals and Canadian Border Crossings (St. Albans Records).

Please note that records for New York arrivals are not yet available at the National Archives branch in Waltham. They are currently available in the branches in New York City; Pittsfield, MA; and Washington, DC; as well as via LDS Family History Centers. The microfilms of 1820-1897 arrivals are available at the Boston Public Library.

Admission free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments. Society resources available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


"Project Search" -- Red Cross Tracing Service

Elaine Abrams

Sunday, March 18, 2001 -- 1:30-4:30PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Recently released documents from the former Soviet Union have greatly increased the possibilities of tracing Holocaust victims and survivors. Find out how Project Search can help you learn the fate of relatives who perished in the Holocaust or perhaps locate living survivors.

Elaine Abrams is Program Manager of International Social Services at the American Red Cross in Boston.

Admission free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments. Society resources available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Czech Roots -- Journey of Discovery

Alexander Woodle

Sunday, February 11, 2001 -- 1:30-4:30PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Alexander Woodle, librarian with the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), will describe the research process he used for uncovering needles in a genealogical haystack. A search for the U.S. resting place of an ancestor, using genealogical resources in our local area, began the process that led to the uncovering of his family's ancestral shtetl and a sponsored trip abroad.

Woodle will give a slide presentation of his search for his Bohemian family roots in the modern day Czech Republic and show a documentary film he helped make for the Ellis Island Museum. We will be treated to the first public showing of this film.

Admission free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments. Society resources available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.

Searching the Ellis Island Database and 1930 Census with Fewer Tears   flyer    

Dr. Stephen Morse

December 8, 2002 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

In April 2001, the Ellis Island ship manifests and passenger records went on-line. One year later, on April Fools Day, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) opened the doors to the 1930 US Census. But genealogists who had been eagerly awaiting both events were surprised to learn that neither of these resources was easy to use.

Stephen Morse, with the help of several collegues. has developed One-Step search-tool websites that simplify access to both databases. These websites have attracted attention worldwide. In his talk, Dr. Morse describes the One-Step websites from both a historical and a practical perspective, and compares them to alternatives.

As an amateur genealogist, Stephen Morse has been researching his Russian-Jewish origins for the past few years. In his other life, Steve is a computer professional who has spent a career alternately doing research, development, teaching, consulting, and writing. He is best known as the designer of the Intel 8086 microprocessor (grandfather of today’s Pentium processor), which sparked the PC revolution twenty years ago. He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and still enjoys tinkering with electronics as he continues his day jobs in computers.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


A Genealogical Double-Header  flyer

Garry Stein

Sunday, November 17, 2002
Temple Reyim, West Newton

A day-long two-part program, featuring Garry Stein, President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada (Toronto) and Past Director of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS).

Morning Workshop: Introduction to Genealogy -- 9:30am-12:30pm

Spend the morning learning how to trace your Jewish roots with Garry Stein, an expert on Jewish genealogical research in the USA and Canada. A light (kosher) lunch will follow the workshop.

Admission: $20 for the workshop, including the light lunch.

Afternoon Lecture: Genealogy of the Torah -- 1:30pm-4:30pm

The Torah, unlike other religious texts, documents a family history, that of the Jewish people, complete with genealogical trees. The issues that arise in doing Torah genealogy parallel those that modern genealogists encounter. Garry Stein will outline the family tree from Adam and Eve, through the descendents of King David and the rabbis of the Talmud, to the Vilna Gaon, and living individuals.

Admission is free for members and morning workshop attendees, $5 for non-members.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


JewishGen as a Research Tool: Getting the Most Out of Its Databases

Warren Blatt

Sunday, October 6, 2002 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
The Film Lecture Hall, Newton North High School

Using a live Internet connection, Warren Blatt will guide us through the popular databases on the JewishGen website: the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF), JewishGen ShtetlSeeker, Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP), and JewishGen Discussion Group message archives. He will also show us how to add our own data to the interactive databases

In addition to being JGSGB's webmaster, Warren serves as JewishGen's Vice-President for Editorial and Content Management and as Editor-in-Chief. He is the author of Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area (JGSGB, 1996) as well as other books and articles pertaining to Jewish genealogical research. He was chair of the 15th International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy held in Boston in 1996. Warren is a popular speaker at many genealogical conferences, including the 2002 international Jewish genealogy conference recently in Toronto. When not engrossed in genealogy, he is a computer software engineer.

Location: The meeting will take place at Newton North High School (NNHS), 360 Lowell Avenue, Newtonville.  Enter through the main entrance on Elm Road. Proceed up the stairs onto the school's "Main Street". The Film Lecture Hall is situated on the left.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.  Refreshments will be served.

Directions:

  • From Mass Turnpike (I-90): Get off at Exit 17 (Newton Corner). From the off ramp, follow signs to West Newton, which will take you westward down Washington St, parallel to the turnpike. After about 1 mile you will see the Star Market over the Turnpike on the left. The next set of lights is Lowell Ave. Turn left. NNHS is four blocks down on the left. Turn left onto Elm Rd just before the school and park in the lot.
  • From Route 128 (I-95) North or South: Get off at Exit 21 onto Route 16 east toward Newton (not Wellesley). Go approximately 1 mile (past Temple Reyim) to the 3rd set of traffic lights (fire station on right). Turn right onto Commonwealth Ave. Go approximately 1.5 miles to the 3rd set of lights, and turn left onto Lowell Ave. The school is on the right after two long blocks. Go just beyond the school, turn right onto Elm Rd, and park in the lot.
  • From Commonwealth Ave in Boston: Go towards Newton on Commonwealth Ave until you pass Walnut St (Newton City Hall on left). At the next light, take a right onto Lowell Ave and proceed to Elm Rd as above.

A Summer's Evening on Belarus with Vitaly Charny

Tuesday, August 13, 2002 -- 7:00-9:30 pm     
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Vitaly Charny, a researcher born in Minsk and now living in Alabama (see bio below), focuses on obtaining and translating Jewish documentation from Belarus. He will give a short history of the Jewish community there and will discuss naming patterns in Belarus during the Russian Empire and Soviet times. A question and discussion period will follow the formal presentation.

Belarus was formerly known as "White Russia" or Byelorussia. The main cities are: Minsk, Grodno, Vitebsk, Babruysk (Bobruisk), Slutsk, and Pinsk. Acquired by the Russian Empire during the partition of Poland in the late 18th century, it stood in the heart of the Pale of Settlement.

Mr. Charny has helped several of our own members obtain family information, and he has graciously offered to translate at the meeting short documents in Russian.

Vitaly Charny was born in Minsk in 1953 and was brought up there. He graduated from Belarus State University in 1975 with a major in Nuclear Physics but couldn't pursue a scientific career in the Soviet Union. He immigrated to the US with his family as political refugees in 1989. He worked in different places and fields including as a librarian assistant at NYU and at a lizard-breeding farm in Alabama. For the last few years he has lived in Birmingham, Alabama, and has worked as a programmer-analyst for a Computer Science Corporation. His hobbies and interests include philately (with Judaica as one of the topics); butterflies and dragonflies monitoring and photography; Jewish history of the Russian Empire/ USSR, military history, and the history of Russian Art; hiking; Jewish genealogy, including the origin and distribution of Jewish surnames in Minsk Gubernia; aquariums, terrariums, and wild flowers.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


22nd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

August 4-9, 2002

Sheraton Centre Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Hosted by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada (Toronto); sponsored by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS).

  • More than 100 Lectures
  • Jewish Genealogy Film Festival
  • Breakfasts with the Experts
  • Special Interest Group Luncheons
  • Birds-of-a-Feather Meetings
  • Special Interest Group Meetings
  • Exciting Closing Kosher Banquet
  • Great Toronto Resources
  • Computer and Resources Room
  • Biggest Vendor Exhibition Ever
  • Special Toronto & Canadian Tours and Events
  • Favourable currency exchange rate
  • Toronto — A Great Location to See and Meet

For more information, see http://www.jgstoronto2002.ca.


Caring for Your Invaluable Documents   &   Annual Meeting

Sunday, June 2, 2002 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton     

Presented by a five-member panel of experts from the New England Archivists (http://www.newenglandarchivists.org/).

The program will take place after a short annual meeting and election of officers. The panel members-one from the Harvard University Libraries, one from the Massachusetts Historical Society, and three from different government repositories in the Boston area-will teach us how to preserve and protect our documents and photographs. Such items, though seemingly robust, may in fact be quite delicate, and they need to be cared for properly.

Bring you own documents and photographs, and after the presention, you may consult with the experts on the care of your particular items.

Admission is free for members, $3 for non-members. Special Middle Eastern refreshments will be served. Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


The Application of DNA Testing to Jewish Populations and Migrations

Bennett Greenspan
Founder and President, Family Tree DNA, Houston, Texas

Sunday, May 5, 2002 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton     

Bennett Greenspan will start by explaining how and why he got into genetic genealogy. He will then describe in lay terms the current state of DNA research and how DNA in mitochondria - which follows the female line - and DNA in the Y chromosome - which follows the male line - can be used to trace Jewish populations and migrations. At the end of the meeting, those present will be able to discuss the possibility of having their own DNA sampled for genealogical purposes.

Admission is free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


JGSGB Night at the Boston Public Library

April 10, 2002 -- 7:00-9:00pm
Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Boston

Members will meet at the Mezzanine Conference Room, which can be accessed via the stairs or elevator in the entrance hall of the new (Johnson) building. Henry Scannell, Curator of Microtext and Newspapers of the Boston Public Library, will give an introductory talk and then lead a tour of the library's resources for genealogical research. Carol Clingan and David Rosen will assist members with the tour.


Patterns of European Jewish Migration  flyer     

Prof. Antony Polonsky

Sunday, March 3, 2002 -- 1:30-4:30pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Have you ever wondered how your ancestors happened to come to Central or Eastern Europe, where they came from, why they migrated at a particular time? Ever wondered how many of us are descended from the Khazars, who converted to Judaism in the 8th century? Professor Antony Polonsky, a well-known East European scholar at Brandeis, will attempt to answer some of these questions.

Admission is free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Using Genealogy Software to Organize Your Data: Tips and Techniques

Jay Sage, David Kanter, & Jim Byram

Sunday, February 10, 2002 -- 1:30-4:30pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

This program will use three programs (two for Windows and one for Macintosh computers) to illustrate techniques for using genealogical software.

Jay Sage will give a general presentation about using genealogy software programs and then describe "Family Origins for Windows," an inexpensive, easy-to-use program that fulfills needs of most amateur genealogists. "Reunion," an excellent program available for the Macintosh, will be presented by David Kanter, followed by a hands-on session for Mac users in another room. Finally, Jim Byram will present "The Master Genealogist," the most sophisticated program available.

Admission is free for members, $3 for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Society resources will be available for research after the talk.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Ethics in Genealogy: Do You or Don't You Tell    flyer    

Stuart Kaufman

Sunday, January 6, 2002

Stuart Kaufman will discuss ethical issues that arise in the course of genealogical research, especially the issue of how to treat sensitive information that you uncover.

Find Your Family Roots: A Beginners Workshop  flyer

Nancy Levin Arbeiter

December 14, 2003, Sunday -- 1:00-5:00 PM

Nancy Levin Arbeiter, an internationally known genealogist, will pack all the basics you need to know for beginner and middle-level genealogical research into a four-hour Beginner's Workshop. Though Nancy specializes in Jewish genealogy, most of the information is relevant for all genealogical researchers. Topics covered will include Research Logs, Analyzing the Evidence, Census Records, City Directories, Vital Records, Passenger Arrival Manifests, Naturalization Records, and Obituary and Cemetery Research. An extensive handout will be distributed at the workshop. Participants are asked to be on time.

Nancy Levin Arbeiter, CGRS, is a full-time professional genealogist specializing in Jewish family history research. She has a private research practice and since 1996 has also directed the genealogical research services at the American Jewish History Society. Nancy is the author of "A Beginner's Primer in U.S. Jewish Genealogical Research," published in AVOTAYNU: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, 1998. She has taught the beginner's workshop at numerous past international Jewish genealogical conferences and has lectured widely on specific areas of genealogical research. Nancy was a speaker at the 2000 and 2003 National Genealogical Society Conferences held in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.

Admission is FREE and open to the public.

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.  Phone: Wellesley Library (781) 235-1610, ext. 105

Refreshments will be served.

This meeting is being held at the Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington St. (Rt. 16), Wellesley.  It can be reached from Rt. 16 at Exit 21 and from Rt. 9 at the Wellesley Hills exit.


Genealogical Research at the Center for Jewish History, New York

Robert Friedman

December 7, 2003, Sunday -- 1:00-4:00 PM

The new Center for Jewish History in New York has been heralded as the diaspora’s “National Archives of the Jewish people”.  The Center’s five partners — American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research — collectively house 100 million archival documents and half a million books. The Genealogy Institute’s director, Robert Friedman, will explain the services offered by the Center and will help you identify and access items of interest. Learn about the variety of resources available and how to prepare in advance for an efficient and rewarding research experience.

A native New Yorker, Robert Friedman has a BA in Anthropology from Columbia, an MS in Environmental Health Science, and an MS in Library Science with an Archives and Records Management Certificate. His family history research, begun eight years ago, focuses on Hungary, Transylvania, eastern Slovakia, and the former Suwalki Gubernia in Russian Poland. Active in JewishGen's Hungarian SIG, Bob also participated in the IAJGS Cemetery Project and JewishGen Yizkor Book Project, and he has served on the Executive Council of JGSNY.

The meeting will take place in the Silvershore Room at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton.  The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21.  Click here for directions.


Secret Jews from Spain and Portugal: History and Genealogy   flyer

Gloria Mound

November 16, 2003, Sunday -- 1:30-4:30 PM

What began twenty-five years ago as research on the Secret Jews/Marranos on two Spanish islands has developed into a worldwide project that is discovering and tracing the descendants of Marranos from Spain and Portugal. The original Secret Jews were Jews who were compelled to convert to Christianity first in medieval Spain and then in Portugal. Gloria Mound will lecture on their fascinating history and genealogy.

Gloria Mound is the founder and executive director of Casa Shalom: Institute for Marrano-Anusim Studies at Gan Yavnah, Israel, and was an Honorary Research Fellow of the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Glasglow. Casa Shalom maintains a unique library and database on previously unknown Jewish communities that is of increasing use to researchers and genealogists. The society also aids many hidden Jews to declare themselves and regain their Jewish heritage.

NOTE: This meeting is being held at the Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington St. (Rt. 16), Wellesley. It can be reached from Rt. 16 at Exit 21 and from Rt. 9 at the Wellesley Hills exit.


Using the Internet to Find Anything and Anyone (Dead or Alive)   flyer

Ron Arons

October 13, 2003, Monday -- 7:00-9:30 PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton

The internet has vast resources, which can be used in a variety of ways. One only needs a bit of creativity to find the treasures that will help with the family research process. This is not just a theoretical lecture or simply a listing of websites. Many examples will be provided to show how anyone’s family research process can be enhanced.

Ron Arons is a seasoned genealogist. He has traced his roots to England, Poland, Romania, the Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania.  A member of the board of the San Francisco Jewish Genealogical Society, he has given presentations locally and abroad, including at the past three International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies annual conferences in London, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.
Refreshments will be served.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Polish-Jewish Genealogical Research     flyer    

Warren Blatt

Sept 14, 2003, Sunday -- 1:30-4:30 PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton

A general overview and introduction to researching your Polish-Jewish ancestry. This interactive slide presentation will cover the history of Polish border changes, geography and place-name changes; How to find and locate your ancestral shtetl and historical information; The vital records-keeping system in Poland: How to find and translate birth, marriage and death records; Polish-Jewish surnames and given names, language spelling and grammar issues; Yizkor books and landsmanschaftn; business directories; Polish Archives and Civil Registration Offices; Using Mormon microfilms, Internet sources, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for Jewish genealogical research in Poland.

Warren Blatt is the Editor-in-Chief of JewishGen (www.jewishgen.org), the primary Internet site for Jewish genealogy, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (www.mjhnyc.org) in New York City.  Warren is the author of Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area (JGSGB, 1996); and co-author (with Gary Mokotoff) of Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy (Avotaynu, 1999).  He was the Chair of the 15th International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, held here in Boston in 1996.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Jewish Migration within and out of The Russian Empire: 1850-1914   flyer    

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

August 20, 2003, Wednesday -- 7:00-9:30 PM
The Wellesley Public Library, Wakelin Room 1
530 Washington Street (Route 16), Wellesley, MA

From the late 18th century until the Russian Revolution, the Russian Empire included large areas of the former Kingdom of Poland: Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, eastern Poland, and the Ukraine. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern will present the migration patterns that took place within the Russian Empire during the mid-19th century. He will also discuss the reasons and the logistics for the vast emigration from the Russian Empire to the United States and the role played by the German Jewish community.

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern was born in 1962 in Kiev, Ukraine, into a profoundly assimilated family of Jewish intellectuals. He received a PhD in Comparative Literature in 1988 from Moscow University. In 1996, he came to Brandeis University as a graduate student and was awarded a PhD in Jewish History in 2001. He has taught Judaism and Jewish history in Russia, Ukraine, Canada, and the USA and has published extensively on European and South American Literature and on Modern Jewish History. He is currently completing a book on the encounter between Russian Jews and the Russian army entitled Drafted into Modernity: Jews in the Russian Empire 1827-1914.

NOTE: Temple Reyim is being renovated this summer, and this meeting is being held at the Wellesley Public Library, located at 530 Washington Street (Route 16), Wellesley. It can be reached from Route 128 at Exit 21 and from Route 9 at the Wellesley Hills exit.


23rd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

July 20-25, 2003

JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Hosted by the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington; sponsored by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS).

  • More than 100 Lectures
  • Jewish Genealogy Film Festival
  • Ask the Experts tutorial sessions
  • Special Interest Group Luncheons
  • Birds-of-a-Feather Meetings
  • Special Interest Group Meetings
  • Great Washington DC Resources
  • Computer and Resources Room
  • Vendor Exhibitions
  • Special Washington Tours and Events
  • Exciting Closing Kosher Banquet

For more information, see http://www.jewishgen.org/dc2003.


Jewish Boston: Where Once We Walked   flyer     

Norman Morris

June 1, 2003 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Annual Meeting: "Jewish Boston: Where Once We Walked", with Norman Morris. Norman Morris is the author of two books on Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury.

Boston native Norm Morris will describe the Jewish Boston of his youth and early adult years. He has recently written two books about the former Jewish neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. In Ghetto Memories, Norm depicted in text and photographs the vibrant life from the 1930s until the flight to the suburbs in the 1960s. The ‘prequel’, Ghetto Memories Revisited, begins with immigration and development of the area in the early 1900s and ends with “what it is like today.”

Norm Morris was President of NMA, Inc., an international audit and consulting firm; a commissioned Examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; and a faculty member at Northeastern University and the Banking School at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He holds an undergraduate degree in finance with a graduate degree in economics from Brown University and is a graduate of the MIT Sloan School. Prior to his military service during the Korean War, Mr. Morris was a professional baseball player.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Memorial Books as a Source for Genealogy  flyer     

Joyce Field

May 4, 2003 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

"Memorial Books as a Source for Genealogy", with Joyce Field.  Joyce Field is the coordinator of the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project, which translates memorial (Yizkor) Books from Yiddish, Hebrew and other languages into English.

Yizkor books provide a valuable source of information about Jewish communities in Eastern and Central Europe.  Former residents published these books, written mostly in Hebrew or Yiddish, as a tribute to their home towns and the people there who perished during the Holocaust.  The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project was organized in 1994 to unlock the valuable information contained in these books, by compiling an online database of Yizkor Books, and online translations.

Joyce Field, a founder of the Yizkor Book Project, now serves as its Project Manager.  As Vice President for Research at JewishGen, she oversees a number of other research projects, including the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR).  She has also served on the steering committees of the Romania and Gesher Galicia SIGs.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Lithuanian Jewry Yesterday and Today  flyer

Dina Kopilevic

April 6, 2003 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Dina Kopilevic is the Secretary for Cultural, Public, and Educational Affairs at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Washington, DC. She will speak about the history of Lithuanian Jewry, the current Jewish culture in Lithuania, and travel for archival research and to visit one's ancestral home.

Born in Lithuania, Ms. Kopilevic received a Master’s of Science Degree in Pharmacy from the Kaunas Medical Academy in 1988. Upon joining the Lithuanian Embassy in 2000, she became the only Jewish staff member. Ms. Kopilevic has been active in various Lithuanian Jewish cultural societies. Dina has accompanied her sister, Regina Kopilevic, the foremost Lithuanian Jewish research guide, on several of her guided tours.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Sephardic Genealogy    flyer     

Jeff Malka

March 9, 2003 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

"Sephardic Genealogy", with Jeff Malka, author of a recent 400-page book entitled Sephardic Genealogy published by Avotaynu.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Traveling to the Lands of Our Ancestors   flyer     

Tom Weiss, Judi Garfinkle

February 2, 2003 -- 1:30-4:30 pm
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Join two of our members, Judi Garfinkel and Tom Weiss, as they describe and illustrate their travels to their ancestral homelands in search of their genealogical roots. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers after each presentation.

Judi Garfinkel, a first-time traveler to Romania, spoke about her trip at the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Toronto last summer. Her talk was well received, and she will now share with us her experiences as a novice journeying to Romania for genealogical research.

Tom Weiss has made numerous trips in search of his genealogical roots in Ukraine, Austria and the Czech Republic. Some were made independently; others were organized JewishGen "ShtetlShlepper" trips. From him we’ll get the perspectives of a seasoned traveler.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


JGSGB’s Night at the National Archives

January 7, 2003 -- 6:00-9:00pm
National Archives, New England Region, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

Our annual meeting at the National Archives and Records Administration facility in Waltham features instruction on how to access the materials at NARA and an opportunity to carry out research.

The Archives will be open in the evening especially for us. If your membership is not current, please send dues in advance to: JGSGB, P.O. Box 610366, Newton Highland, MA 02461-0366.

The National Archives, New England Region holds many records for genealogical research, including the U.S. Federal Census (1790-1930); Passenger Arrival Records for Boston and other New England ports; New England Naturalization Records, Canadian Border Crossing records, WWI Draft Registration Card for New England, Russian Consular Records, and WWII War Crimes records.

For a complete list of the National Archives' relevant holdings, see Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, (Boston: JGSGB, 1996).

Jerry Anderson will give the orientation at 6:00 PM, repeating it as often as needed during the evening. Archives staff and experienced JGSGB members will be available to help anyone who needs assistance. Microfilm copiers are available, so bring quarters.

Refreshments will be served.

Directions:

  • From Route 128: Exit at Trapelo Road (Exit 28 or 28A) and continue east on Trapelo Road for 2.8 miles to the National Archives, on the right side of the road.
  • From Boston: Take Storrow Drive, follow signs for Route 2. Cross the Charles River at the Eliot Bridge, bear right but keep left, left on Mt. Auburn Street till it forks, bear right onto Belmont Street. When Belmont Street forks, bear right onto Trapelo Road, follow for 2.4 miles to the National Archives on the left.

Research and Genealogical Networking Day

Sunday, December 5, 2004 -- 1:30-4:00 PM
Temple Reyim, Newton

Join other members who are researching family roots from your ancestral areas in one-hour roundtable discussions. Discover the ancestral towns and family names your fellow members are researching. Share your successes and get advice from others on how to overcome obstacles in exploring your roots and connecting with living relatives. Roundtables will be set up to cover the following Special Interest Groups: Belarus, Bohemia-Moravia, Galicia, German, Litvak, Poland, Ukraine, and the U.S.  Other roundtables will be formed if there is interest.

After the roundtable discussions, genealogical books, including some brought in from our collection at AJHS, will be available for your perusal. Translators will be on hand to help decipher those difficult documents you've been waiting to interpret.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton.  The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21.  Click here for directions..


Insights into Rabbinic Genealogy — Myth Buster!  flyer

Neil Rosenstein

Sunday, November 14, 2004 -- 1:30-4:00 PM

Join us in hearing Dr. Neil Rosenstein, the internationally known author and speaker in the sphere of rabbinic genealogy. Dr. Rosenstein was born in Cape Town, South Africa.  As a result of almost four decades of investigative research, he has accumulated a vast matrix of material on Jewish genealogy, especially in the field of rabbinical dynasties.  He was the founder in 1977 and the first president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York.

He is the author of many works on Jewish genealogy.  His most recent publication, The Lurie Legacy: The House of Davidic Royal Descent was published by Avotaynu in May 2004.  He has also written, in 1976 and 1990, The Unbroken Chain, two volumes of genealogy on the Katzenellenbogen family, The Gaon of Vilna and his Cousinhood, 1997, and produced a CD-ROM with the indexed obituaries of the first Hebrew weekly, HaMagid (1856-1903).  Dr. Rosenstein’s biography is included in Who’s Who in World Jewry, 1987, and Marquis’ Who's Who in America, 52nd edition, 1997-2004.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton.  The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21.  Click here for directions.


Beginner’s Workshop in Genealogy  flyer

Nancy Levin Arbeiter

Sunday, November 7, 2004 -- 1:00-5:00 PM
Lasell Village, Auburndale (Newton)

Cost of $25 includes light refreshments and extensive handouts.

Please register by mailing in the form at http://workshop.jgsgb.org/, with your check payable to "JGSGB", postmarked no later than November 1, 2004.

Lasell Village (2nd floor ballroom in "Town Hall" Bldg.), 120 Seminary Ave., Auburndale, MA


The Center for Jewish History: Resources for Genealogy   flyer

Robert Friedman

Sunday, October 17, 2004 -- 1:00-4:00 PM
Temple Reyim, Newton

The new Center for Jewish History in New York has been heralded as the diaspora’s “National Archives of the Jewish people.”  The Center’s five partners -- American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research -- collectively house 100 million archival documents and half a million books.  The Genealogy Institute’s director, Robert Friedman, will explain the services offered by the Center and will help you identify and access items of interest.  Learn about the variety of resources available and how to prepare in advance for an efficient and rewarding research experience.

A native New Yorker, Robert Friedman has a BA in Anthropology from Columbia, an MS in Environmental Health Science, and an MS in Library Science with an Archives and Records Management Certificate.  His family history research, begun eight years ago, focuses on Hungary, Transylvania, eastern Slovakia, and the former Suwalki Gubernia in Russian Poland.  Active in H-SIG, Bob also participated in the IAJGS Cemetery Project and JewishGen Yizkor Book Project, and he has served on the Executive Council of JGSNY.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton.  The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21.  Click here for directions.


The Role of HIAS in the Rescue of Jews During World War II  flyer

Valery Bazarov

Sunday, September 12, 2004 -- 1:30 PM
Temple Reyim, Newton

Following the German invasion of France in 1940, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS, part of the former HICEM) moved its European headquarters to Lisbon, Portugal. The unique geographical and political position of neutral Portugal made Lisbon the only European port of departure for North and South America. Records of the refugees who were saved are contained in the HICEM/HIAS collection of 171 microfilm reels at YIVO in New York. They are arranged by the refugees’ last names and include ship passenger lists, travel document requests, departure cards, family search requests, and camp survivor lists.

Valery Bazarov was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States in 1988. He joined HIAS that year and over the next decade aided the arrival of more than 200,000 Jewish refugees. Valery is currently responsible for the HIAS “Location and Family History Service,” helping immigrants find family members and friends with whom they lost contact. He is especially committed to finding and honoring the heroes who rescued European Jews during the Holocaust. Valery also researches the history of HIAS.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton.  The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21.  Click here for directions.


Revolutionary Jews: Their Genealogy and Contributions to Colonial and Revolutionary America
flyer

Dr. Joseph L. "Joel" Andrews

Sunday, June 13, 2004 -- 7:00-9:30 PM
Hebrew College, Newton Centre

A joint evening meeting with the American Jewish Historical Society.  This will also be our Annual Meeting with elections.  American Jewish Historical Society Open House at 7:00 in Rae and Joseph Gann Library, followed at 7:30 by Program and JGSGB Annual Meeting in Berenson Hall.

Commemorate the 350th anniversary of the 1654 arrival of the first Jews in the future United States with Dr. Joseph L. “Joel” Andrews.  Jews settled in the five most tolerant colonial cities of Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Charlestown, and Savannah.  Though few in number, Jews, both as soldiers and supporters, contributed disproportionately to the patriotic cause.  The American Revolution was one of the first wars since antiquity in which Jews were actively allowed to participate.

Dr. Andrews, now semi-retired, has been on the medical staff of Lahey Clinic, New England Deaconess Hospital, and Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools.  Tracing his ancestry to Haym Salomon, the major financier of the Continental Army, and to Col. Isaac Franks and Major Benjamin Nones, officers under General George Washington's command, he is the only Jewish member of the Massachusetts chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.  Fascinated with history, Dr. Andrews founded and directs the Concord Guides Walking Tours and writes books and articles about the history of the colonial and Revolutionary eras.

Hebrew College is located at 160 Herrick Rd. From Centre Street in Newton Centre, turn east onto Beacon Street, and immediately bear right onto Union Street.  Take the first right onto Herrick Road.  Near the top of the hill, bear left into the Hebrew College campus.


A Cemetery Research Project - On-site in West Roxbury   flyer

Jane Salk, Executive Director, Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts

Sunday, May 23, 2004 -- 1:00 PM

This will be a new kind of program, one that combines our usual educational activity with a special project.  We will begin by gathering in the Dana Chapel on the grounds of the Adath Jeshurun Cemetery, 350 Grove Street, West Roxbury, where Jane Salk will introduce the history of the Jewish cemeteries of Boston.  She will also tell us about the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM) and its growth from managing five cemeteries in Boston to overseeing nearly one hundred throughout the state.  The focus will then turn toward preparing us for our project of gathering tombstone data for the JCAM and JewishGen databases.  This project will provide us the opportunity to express our gratitude to the members of the genealogical community who have gathered and made available to us such data from other places all over the world.

After Jane Salk’s talk, we will take a five-minute drive to the nearby Centre Street Hill Cemetery, where we will help create a map of the grounds and begin photographing and recording data from the tombstones.  Those who will participate in the project should wear hiking boots or sturdy shoes, long pants, and a hat.  A water bottle is also recommended.  Please bring the following items if you have them: pens/pencils, clipboard, digital camera, GPS receiver. 

For further information, including maps and driving directions, please visit our web page at http://cemetery.jgsgb.org.  If it is raining on May 23 -- or if there was a lot of rain in the preceding days -- the program will be postponed two weeks to June 6.  In case there is any doubt, call our telephone on the day of the program for a recorded announcement.


Preserving Cemetery Information in Eastern Europe   flyer

Thomas Fischer Weiss

Sunday, May 2, 2004 -- 1:30-4:30 PM
Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington St., Newton

The Jewish cemeteries of Eastern Europe were ravaged during World War II and have been neglected ever since with the absence of Jewish communities to maintain them.  Tom Weiss and family members traveled to Eastern Galicia, now located in Western Ukraine, in 2000 and 2001.  He visited a number of cemeteries and will describe their conditions and the factors that continue to degrade their genealogically important content.  He will also describe the methods used to photograph all the remaining and legible gravestones in the cemeteries of two towns (Buchach and Rozhnyatov) and to make maps of the cemeteries.  The photographs of the gravestones and the translations of the inscriptions are being placed on a JewishGen web site to make their content widely available.  The talk will include numerous photographs and video clips.

Tom Weiss has been researching his family history for 6 years.  He has been a member of JGSGB for two years and a member of the JGSGB Board for one year.  The family surnames he is researching are Abraham, Apfelberg, Buchhalter, Fischer, Frnkel, Frenkel, Fruchter, Katz, Klepetar, Meisels, Orlk, Rubin, Siegelmann, Turteltaub, Vodicka, Weissglas, And Zarnicer.  His paternal family is from Bohemia; his maternal family from Vienna/Galicia.  He can be reached at tfweiss@mit.edu.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton.  The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21.  Click here for directions.


Research the National Archives New England Branch

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 -- 6:00-9:00 PM
National Archives, New England Region, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

Two concurrent programs at 6:30:

  • Introduction to the archives, by Al Luftman.  For those who have never done research at the National Archives, JGSGB member Al Luftman will introduce the resources available and how to access them.  Learn how to look up census records, passenger arrival records, Canadian border crossings, New England WWI draft registrations, naturalization records, and much more.
  • At the same time, a NARA staff member will give an update of what's new at the archives, for the more experienced NARA researcher.

Experienced researchers will be able to use the entire three hours for research.  JGSGB members will be available to assist those needing help.  This is a members-only program.

Directions: From Route 128 take Exit 28 (Trapelo Road). Head east (toward Waltham and Belmont) on Trapelo Road for 2.75 miles. The National Archives is on the right down an incline, and the entrance road is beyond the building.  If you are coming from Belmont, head west on Trapelo Road, 0.75 miles past Waverly Oaks Road. The National Archives is on the left.


Genealogy Roundtables: Special Interest Groups   flyer

February 15, 2004, Sunday -- 1:30-4:30 PM
Temple Reyim, West Newton

Join members who are researching family roots from your ancestral areas in two roundtable discussions, each lasting one hour. Learn the ancestral towns and family names that your fellow members are researching. Share your successes and obstacles in connecting with living relatives and in discovering your roots. Roundtables will be set up to cover the following Special Interest Group areas: Belarus, Galicia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sefardic areas, Ukraine, and the United States (for those seeking current roots in the U. S.).

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.


Brandeis University Library: On-site Tour of Genealogical Resources &
flyer     

James Rosenbloom

January 18, 2004 -- 2:00-4:00 PM
Rappaport Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library, Waltham, MA

Did you know that Brandeis University offers a treasure trove of resources for Jewish genealogical research?  James Rosenbloom, Judaica Specialist at Brandeis University, will meet us in the Rappaport Treasure Hall of the Brandeis University Library to introduce the genealogical resources available at Brandeis. Following the orientation, we will be given a tour through the Judaica area and shown the library’s extensive collection of Yizkor books and microfilms of newspapers and periodicals.

James Rosenbloom has worked in the Judaica Department of the Brandeis University library system since 1976.  He now oversees the entire collection of Judaica, including the Bible, rabbinics, Jewish thought, all periods of Jewish history, contemporary Jewry, and Hebrew and Yiddish literature.

Jill Culiner

In the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers (wayfarers)   

Jill Culiner, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2005      

The Canadian author, Jill Culiner, will speak about her book, Finding Home: In the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers, at the next program sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (JGSGB).

The book is about a little known story in Jewish history. Nearly 70,000 Fusgeyers, Yiddish for wayfarers, fled persecution in Romania in the early 1900s, walking through Romania in small groups, while earning their living by giving theatrical performances, until they were able to immigrate to the New World. Culiner retraced their journey, walking herself through Romania, and picking up their trail through Budapest, Vienna, Frankfurt, Rotterdam, London, and Liverpool to the cities in the United States and Canada, where many settled. Research for the book was supported by a grant from the Toronto Arts Council.

The book, published last year, won the Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Prize in Canadian Jewish History and a Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book award. Culiner is a professional photographer as well as an author, and her book includes both her contemporary photographs as well as archival prints. She lives in Toronto and also in Tiszaors, Hungary, where she is working on a book about the Hungarian Holocaust.

Tom Weiss

Researching My Family In Europe: Successes And Failures  

Tom F. Weiss, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005       

Weiss' talk will describe the saga of the family history research he has been conducting, with its many twists and turns. Weiss and his family escaped from Prague five months after the German occupation in 1939. He returned for the first time 59 years later in 1998 and has been researching his family's history since then. The talk will describe some of the results of this research and the methods and resources used.

During his first visit to Prague, his birthplace and that of his father, Weiss found the apartment building where he lived before fleeing. In Vienna, his mother's birthplace, he found his grandparents' home and the synagogue where his parents were married, the only synagogue in Vienna to survive Kristallnacht.

Weiss returned in 2000 and 2001 to the birthplaces of his maternal grandparents in Eastern Galicia, now located in Ukraine, the towns of Buchach and Rozhnyatov. Weiss has taken on the preservation of the gravestone inscriptions there. During his 2000 trip, he took almost 400 photographs of cemetery stones in both towns and posted them on the JewishGen website for other genealogy researchers to use. He returned in 2001 with his adult sons and took 1500 more photos of all the legible gravestones in Buchach, marking their locations using a GPS device. An international team has nearly finished translating these gravestones for posting on the Internet.

A fifth trip to Vienna in 2005 followed up on earlier research and led to important discoveries about his grandparent's families, most of whom died in the Holocaust. Weiss is still searching for the survivors he has identified through his research.

A retired MIT professor who lives in Newton, Weiss is active in the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and nationally in JewishGen, the major website for genealogy research. He is webmaster for the JewishGen Rozhnyatov ShtetLinks page, coordinator for translation of the Yizkor Book for Rozhnyatov, and an active member of the JewishGen Suchostav Region Research Group. He is writing a book about his family's history.

Rhoda Miller

How to Organize your Notes   

Rhoda Miller, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005       

Rhoda Miller, CGRS, Vice President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island will speak on "Organizit: Reducing Your Genealogy Clutter". The program will be held from 1:30 - 4:00 pm at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street in Newton Center.

The talk will present creative solutions and problem solving ideas for genealogy researchers interested in getting organized, so they can free up mental and physical space for more research. Miller will discuss clutter, how it happens and what to do about it. She will explain how to organize files, documents, photographs, correspondence, research projects, and research materials. She also will cover methods of approaching a genealogy project and how to plan for a research trip in a lively and entertaining talk.

Miller, a Certified Genealogical Record Searcher, has lectured and volunteered widely on genealogy in the New York City area and at international genealogy conferences. She is a doctoral candidate conducting research on the relationship of family history and the retention and persistence of first generation college students. She also teaches a family history course at Dowling College in Oakdale, New York.

Mike Karsen

Write Your Family History Now!

Mike Karsen, Sunday, September 11, 2005       

Bring Your Own Written Family History to Display Before and After the Talk

Genealogists are very good at doing research and collecting many facts about their family, but they frequently fail to publish the results of their research. Mike Karsen will show how you can publish your findings in book formats ranging from a 30-page pamphlet to one that contains detailed biographies and places your family in historical context. Karsen emphasizes the importance of organizing your findings and sharing them as soon as possible.

Mike Karsen is a professional genealogy speaker and instructor. He is a member of the National Genealogical Society and the Genealogical Speakers Guild. Mike has spoken at state, national, and international conferences on genealogical topics and has taught classes on genealogy. He has published five of his own family histories and has inspired many others to write their own family history.


A Taste of Jewish Genealogy   

Nancy Levin Arbeiter, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005 

Newton Free Library, Newton, MA


Exhibit at the Newton Free Library
Discovering Your Jewish Roots

Sept 1 - 30, 2005
Newton Free Library, Newton, MA


The Straus Family: How Social History Enhances Genealogy   

Joan Adler, Sunday, June 12, 2005       


Drawing on her research as the director of the Straus Family Historical Society, Joan Adler will discuss the importance of social history in putting our genealogical research in context. Learning more about social, political, historical, and even physical aspects of the family and where they lived, can give us more clues for research and help us bring to life an otherwise dry recitation of names and dates. The Straus family is the Jewish-American immigrant family whose members prospered as owners of Macy's department store in New York City and distinguished themselves in public service and philanthropy.

Held in conjunction with the AJHS, whose first president was Oscar Solomon Straus, this meeting is also JGSGB's Annual Meeting and will include the election of the next Board of Directors.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members. Refreshments will be served.


A Most Extraordinary Situation: Genealogical Adventures in Poland  

Yale S. Reisner, Thursday, May 19, 2005      

Yale S. Reisner directs the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogical Project of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland in Warsaw. Since 1994, he has been assisting individuals and families in uncovering their family history. The Lauder foundation is a non-profit Jewish educational foundation. Yale Reisner will present dramatic, moving, and sometimes amusing accounts of the work of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogy Project as it helps Jews of Polish origins and Poles of Jewish origin rediscover and sort out their often twisted roots and complex backgrounds. He will tell of child survivors and their offspring, of family ties lost and found, and of new potential sources of information.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton. The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21. Click here for directions.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members. Refreshments will be served.


Research Workshop at the National Archives

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 -- 6:00-9:00 PM
National Archives, New England Region,
380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

Join fellow JGSGB members at our annual research night at the National Archives and Records Administration on Trapelo Road in Waltham.  There will be an orientation session for those who have not recently used the NARA facilities and resources.  Learn how to look up census records, Boston passenger arrival records, Canadian border crossings, and New England WWI draft registrations and naturalizations.  Help will be available for both beginners and experienced researchers.

Directions: From Route 128 take Exit 28 (Trapelo Road). Head east (toward Waltham and Belmont) on Trapelo Road for 2.75 miles. The National Archives is on the right down an incline, and the entrance road is beyond the building.  If you are coming from Belmont, head west on Trapelo Road, 0.75 miles past Waverly Oaks Road. The National Archives is on the left.


Genealogical Treasure Troves of Israel: How to Use Them Here and There  

Dr. Martha Lev-Zion, Sunday, March 13, 2005      flyer  

Israel offers an amazing array of genealogical resources.  In addition to major repositories such as the Central Archives of the Jewish People, every kibbutz, every association of Shoah survivors, every Jewish youth movement, every Jewish organization, active or dormant, has an archive with priceless material.  The Israel Genealogical Society has posted on its website a thorough survey of available archives in Israel.  This talk will tell you which resources are likely to be most useful to you (for example, the new Yad Vashem database), which ones make their data available online, how to discover hidden ways to access online databases, and how to use other internet facilities to plan in advance for a research trip to Israel.

Dr. Martha Lev-Zion is an historian of modern European intellectual history.  She is the founder and president of the Israel Genealogical Society of the Negev, serves on the board of directors of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and was a key organizer of the IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem last summer.  She is a former president of the Latvia SIG and a member of the steering committee of the Courland Research Group.  She will be happy to answer questions on Latvian and Courland research.

The meeting will take place at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street (Route 16), West Newton.  The Temple is near Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Stop on the Riverside Green Line, as well as a short ride from Route 128 at Exit 21.  Click here for directions.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.   Refreshments will be served.


Jonathan Sarna

Jewish Settlement Patterns in the US: Why Jews Ended Up Where They Did
flyer     

Jonathan D. Sarna, Sunday, February 13, 2005

Jews are by no means evenly distributed across the United States; in fact, they are among America’s most densely concentrated faiths.  Today, some 85 percent of America’s Jews live in just twenty metropolitan areas.  How and why did this happen?   What determined where Jewish immigrants settled and where their descendants moved?   We will look at some examples from the colonial era to the present.

Jonathan D. Sarna holds the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professorship of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, and chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.  Author or editor of more than 20 books on American Jewish history and life, he is also the chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and of the 350th commemoration of Jewish life in America, 1654-2004.  His most recent book, American Judaism: A History, won the top prize of the 2004 National Jewish Book Awards.

NOTE: This meeting is being held at the Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington St. (Rt. 16), Wellesley.  It can be reached from Rt. 16 at Exit 21 and from Rt. 9 at the Wellesley Hills exit.  Map and directions.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.  Refreshments will be served.


Jewish Genes and Genealogy   flyer     

Robert Weinberg, Sunday, January 9, 2005

By following the pattern of inheritance of certain DNA sequences, it has now become possible to determine where various ethnic groups have originated throughout the world.  The Jewish gene pool is especially interesting because of the geographic dispersion of the Diaspora.  Among the most dramatic findings has been the discovery of the Cohen Y chromosome, which traces its roots back to a common ancestor who lived more than 2500 years ago.  Yet other findings provide indications of the Middle-Eastern origin of many Jewish mutations, including those that afflict particularly the Ashkenazic population.  Knowing a bit about your DNA can even help you verify the details of your family tree.

Bob Weinberg is Professor of Biology at MIT and Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.  He received his BS at MIT in 1964 and his PhD from MIT in 1969.  He held post-doctoral fellowships at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovoth, Israel, and the Salk Institute, La Jolla CA.  He has been on the MIT Faculty since 1974.  Bob has been a genealogist since 1957, and his genealogical tree includes two to three thousand people.  He has traced his father’s line of descent through nine generations to the late 17th century in Westphalia.

NOTE: This meeting is being held at the Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington St. (Rt. 16), Wellesley.  It can be reached from Rt. 16 at Exit 21 and from Rt. 9 at the Wellesley Hills exit.

Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.  Refreshments will be served.

The History of the Jewish Community in the Merrimack Valley   — Louise Sandberg    
Mike Hoberman
How Strange It Seems: An Oral History of Jewish Cultural Life in Small Town New England    —Michael Hoberman             

Sunday, December 3, 2006 — 1:30 - 3:30PM

Our December program will feature two speakers on early Jewish communities in New England. Michael Hoberman will speak on "How Strange It Seems: An Oral History of Jewish Cultural Life in Small Town New England," the title of his book soon to be published. Louise Sandberg will talk about "Jewish Communities in the Merrimack Valley".

Hoberman's presentation will highlight findings of his research about how the Jewish heritage in rural New England has been both unique and similar to Jewish experience in other regions of the United States. He will illustrate these findings with examples drawn from 60 oral history interviews he conducted in Jewish communities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts and Connecticut. The talk will feature an audiotape of excerpts and accompanying photographs.

Hoberman is an assistant professor of English and folklore at Fitchburg State College. He also is the author of Yankee Moderns: Folk Regional Identity in the Sawmill Valley of Western Massachusetts, 1890-1920. He lives with his family on a small farm in Shelburne Falls, MA.

Sandberg, who is in charge of the Special Collections at the Lawrence Public Library, wrote Lawrence in the Gilded Age, part of the Image of America series.


Judy Cohen

Piecing Together The Quilt    

Judy Cohen, Sunday, November 19, 2006           

Judith Cohen, the director of the Photographic Reference Collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will speak on "Piecing Together the Quilt." She will show how examining both large and small photo collections in the Museum's Archives helps to deepen our understanding of the historic record.

The Photo Archives at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have some 80,000 historic images documenting not only the tragic events of the Holocaust but also Jewish life in the decades before and after the war. While some of these photographs come from large well-known archival collections, many are the only remaining photographs of an individual family. Through the collection of private family photographs, the Museum both memorializes individual victims and also documents historic events.

Cohen has worked in the Photo Archives since 1998. Earlier, she was a researcher and text writer for the Museum's special exhibition, "Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto". Before joining the Holocaust Museum in 1995, Cohen taught history and Jewish studies in Jewish day and afternoon schools. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 1976 and a Master of Arts in Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis University.

Learn how to donate your family photographs and artifacts to the Photographic Reference Collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


Introduction To Jewish Genealogy

Jay and Daphnah Sage, Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jay and Daphnah Sage, past presidents of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, present an introduction to Jewish genealogy. They will describe some of the joys of discovering your relatives, debunk some of the common myths, and show you how easy it is to get started on your own research.


Exhibit on Discovering Your Jewish Roots

October 5 - 30, 2006     JGSGB at the Brookline Library


Steve Morse

Morse Fun With Genealogy     

Stephen P. Morse, Sunday, October 22, 2006        

This program will feature Stephen Morse speaking about the tools he has developed for genealogical research on the internet. His One-Step website started out as an aid for finding passengers in the Ellis Island database. Shortly afterwards it was expanded to help with searching in the 1930 census. Over the years it has continued to evolve and today includes over 100 web-based tools divided into twelve separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations to last-minute bidding on e-bay. This presentation will describe the range of tools available and give the highlights of each one.

Stephen Morse is an amateur genealogist who has been researching his Russian-Jewish origins for the past few years. His websites on searching the Ellis Island database and the 1930 census have attracted attention worldwide. He has received both the Outstanding Contribution Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the IAJGS.

In his other life, Steve is a computer professional who has spent a career alternately doing research, development, teaching, consulting, and writing. He is best known as the designer of the Intel 8086 microprocessor (grandfather of today's pentium processor) which sparked the PC revolution twenty years ago. He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and still enjoys tinkering with electronics in his spare time.


How To Restore Photos - Roger Weiss
How To Digitize Your Family History - Hal Slifer     

Roger Weiss

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Roger Weiss, the webmaster for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, is the owner of the Boston Web Company and Boston Photo Restorations and has been digitally restoring photographs for many years. During his talk, Roger will discuss photo restoration techniques and provide advice about what we can do at home. The talk will include plenty of examples and cover such topics as storing and scanning your photos, fixing yellowed or faded photos, repairing tears or cracks, restoring missing pieces, removing stains, as well as suggestions for necessary hardware and software.
Hal Slifer

Hal Slifer, one of New England's top videographers, has been capturing family memories for over 25 years. His work has been shown at numerous Jewish organizations. He has also done promotional videos for the Rashi School, Solomon Schechter Day School, and Gann Academy. Hal's specialty is producing biographies for families that include family interviews, photographs , and home movies to create a family legacy that will be passed down through the generations. He will be speaking about how to make your own family history DVD/video using interviews, old photos, and film, etc.


Ellen Smith

Jewish Migration Into and Within Greater Boston      

Ellen Smith, Sunday, June 11, 2006       

Ellen Smith will talk about "Jewish Migration Into and Within Greater Boston" at our next program. The talk will cover different periods of immigration into Boston from various parts of the world as well as the movements of Jews within the Boston area.

Award-winning historian, curator, and author, Ellen Smith is the Associate Director of the Gralla Fellows Program for Religion Journalists at Brandeis University, where she teaches courses in American Jewish Women's History and American Jewish Material Culture. Smith is the co-editor, with Jonathan Sarna, of The Jews of Boston, and she was the chief a dvisor to the Emmy Award-winning WGBH television documentary of the same name. The former Curator of both the American Jewish Historical Society and the National Museum of American Jewish History, she is also Principal of Museumsmith, a firm specializing in museum exhibitions and historic site interpretations throughout the nation. She has curated over three dozen exhibitions—including three on Boston Jewish history and has published over two dozen books, articles, and catalogs on American Jewish life and culture.

Smith sits on numerous civic and academic boards, and she is a past president of the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton, Massachusetts. Smith and her husband have a grown daughter and son and live in Newton in a multi-generational house with Ellen's father and multi-generational pets.


Judith Caplan

How to Read Hebrew Tombstones   

Judith Shulamith Langer-Surnamer Caplan, Sunday, May 21, 2006       

Professional genealogist Judith Caplan will explain the important genealogical value of gravestones and how you can decipher and decode the Hebrew letters on gravestones even if you are not literate in Hebrew. She will distribute a handbook she has written that explains how to read family gravestones almost anywhere in the world.

Judith Shulamith Langer-Surnamer Caplan, has published articles on genealogy research and on her Surnamer family (which she has traced to 1650) in Avotaynu, the Jewish Star, Lineage and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. She created a Holocaust database and the Rabbi Samuel Langer Database (searchable online at JewishGen) and is working on two New York City synagogue databases. She is the Chair of the Litvak SIG Publications Committee and Editor of the Litvak SIG Online Journal for JewishGen (www.jewisihgen.org/litvak/journal.html). Caplan also founded a professional genealogical research and cemetery visitation service in New York City - Long Island, called Up, Roots!

Caplan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Brooklyn College, a Masters in Mass Communications from Syracuse University and studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She taught high school English in New York City for 20 years and is a published poet and short story writer. She and her husband have two grown sons and three grandchildren, one of whom is named for her eighth great grandmother.
Karl Skorecki

Jewish Genome Research Project       

Karl Skorecki, Sunday, April 30, 2006  

Dr. Skorecki is head of the Jewish Genome Project which is tracing the origins of the Jewish people through DNA. He will discuss the revelations resulting from his research which traces the direct male line through the Y chromosome and the direct female line through mitochondrial DNA. Dr. Skorecki became known worldwide in Jewish genetics when he helped to determine that half of the Jewish people claiming descent from the priestly class, the Cohanim, are descended from one man who lived 3,000-3,800 years ago.

In a recent study, Dr. Skorecki and colleagues reported new information on the origins of the Jewish population in Europe. They determined that just four women who lived about 2,000 years ago in the Middle East are the ancestors of 40 percent of Jews whose families came from in eastern and central Europe. The women are thought to have migrated with men who came, perhaps as traders to Europe. Researchers had previously thought that only the men came from the Middle East and that they had married local women.

For the last 10 years, Dr, Skorecki has been a researcher in molecular biology and human genetics at the Technion and a clinical nephrologist at the Rambam Medical Center. During this time, he also has served as the Director of the Nephrology Department and Director of the Rappaport Research Institution in Haifa. Dr. Skorecki's current research focuses on population health and genetics as well as stem cell biology, among other areas. His work has attracted funding from major agencies leading to over 150 publications, over 80 invited lectureships or visiting professorships throughout the world and many international awards.

A native of Toronto, Canada, Dr, Skorecki received his medical degree from the University of Toronto with the highest overall standing in the Faculty, He did his post graduate clinical and research training in Boston at Brigham and Women's Hospital and at the Massachusetts General Hospital. After nearly 10 years of teaching and research at the University of Toronto, he and his wife, Linda, fulfilled a lifelong ambition and moved to Israel. They have five children and four grandchildren who all live in Israel.
Joel Alpert

The Krelitz Family: A Personal Face in Berlin's New Memorial to the
Murdered Jews of Europe       

Joel Alpert, Sunday, April 23, 2006        

Alpert will discuss his genealogical research that led to his family being one of only 15 Jewish families to be permanently featured in the Family Fates Room of the Memorial. He will describe the experience that he had with 14 cousins, invited by the German government, when they attended the dedication of the Memorial in May 2005. The head Memorial researcher contacted Alpert after discovering his extensive research on the Internet. Alpert will describe his "wild genealogical adventure" where he learned about the members of his family murdered during World War II in his ancestral town of Yurburg, Lithuania.

"No one wanted to speak about family members who perished in the Holocaust," said Alpert. He found out about his relatives who died from a 1960s conversation with his grandfather, a 1903 immigrant from Lithuania. "This behavior was very common in many families. Now that our parents and grandparents are gone, it is up to our generation to find out about and honor our murdered ancestors. Amazingly we can now research this information using the resources available on the Internet."

His illustrated talk includes a historic 1927 film from a cousin's visit to Yurburg, as well as archival photographs and letters that the relatives sent just before the war and are now permanently exhibited in Berlin. Alpert also will discuss his recent visit to Yurburg.

A resident of Woburn, Alpert has been an electrical engineer at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington for 24 years. He began doing genealogical research and computerizing his family tree in the 1990's when the genealogical software became available. He also translated and published a Yizkor (Memorial) Book about Yurburg.

Jay Sage  Judy Izenberg

How To Plan a Family Reunion   

Judy Izenberg & Jay Sage, Sunday, March 19, 2006       

Judy Izenberg and Jay Sage, two members of JGSGB, will share their experience in planning family reunions. They will discuss the pitfalls and pleasures of being in charge of a whole reunion or just one part of it. Their talks will include details from designing name tags to producing a wall-size family tree diagram.

Izenberg says, "If you've never planned a reunion, it can seem like a daunting task. But if you plan ahead, it can be a wonderful experience both for you and your relatives." A retired school teacher who is currently co-president of the JGSGB, she has been doing research since 2000. She helped a friend plan a reunion in 2002.

"The greatest joy after doing genealogy research and finding people is to have them meet each other," says Sage, a past co-president of JGSGB who has been doing research since 1996. "Telling stories, meeting relatives for the first time, sharing pictures, displaying family treasures and solving mysteries are part of an awesome reunion." He organized the genealogical part of a family reunion held in August 2000.

After the talks, there will be opportunities to do research and meet with other genealogists. Informal discussion groups will be available for beginning genealogists and for those who are interested in writing their family history.

Getting More from JewishGen  

Michael Marx, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006      

Michael Marx
By now most genealogists have discovered the premier Jewish genealogy web site - JewishGen.org. In this presentation, Michael Marx will lead you through an exploration of the vast resources of JewishGen. Beginners as well as intermediate users will learn how to get more out of the many information files, extensive databases, discussion groups, tools, and other facets of this phenomenal, user friendly web site.

Marx, who lives in Lexington, has been interested in genealogy since he retired in 2000. He now has over 1500 people in his family tree. He frequently used the resources available on JewishGen to further his research, and he found the site to be the most useful internet source for Jewish genealogy.

Following the presentation, attendees will have a chance to participate in small discussion groups based on their genealogical interests.

Finding "The Lost": Family History, Memory, and Writing the Holocaust
Daniel Mendelsohn, Sunday, December 9     

D MendelsohnAward-winning author Daniel Mendelsohn will describe his search to discover the fates of family members who perished in the Holocaust at the inaugural Jewish Genealogy Lecture, Finding the Lost.

Mendelsohn, a professor of Humanities at Bard College and frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and Book Review, is author of The Lost: a Search for Six of Six Million (HarperCollins, 2006). The poignant history and memoir chronicles his global quest to uncover what happened to the family of his great-uncle Shmiel Jäger, who sent letters to American relatives pleading for help as the Nazis tightened their grip on Jews in his Polish town.  The Lost became a bestseller and received the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Salon Book Award and the American Library Association Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Literature.

The new annual lecture is part of a collaboration between Hebrew College and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (JGSGB) that also will include a course in Jewish Genealogical Research beginning February 25, 2008 (see below).  The lecture and course are made possible by a generous grant from Harvey Krueger of New York. 



Jews "Down Under": Tracing My Australian Forebears
Judith Romney Wegner, Sunday, December 2         
J Wegner
Judith Romney Wegner has researched her family in Australia. Her great-grandparents sailed to New Zealand as British colonists in the mid-19th century where her grandfather was born in 1867. He later returned to England. However, other members of his family moved to Australia. Judith will share the process of her research and her findings. She has used information on tombstones, newspapers, Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal articles, Australian and New Zealand Birth, Marriage, and Death records, military service records, and in one case the entire proceedings of a coroner’s inquest to discover information about her relatives.

Professor Judith Romney Wegner holds law degrees from Cambridge and Harvard Universities and a PhD in Judaic Studies from Brown. She is a life-time member of the English Bar and a retired member of the Rhode Island and American Bar Associations. Dr. Wegner has pursued two careers, first as a lawyer and later as a professor of Judaic Studies and comparative religious studies at several New England colleges. Now retired, she continues to pursue research into various aspects of Judaism and Islam. Her other passion is researching the genealogy of her ancestors, especially the Anglo-Jewish branch, who came to England from Holland before 1800.



Contemporary Sephardic Communities in America - History and Overview
Moshe Tessone, Sunday, Nov. 11         
M Tessone
Rabbi Tessone will clarify the term “Sephardic” and distinguish among contemporary American Sephardic communities of Spanish, Portuguese, and Middle Eastern origin. While focusing on cultural, social, and religious aspects of the various communities, he will also provide historical background. The origins and meanings of family surnames will be covered.

Rabbi Tessone is director of the Sephardic Community Program and a faculty member of the Belz School of Jewish Music at Yeshiva University in New York. Tessone is a cantor at the Ahi Ezer Congregation in Brooklyn, NY, and his album of original Jewish Sephardic pop music, Haskshiva, was released in 2006 to great acclaim.


The Austro-Hungarian Empire; Conventional and Non-Conventional Resources
Henry Wellisch, Sunday, October 14        
Henry Wellisch

Henry Wellisch escaped in 1940 from Vienna, where he was born. Over 20 years ago he began to investigate his family background, has concentrated his research on the Austro-Hungarian Empire and has traced his family back into the18th century. He has published numerous articles, including the section on Austria for the Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy, and has presented lectures to various genealogical groups, including the 1999 international IAJGS
conference in New York. He served as president of the JGS of Canada from
1993 to 1998.

Click here for Henry Wellisch's List of Resources (pdf).

This event was co-sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.



Finding Your Jewish Family Roots
Fay Bussgang and Carol Clingan, Sunday, October 7       

Carol and FaySociety members, Fay Bussgang, former co-president, and Carol Clingan, vice president, will speak on An Introduction to Jewish Genealogy.  The speakers will describe the many records available locally and in Eastern Europe and how to access them, as well as the myriad of materials now available on the Internet.  They will show what gems of information they have discovered from these sources.  





Faith, Family & Freedom in Colonial Jewish Newport, Rhode Island
Keith Stokes, Sunday, September 23          Keith Stokes

Keith Stokes is a direct descendant of Judah Touro, the son of the rabbi of the Newport, Rhode Island synagogue in the mid-18th century. He is the executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, and a native of Newport, Rhode Island. Mr. Stokes is a frequent national, state and local lecturer in community & regional planning, historic preservation and interpretation with an expertise in early African and Jewish American history.
jgsgb
The presentations will include images of early Jewish families and historic structures that still exist where they once lived, worked and worshipped. The presentation will also include images and artifacts from his own family that spans the time from 18th century Newport and Boston through 19th century Richmond, Virginia and back to Newport in the 20th century.


The Search for Major Plagge
Michael Good, Sunday, June 3, 2007       
Michael Good
Michael Good, a family physician from Durham, CT, became interested in Holocaust history in 1999 during a family trip to Vilnius, Lithuania, with his parents to explore his family origins and hear their tales of survival during the Holocaust. During the trip, his mother told him of the mysterious German army officer, Major Plagge, who commanded her slave labor camp and saved over 250 of his Jewish workers from the murderous intent of the Nazis. She did not know what had become of the German officer. He had disappeared with the retreating German army in July of 1944.

Following this trip, Good set out to find this enigmatic officer, trying to understand who Major Plagge was and why a German officer would have acted so benevolently at a time when his countrymen were committing atrocities on a previously unthinkable scale. In his book, the author shares his parents' stories of survival and describes his search for the man who saved his mother's life. During this journey of exploration he built a team of camp survivors and researchers from Canada, France, Israel and Germany to answer the questions that had haunted camp survivors and their descendants for decades. Good gradually reveals the story of a remarkable man of conscience, who transformed from an early supporter of the Nazi party into a covert rescuer of persecuted Jews.

Good, the son of two Jewish immigrants from Vilna, Poland, grew up in West Covina California, outside of Los Angeles. He attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, received his medical degree from the University of Rochester's School of Medicine and then trained in family medicine.


How Do You Do Research at NARA
May 15, 2007
Exhibit on Discovering Your Jewish Roots at Temple Israel
March 5 - April 30
25th Anniversary Celebration    
Sunday, April 29, 2007 — 9:00 - 4:00PM

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2007. We had a full day of great speakers, great food, displays of our accomplishments, and some surprises! A video DVD of Arthur Kurzweil's talk is available to our members.

Holocaust Research: Basics and Recent Developments
Gary Mokotoff, Sunday, March 25, 2007        
Gary Mokotoff
Holocaust research is an important part of Jewish genealogical research. This lecture will take you through many of the sources of information that identify the fate of individuals caught up in the Holocaust. An attempt was made to eradicate the fact that these people ever existed but, in reality, a wealth of information exists about their lives and their fate. A good amount of this information recently has become readily accessible on the Internet.

Gary Mokotoff is an author, lecturer and leader of Jewish genealogy. He is the first person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). He is the author of a number of books including the award-winning Where Once We Walked, a gazetteer which provides information about 23,500 towns in central and eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust, How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust, and Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy. Mokotoff is also known for his application of computers to genealogy. Among his accomplishments is co-authorship of the Daitch-Mokotoff soundex system; the JewishGen Family Finder, a database of ancestral towns and surnames being researched by some 40,000 Jewish genealogists throughout the world and the Consolidated Jewish Surname Index. He is publisher of Avotaynu, the magazine of Jewish genealogy and past president of IAJGS. He is/was on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Association of Professional Genealogists, JewishGen and the Jewish Book Council.


The History of Relations Among Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians
Antony Polonsky, Sunday, February 4, 2007        

Before World War II, Poland was a multicultural nation, with a large population of Jews, mostly concentrated in certain cities and towns. In the eastern part of Poland, large numbers of Ukrainians lived, mostly in the countryside. Economically, politically, and religiously, these two major minority populations had different agendas. Alliances between the various groups shifted during different periods. Due to border changes after World War II, some parts of pre-war Poland are now in Belarus and Ukraine. Most American Jews trace their ancestry to this part of the world.

Professor Polonsky, who teaches Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, is Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is the recipient of many awards and chair of the editorial board of POLIN, a scholarly annual journal of Polish-Jewish studies. He is also the author/co-author of numerous books and articles about Jews in Poland.


Film - My Grandfather's House
Sunday, January 7, 2007     

Filmmaker Eileen Douglas read the book Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto, which tells the story of the Lithuanian Jews whom the Nazis forced into the Kovno (Kaunas) ghetto when they occupied the Baltic states in 1941. Eileen's grandfather was from Kovno, and after visiting the Holocaust Museum she began a search for details of her family's experience in Kovno during the Holocaust. This search is portrayed in this film that she made.


Advanced Googling for Genealogists
Michael Marx, Sunday, January 6, 2008        

Michael Marx Learn how to take your genealogy research to a new level by making your Google searches more successful. Google is a simple and helpful way to search the internet, but are you getting just what you want or need? When you get a promising looking return, do you know how to get the most out of it? Did you know there are many more very useful things Google can do beyond that simple search screen?  These and many more questions will be answered at the program.

Marx of Lexington has been researching his German roots since 2001 and can now trace his ancestors back to the mid- 1600s. Much of his success has come from searching the World Wide Web, and his primary tool has been Google. He is the treasurer of the JGSGB.

Click here to get the Google Cheat Sheet.


Ask The Experts
Sunday, Feb 3, 2008        
Problem solve with our “experts.” Learn how to get started or get over that “brick wall” in your family research. Visit various roundtables, some with computers connected to the Internet for online research.

Included are tables dedicated to the following topics:
  • Finding your ancestors using immigration, naturalization, and vital records;
  • Getting started with Jewish genealogy (e.g., using the JewishGen and Steve Morse websites);
  • Holocaust research (e.g., using the Internet and Transport Books);
  • Country-specific research (e.g., Polish, German, Lithuanian);
  • Translation of foreign-language documents (e.g., Yiddish, Polish, German, Russian);
Genealogical reference materials will be available for perusal. So bring in your research questions and your foreign documents for translation. If you want help at the meeting in obtaining information about a relative, please try to have at least their name and their date and place of birth.


Foundations of Jewish Genealogical Research
Heidi Urich & Tom Weiss   Feb 25 - April 14

This course is jointly sponsored by JGSGB and Hebrew College and will take place at Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre.

This course will last eight sessions and will be held at Hebrew College starting on February 25th, 2008. The faculty will be course coordinators, Heidi Urich and Tom Weiss, as well as other experienced researchers from the JGSGB. The course is geared toward both beginners and more advanced students. Students will gain a strong foundation in Jewish genealogy to enable them to research family origins. The course will include introductions to relevant world history, geography, methodology and knowledge of resources. Students must have basic computer skills.


Film: Who Do You Think You Are? Stephen Fry
Sunday, March 16, 2008        

This event will take place from 1:30-4:30 at Needham Library, 1139 Highland Avenue, Needham 02494

This film realistically portrays the joys and sorrows of a genealogical search from an initial spark of interest through the process of interviewing family, going to archives, traveling to ancestral lands, visiting important people and places of the past, hiring a researcher, and using sites on the Internet.

Part of a series from the British Broadcasting Corporation that followed popular figures as they traced their roots, this film follows the efforts of Stephen Fry, who has starred in many productions, including Jeeves and Wooster. He unlocks his roots and uncovers some engaging secrets.

A panel discussion with experienced researchers explaining how they go about their research will follow the film.

“This film is one to which everyone can relate,” says Judy Izenberg who helped to select the film for Sunday’s program. “It demonstrates everything a researcher goes through from the technical avenues you explore to the many emotions you feel when discovering the details of your ancestry.”

The Lives of Our Galician Ancestors
Suzan Wynne   Sunday, April 6, 2008        

This event will take place from 1:30-4:30 in Reisman Hall at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.

The presentation will begin with a geographical orientation to Galicia, which no longer exists as a political entity. Western Galicia is now in Poland and Eastern Galicia is now in Ukraine.  Wynne will give an overview of the government-mandated self governing system, the Juedische Kultus Gemeinden (Jewish Religious Communities), a uniquely Austrian construct which governed virtually all of Jewish life.  She also will discuss the impact of the rigid class structure of Polish society on the Jews of Galicia, daily life and Jewish observance, the enormous role of the Hasidic movement, conditions before and after the 1869 Emancipation of the Jews, education, marriage and the tricky issue of surnames for genealogical research.  

Wynne has been involved with Jewish genealogy since 1977 as a teacher, lecturer, author and former professional. A founding member of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, she was the founder of Gesher Galicia in 1993. She has written two books about Jewish genealogical research for Galitzianers, and has contributed to or written numerous articles for Avotaynu and books about genealogy. A clinical social worker, she works as a geriatric and mental health care manager and consultant in the Washington, DC area. 

Using Maps for Genealogical Research
Ronald Grim   Monday, May 5, 2008        

This event will take place on MONDAY from 6:30-9:00 in the Mezzanine Conference room at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston..

Ronald Grim, the curator of maps at the Boston Public Library, will explain how to use maps in genealogical research. He will use as examples historical maps of Europe, the Mediterranean basin, and—the specialty of the Leventhal collection—greater Boston.

Ronald E. Grim is the Curator of Maps for the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. Previously he was Specialist in Cartographic History at the Library of Congress and Assistant Chief for Reference in the cartographic section of the National Archives. He has curated numerous map exhibitions and lectured widely on the use of maps in genealogical research.

American Jewish History for Genealogists
Norm H. Finkelstein   Sunday, June 8, 2008        

This event will take place from 1:30-4:30 at Vilna Shul, 18 Phillips Street, Boston.

Jews have been part of the American fabric for over 350 years.  Their stories directly affected not only the lives of Jewish people in the United States today but also the course of American history.  For genealogists, learning about where their families came from and how they lived provides a deeper understanding of their ancestors’ experiences on American soil.

Finkelstein, who lives in Framingham, is a teacher, writer, and editor. A former school librarian in the Brookline public schools, he has been teaching children's literature and history courses at Hebrew College for over 26 years. He is the author of 16 books for young readers, including Forged in Freedom: Shaping the Jewish American Experience and Heeding the Call: Jewish Voices in America’s Civil Rights Struggle, both National Jewish Book Award winners. His biography of Edward R. Murrow, With Heroic Truth, won the Golden Kite Honor Award for Nonfiction. He holds degrees from Boston University and Hebrew College.

The program is free and open to the public. Validated parking ($10.00) is available in the underground part of the Charles River Plaza garage on Cambridge Street (near Au Bon Pain). For directions, please visit: http://www.vilnashul.com/contact/. The Shul is also close to the Charles/MGH T station on the Red Line

Finding Relatives in Israel
Batya Unterschatz   Thursday, June 19, 2008        

Finding Relatives in Israel
An Informal Discussion with Batya Unterschatz
This event will take place at 7 pm at Cary Public Library, Lexington Center

Is it possible that you have yet-unknown family in Israel? Has your family lost contact with relatives in Israel? Have you discovered possible relatives through Yad Vashem's Pages of Testimony but don't know how to contact them?

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the Jewish Agency in Israel set up the “Search Bureau for Missing Relatives” to assist survivors and to help reunite families that had been separated. Over the decades, the Bureau developed into a major resource for genealogists seeking to find family members living in Israel.

Batya Unterschatz was the director of the Search Bureau for its last 16 years, helping thousands of people find lost family and friends. She will give a short history of the Search Bureau and then answer questions from the audience about looking for lost relatives. This will not be a lecture, but rather an informal question-and-answer session.

Ms. Unterschatz was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, and immigrated to Israel in 1971. She continues assisting people today as a professional researcher.

The Cary Public Library, 735 Massachusetts Avenue, is located in Lexington Center where Bedford Street (Route 4-225) and Mass. Avenue meet at the Lexington Battle Green.

The International Tracing Service: A Major New Resource for Holocaust Research
Sallyann Sack   Sunday, September 7, 2008        

This event will take place from 1:30-4:30 at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.

Sallyann SackFor 60 years the vast store of Holocaust documents housed in the International Tracing Service (ITS) were not available to the public. That changed in November 2007.  The first group to take advantage of the new open-door policy were 40 Jewish genealogists who visited the ITS at Bad Arolsen, Germany, in May 2008 and were given full access to vast numbers of records relating to Holocaust victims and survivors.  All of these records will ultimately be shared with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and  the National
Institute of Remembrance (IPN) in Warsaw. Learn more about the kinds of records that exist and how they may be accessed from members of the research group that visited Bad Arolsen.

Sallyann Sack, our guest speaker, has made three trips to the ITS and organized the group that visited in May. She is the editor of Avotaynu (the leading journal for Jewish Genealogy), a past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, author or editor of seven major reference books on Jewish genealogy, and a recognized pioneer and leader in the world of Jewish genealogy. She will be joined by JGSGB members Tom Weiss and Heidi Urich, who researched the fates of family members during their week at the ITS archive.

Research Workshop at the National Archives
September 24, 2008     

This event will take place from 6:00 - 9:00 pm at NARA, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham..

Join fellow JGSGB members at our annual research night at the National Archives and Records Administration on Trapelo Road in Waltham. There will be an orientation session for those who have not recently used the NARA facilities and resources. Learn how to look up census records, Boston passenger arrival records, Canadian border crossings, and New England WWI draft registrations and naturalizations. Help will be available for both beginners and experienced researchers.

Jews in the News: Research using Newspapers
Pamela Weisberger   Sunday, October 26, 2008        

This event will take place from 1:30-4:30 at Gann Academy, 333 Forest Street, Waltham.

P WeisbergerSome of the most exciting resources for genealogists are the online databases and microfilms of old newspapers and journals. From the scanned and digitized New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and Times of London—to regional newspapers and Jewish community journals, following this oft-neglected “paper trail” will enhance your genealogical knowledge. From obituaries, birth, engagement and marriage announcements, to curiosities such as “Yesterday’s Fires,” “news of the Courts,” and articles covering Eastern European towns and businesses, you will be astonished by the unexpected appearances immigrant ancestors make in the pages of these tabloids and broadsheets.  Learn techniques for locating people and events meaningful to you, with examples of unexpected insights gained into your relatives’ lives by exploring this under-utilized research tool.

Pamela Weisberger is the program chair for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles, Research Coordinator for Gesher Galicia, and is active in the Hungarian and Sub-Carpathian JewishGen SIGs.  Documenting her family’s history for over twenty years, she has traveled throughout Eastern Europe visiting ancestral towns and villages and conducting research in Polish, Ukrainian and Hungarian archives. A special area of interest has been late 19th to early 20th century city directories, newspapers and court records. She has also produced the documentaries “I Remember Jewish Drohobycz” and “Genealogy Anyone? Twenty-Five Years in the Life of the JGSLA,” and coordinated the IAJGS Conference’s 2006-2008 film festivals. She holds a B.A. in English from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.S. in Broadcasting from Boston University.
 

Using Ancestry.com and Other Resources for New York Research
Carol Clingan and Paul Auerbach   Sunday, November 16, 2008        

This event will take place from 1:30-4:30 at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.


Carol ClinganPaul AuerbachTwo experienced researchers will partner for a presentation of sources available for American research and a case study of the success in using them.
Carol Clingan will give an overview of the databases offered by Ancestry.com. She will also briefly introduce some other research sources including the Steve Morse One-Step pages.
Paul Auerbach will present a case study of how he used these sources and a chance remark by a family member to identify a previously unknown great-grandfather and, ultimately contacted an entire missing branch of his family.

Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia
Omer Bartov   Sunday, November 23, 2008        

This event is jointly sponsored by JGSGB and Hebrew College and takes place at Hebrew College.


Omer Bartov Once home to a vibrant Jewish community, former Eastern Galicia is now part of Ukraine, where all traces of a Jewish past are being eradicated in the name of a fiercely aggressive Ukrainian nationalism. This region was once part of Poland and also part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where multi-ethnic communities co-existed before WWII.

Omer Bartov, an international authority on genocide, traces the destruction of the region’s Jewish communities under Nazi and Soviet rule, and explores the contemporary politics of memory in Ukraine.  He is the Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University.  His lecture draws on his most recent book, Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine (Princeton, 2007).

This is the 2nd Annual Genealogy Lecture jointly sponsored by JGSGB and Hebrew College.  It will take place at Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Center on Sunday, November 23, 2008, at 3 pm in Berenson Hall.
Admission is free and advance reservation is required due to limited capacity. 


Success Stories: Researching & Reconnecting Families across Continents
Steve Denker and Alex Woodle  Sunday, December 7, 2008        

This event will take place from 1:30-4:30 at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.


Two dramatic stories of digging into lost histories and reuniting long separated families will be featured.

Experienced society researchers Stephen Denker of Brookline and Alexander Woodle of Groton will present their stories of successful family research:

  • Documenting Business History in Cuba, and
  • Reuniting Family Divided by 250 Years.

In the first presentation, Stephen Denker reports on seven years of research, worldwide travel and internet chats. By tracing his American family’s manufacturing business and life in Cuba early in the twentieth century, Denker unravels their genealogical history and reconnects cousins who were apart for over seventy years. In the summer of 2007, Denker spent two weeks in Havana completing his research and visiting the family’s home and factory.

In the second presentation, Alexander Woodle reports on his research that also resulted in re-tying the genealogical thread, this time after 250 years.  Woodle’s quest started with discovering a familiar surname in Austria and Romania in a search of international telephone directories. JewishGen and Familysearch database resources provided evidence of relationship. Then Woodle contacted a family in Romania, and utilizing the latest tool of genea-technology, dispatched a DNA kit. Last May, Woodle traveled to Central Europe to visit his distant cousins.

Both presentations exhibit another important facet of genealogical research: the importance of the historical context.  Denker describes the circumstances of Jewish immigration to Cuba.  Woodle’s review of Jewish history in Central Europe yields clues to the dispersal of his family from 18th century Bohemia to Banat (now partially in Romania) in the southern reaches of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


Lithuanian Records Project
Joel Ratner, Sunday, January 4        

One of the largest genealogical databases compiled in recent years is the All-Lithuania Database, containing more than half a million records of Litvak ancestors. This talk will describe the continuing efforts to procure, translate, and make available vital records (birth, death, marriage, and divorce), census records, tax and voters lists, candle and box tax lists, etc.

Joel Ratner has been responsible for the LitvakSIG Vital Records Translation Project since 2004. This project's goal is to translate records that the Mormon Church microfilmed as part of its worldwide ancestry endeavors. Joel Ratner was also the Vilna District coordinator for the LitvakSIG Research Group from 1998 to 2006. LitvakSIG can be accessed at www.litvaksig.org.



Problem Solving with Experts in Jewish Genealogy
Sunday, February 1   

Problem solve with our “experts.” Learn how to get started or get over that “brick wall” in your family research. Visit various roundtables, some with computers connected to the Internet for online research.

Included are tables dedicated to the following topics:
  • Immigration, Naturalization and Vital Records
  • Getting started with Jewish genealogy (e.g., using the JewishGen and Steve Morse websites)
  • Holocaust research (e.g., using the Internet and Transport Books)
  • Austria-Czech Roundtable
  • Galicia Roundtable
  • German Roundtable
  • Lithuania Vital Records
  • Moldova/Bessarabia Roundtable
  • Polish Roundtable
  • Ukraine Roundtable
  • Translation of foreign-language documents (e.g., Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish, German, Russian)

Genealogical reference materials will be available for perusal. So bring in your research questions and your foreign documents for translation.

If you want help at the meeting in obtaining information about a relative, please try to have at least their name and their date and place of birth.



Film - Who Do You Think You Are, Natasha Kaplinsky
Sunday, March 1   

Natasha Kaplinsky Traces Her Roots

This film is from the BBC family history documentary series that follows celebrities as they trace their roots. The subject of this particular episode is Natasha Kaplinsky, a BBC newscaster, whose paternal line descends from Poland by way of South Africa.

The film portrays the ups and downs of a genealogical search from an initial curiosity about why her family never spoke of this Eastern European background, through the process of interviewing family, going to archives, and visiting people and places in Poland. As is not atypical in family history research, surprises pop up, and there is an appreciation of the impact world events have on individuals, and how they reverberate through the generations.  In Kaplinsky’s case, one example is that she learns that her great-uncle survived the Holocaust as a member of the Bielsky Brothers resistance in the forests of Poland (the subject of the newly-released movie, Defiance !).

After the film showing, experienced researchers will field questions about research methods.



Genealogical Research in Israel
Michael Goldstein, Sunday, April 19         

Jewish genealogists around the globe seek information about their ancestors, yet few realize that one of the greatest sources for research lies in Israel. It is not generally known that Israeli archives and internet sites have amassed collections of historical and contemporary information about Jews from around the world, including Poland, Russia, Spain and China. Furthermore, recent advances have been made in facilitating access to this data and finding Israeli family.

This presentation will offer general guidelines about contacting and accessing Israeli archives.  Interesting case studies will be shared on how family mysteries were solved by accessing some lesser-known Israeli archives. Archives to be discussed include shtetl tax rolls, migration records from Galicia to New York, ketubot from the world over, Polish vital records, Yad Vashem resources, and even data on assets owned by ancestors who never left Russia.

Michael Goldstein, the featured speaker, is a Jerusalem-based genealogist who carries out worldwide Jewish research and guides North Americans in locating and connecting with their Israeli family. He is the current president of the Israel Genealogical Society, as well as a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Michael's Handout



Everyday Jewish Life in the Russian Empire
ChaeRan Freeze, Sunday, May 3         

C FreezeChaeRan Freeze's talk will examine everyday Jewish life in tsarist Russia as a site of interaction with modernity, where Jews confronted the unfamiliar and negotiated their environment in strategic and creative ways. She will present several fascinating archival documents from the former Soviet Union and rabbinical responsa that reveal the daily struggles of ordinary Jews as they confronted changes in the areas of family life, religion, sexuality, and health. The discussion will also reveal how to find new sources for genealogy that go beyond vital records and census materials, and highlight the rich diversity of the Jewish experience in the Russian Empire.

ChaeRan Freeze is an Associate Professor in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department and Women's and Gender Studies program at Brandeis University. She has focused her research on the history and culture of the Jews in Russia, Jewish family history, and women's and gender studies. She is the author of Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia, which received the Salo Baron Award for the Best First Book in Jewish Studies. She also edited Polin: Jewish Women in Eastern Europe with Paula Hyman and Antony Polonsky. She is currently finishing her book, Everyday Jewish Life in Imperial Russia, 1825-1914: Select Documents (coauthored with Jay Harris, 2010) and working on her second monograph, Sex and the Shtetl: Gender, Family, and Jewish Sexuality in Tsarist Russia.



Advanced Googling for Genealogists: The Many Features of Google Beyond Search
Michael Marx, Sunday, June 14         

M Marx Last year Mr. Marx presented advanced search techniques that make Google searches more relevant and more efficient. His current talk continues the “advanced Googling” theme and introduces other features and tools Google offers to aid your genealogy research. For example, he will demonstrate how to find photographs and images of your ancestral town, get maps for towns and regions of interest, connect with other researchers with similar interests, find unique resource materials which can be downloaded, and some of the new tools and finding aids coming out of Google Labs that allow you to customize Google to your specific interests.

Marx has been researching his German roots since 2001 and can now trace his ancestors back to the mid- 1600. Much of his success has come from searching the World Wide Web, and his primary tool has been Google. He is the treasurer of the JGSGB.

 



The Ellis Island Experience
Vincent Cannato, Sunday, September 13         

Vincent Cannato

Were immigrants’ names changed at Ellis Island? Professor Vincent J. Cannato will discuss whether this is fact or fiction at the kick-off meeting for this season’s programs. Professor Cannato’s presentation on the Ellis Island immigration experience will pay special attention to the experiences of Jewish immigrants.

Professor Cannato will discuss why such an inspection station was created in 1892 on a small island in New York Harbor and how America’s immigration law evolved during this period. He will explain the inspection process and the reasons that some immigrants were excluded. Copies of Professor Cannato’s new book, “American Passage: The History of Ellis Island,” will be available for sale and signing following his talk.

Vincent Cannato teaches history at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and is the author of The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post

 



DNA for Genealogy
Jay Sage, Sunday, Oct 18        

Jay Sage

Jay Sage will discuss how genetic testing can be used for genealogical research. The cost of DNA testing has fallen at such a remarkable pace that companies are now offering tests at prices that individuals can afford. The talk will begin with just enough of an overview of the biochemical basis of human genetics to allow understanding of how DNA testing is used for genealogy and what can and cannot be learned from it. He will then describe how the testing is done, how much it costs, and how to interpret the reported results.

Besides being a passionate genealogist who has used DNA testing in his own research, Jay had a fleeting personal connection with early DNA research, having spent a summer in graduate school working on a biochemistry project in the laboratory of Walter Gilbert -- his physics professor turned biochemist -- who later received the Nobel Prize for advances in DNA sequencing.

 



Culture Wars: Litvaks vs. Galizianers in Eastern Europe
Zvi Gitelman, Thursday, November 12         

Zvi GitelmanEastern Europe, home to 80% of American Jews, was an area of diverse religious practices, political ideologies, Yiddish pronunciation, foods, customs, and dress. Some of this diversity carried over to America, but it has faded in the post-immigrant generations. This talk will explore the differences among Eastern European Jews and the stereotypes to which they gave rise, illustrating the richness and vitality of a civilization that continues to inform Jewish life in Europe, the Americas and Israel.

Professor Zvi Gitelman is the Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan where he has won major teaching awards. Professor Gitelman also served as Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University. He is the author of Ethnicity or Religion? The Evolution of Jewish Identities, and A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union since 1881. He has written or edited 14 books and written over 100 articles.

 



A Century of Ambivalence: Jews, Soviets and Russians
Zvi Gitelman, Sunday, November 15         

Zvi Gitelman

During the course of a century or more, Russian Jewry experienced pogroms, two World Wars, two revolutions, purges, Communism, the Holocaust and Stalin's anti-Semitism, but also experienced unprecedented social, political and vocational mobility. Who were these Russian Jews? Prior to the 19th century, they were Polish, Lithuanian and Eastern European Jews until the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was carved up by its more powerful neighbors. In 1900, 5.2 million Jews lived in the Soviet Empire; today, they number about 500,000.

Professor Zvi Gitelman is the Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan where he has won major teaching awards. Professor Gitelman also served as Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University. He is the author of Ethnicity or Religion? The Evolution of Jewish Identities, and A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union since 1881. He has written or edited 14 books and written over 100 articles.

 



Finding Your Ancestors in Polish Records
Fay Bussgang, Sunday, Dec 6         

Fay Bussgang

Fay Bussgang will describe what records exist in Poland for genealogical research, what they look like, and how you can access them.

More American Jews have roots in Poland than in any other country. The Poles kept very good track of their citizens through metrical records (birth, marriage, and death records), population registers, and other documents. While many of these records were destroyed during the war, a surprising number has survived and can be found in Polish Archives, even for the localities no longer in Poland. Many of these records are now accessible through the Internet.

Ms. Bussgang has authored over 20 articles published in genealogical journals, as well as the “Russian Poland” section of the Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. She and her Polish-born husband, Julian, have done extensive genealogical research during twelve trips to Poland. They have also translated two volumes of war-time accounts of child survivors still living in Poland. Ms. Bussgang served as co-president of the JGS of Greater Boston 1998–2000.

 



Jacob’s Cane
Elisa New, Sunday, Dec 13    

The JGSGB co-sponsored a lecture with Hebrew College by Elisa New on her recently published memoir -  Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore, A Memoir in Five Generations (Basic Books 2009).

Elisa New, a Professor of English at Harvard University, traces the paths of her ancestors and captures the rich texture of life on several continents as her family searches to establish itself in the tobacco trade. She discovers an immigrant world profoundly affected by modern German culture, from the Enlightenment through the Holocaust.

 


Forensic Genealogy: Uncovering Hoaxes, Confirming Truths
Sharon Sergeant, January 17        

This program discusses how the genealogical research methods and skills—that we are used to thinking of for creating family trees and family histories—are also used in "detective" situations: uncovering frauds and hoaxes, or establishing historical truths. The speaker uses examples from two cases she worked on that were widely reported in the press: "Misha the Wolf Girl" and "Angel at the Fence.”

Sharon Sergeant received international acclaim for exposing the Misha Defonseca “Jewish hidden child aided by wolves” and Herman Rosenblat "apple over the fence" Holocaust frauds. As an adjunct professor at Boston University Sharon Sergeant created the Problem Solving Techniques and Technology module in the genealogical professional development program. She combines technology and the Genealogy Proof Standard methods to research both modern and antiquarian records. Sharon has published in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and the PI magazine. Sharon has served as Program Director for local and regional genealogical societies.



Who Do You think You Are; Zoë Wanamaker
Film at Needham Library, February 7   

This film is from the BBC family history documentary series that follows celebrities as they trace their roots.

Here's what they have to say:
Zoë Wanamaker was born in New York, but when she was three her father, American actor Sam Wanamaker, fled to the UK to escape the anti-communist McCarthy witch-hunts. Hoping to better understand her father's decision, Zoë heads to Washington DC where she visits the FBI headquarters. Here, under the Freedom of Information Act, Zoë gains access to her father's FBI file, an extraordinary document that reveals the level of scrutiny Sam was under and the very real risk of imprisonment he faced.

Wanting to explore the roots of her father's left-wing politics, Zoë next looks into the life of her father's father Maurice Wanamaker, an émigré Russian Jew. Zoë is moved to discover that, soon after his arrival in Chicago, Maurice suffered a series of personal tragedies and hardships that almost destroyed his American dream.

Finally, Zoë travels to Nikolaev in Ukraine where she discovers the original form of her unusual surname and the reason why her family left for America.




Problem Solving with Experts: A Research Session
February 21   

Problem solve with our “experts.” Learn how to get started or get over that “brick wall” in your family research. Visit various roundtables, some with computers connected to the Internet for online research.

Included are tables dedicated to the following topics:

  • Immigration, Naturalization and Vital Records
  • Getting started with Jewish genealogy (using the JewishGen and Steve Morse websites)
  • Holocaust research (using the Internet)
  • Austria-Czech Roundtable
  • Galicia Roundtable
  • Lithuania Roundtable
  • Polish Roundtable
  • Ukraine Roundtable
  • Translation of foreign-language documents (e.g., Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish, German, Russian)
Genealogical reference materials will be available for perusal. So bring in your research questions and your foreign documents for translation. If you want help at the meeting in obtaining information about a relative, please try to have at least their name and their date and place of birth.


Mapping Madness: Historical Maps (Ron Arons) and Google Earth (Jay Sage)
March 14       

Ron Arons

Mr. Arons’s presentation will discuss websites that provide a broad range of historical maps, basic and advanced features of Google, and Microsoft's internet-based mapping facilities (maps.google.com and www.bing.com/maps), and  lesser known mapping facilities provided by whitepages.com, Microsoft's MapCruncher, and IBM's Many Eyes.

Mr. Sage’s presentation will discuss Google Earth, web-based software and data that provides an amazing high-resolution, three-dimensional model of the Earth based on satellite and aerial photographs, and how it can be used to map one's family history.


Jay Sage

Ron Arons has spoken at several international conferences on a variety of genealogy topics. He appeared in the PBS TV series The Jewish Americans to discuss Jewish criminals of New York's Lower East Side and published The Jews of Sing Sing  in 2008.

Jay Sage is a former president of the Society, current co-editor of the Society's journal, Mass-Pocha, and has given lectures at international and local conferences.


Sephardic Jewry after the Expulsion from Spain (Jonathan Decter) and Tracing Family to 13th Century Spain (Daniel Laby)…
April 25        

Jonathan Dector

Sephardic Jewry after the Expulsion from Spain: Professor Jonathan Decter will talk about the Sephardi migration after 1492 - to Portugal, the Ottoman Empire, Europe, and the Americas, including Eastern and Central Europe. He will discuss intellectual and economic connections across the Sephardi Diaspora, and the nature of Sephardi identity.

Jonathan Decter is Associate Professor and the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Sephardic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. His first book, Iberian Jewish Literature: Between al-Andalus and Christain Europe, won the Salo W. Baron prize for best first book in Judaic Studies, 2007. His research interests include Medieval Hebrew literature, Judeo-Arabic and Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewry.


Daniel Laby Tracing family to 13th century Spain: Dr. Daniel Laby will describe his quest to trace his Laby- De La Caballeria family. Using both modern (DNA) and classical methods (microfilms), he was able to follow the trail from western Massachusetts and New York’s Lower East Side all the way back to the Ottoman Empire and pre-inquisition Spain.

Daniel Laby is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and is a specialist in Sports Vision working with the Boston Red Sox as well as several other professional and Olympic teams. Predating his medical practice, and of almost equal passion, is his search for his family. Using both modern (DNA analysis) as well as more classical methods (pouring over reels of microfilm), Dr. Laby has traced one branch of his family to pre-inquisition Spain in the 13th century.



Finding your Ancestors in Lithuanian Records
Deena Berton, May 23        

Deena Berton

Deena Berton will describe what records exist in Lithuania for genealogical research, what they look like, and how you can access them. Ms. Berton will also explain what LitvakSIG does, how it is organized, and give a tour of the new website of LitvakSIG. LitvakSIG is the primary internet resource for Lithuanian-Jewish research, whose mission is to preserve Litvak heritage by discovering, collecting, documenting, and disseminating information about the once vibrant Jewish community of Lithuania before its destruction in the Holocaust. Besides Independent Lithuania (1919-1940), the geographic coverage is the larger Lithuania from the Russian Empire Period (1795-1919, including a number of shtetls now in Belarus and Poland.

Ms. Berton is on the Board of Directors of LitvakSig, and has extensively traveled to Lithuania and been active in acquiring data from local archives.



Jacob’s Cane
Elisa New, June 13        

Elisa New

Jacob's Cane: A Jewish Family's Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore; A Memoir in Five Generations.

Drawn to an image of her great-grandfather’s ornately carved cane, scholar Elisa New embarked on a journey to discover the origins of her precious family heirloom. Following the paths of her ancestors, she traveled from Baltimore to the Baltic to London in order to find and understand an immigrant world profoundly affected by modern German culture, from the Enlightenment through the Holocaust.

Elisa New is a professor of English at Harvard. Her quest to uncover her family history is described in her book "Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family's Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore."



New York Research: Not Everything is Online
Steve Siegel October 3        

Steve Siegel

Although New York genealogical resources are extensive and many can be searched online, locating New York documents in a maze of repositories and websites can be confusing even to a knowledgeable family historian. The 1898 expansion of New York City from Manhattan and The Bronx into a municipality comprising five boroughs and four – later five – counties led to record-keeping challenges that still perplex today's researchers. Two federal court districts have jurisdiction over the city and its suburban counties, and New York's role as the country's major port of entry produced documents that often point to an immigrant's place of origin. Steven Siegel, an experienced genealogist and archivist, and a founder and past president of the New York JGS, will offer practical advice for navigating New York's archival treasures and finding the connections between documents that illustrate a family's history.

Steven Siegel was library director and archivist at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA in Manhattan for 31 years until his recent retirement. He initiated and organized the annual Family History Fair (1990-2005) during New York Archives Week. He is a past president of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York and the 2004 recipient of the Round Table's Award for Archival Achievement. He is president of the Jewish Historical Society of New York, serves on the Jewish Book Council Board of Directors, and is a member of the Cornell Hillel Board of Trustees and the Cornell University Council. Steve was a founder of the New York JGS and its president from 1985 to 1989, and he continues to serve on the JGS board. He has been doing genealogical research for more than 40 years, with a focus on Jewish genealogy, Jewish archival sources, and New York City local history. Steve was co-founder and co-editor of Toledot: The Journal of Jewish Genealogy (1977-1982) and compiled the Archival Resources volume of Jewish Immigrants of the Nazi Period in the USA (1978).



The Nature and Consequences of Jewish Migration
Zvi Gitelman, Oct 17        

Zvi Gitelman

Vayis’u Vayahanu [and they traveled and they encamped]: The Nature and Consequences of Jewish Migration

Ever since God spoke his first words to Abraham, lech lecho [go forth], Jews have been a migratory people. Migration and dispersal have influenced Jews’ culture, political behavior and economy. In many times and places, Jews have acculturated and assimilated, overwhelmed by more powerful and attractive cultures. But because of the power of other cultures, other Jews have chosen to isolate themselves from them as far as possible. In between these diametrically opposed reactions to cultural encounters is cultural borrowing, sometimes an exchange and sometimes a one-way process. Words, ideas, food, clothing, art, music and humor are among the items exchanged or adopted. The consequences of migration and dispersal are profound, and with the migration of over a million Jews from the former Soviet Union since 1989, the migratory experience is being relived. This talk explores the determinants and consequences of Jewish migration. The consequences of migration for the "sending" countries and the "receiving countries are examined for the migrants themselves and for the Jewish people as a whole.

Zvi Gitelman is Professor of Political Science, Preston Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies and was Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Michigan. He has won several teaching awards at Michigan. Gitelman was educated at Columbia University. He is the author or editor of fourteen books and over 100 articles. A second edition of his A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union since 1881 was published in Russian and Japanese. His most recent book is Ethnicity or Religion? The Evolution of Jewish Identities.



Belarus: Jewish History and Cemetery Restoration
Michael Lozman& Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, Nov. 7        

Two experts on Belarus join forces to give us an inside look at the history of Jews in Belarus and the work being done on Jewish cemeteries.

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, a Research Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, will talk about the history of Belarus’ Jewish community, noting that there was always a large Jewish population in that area of the world but that Belarus did not come into existence as a separate country until 1991.

Dr. Michael Lozman will then talk about his work in protecting, preserving and restoring Jewish cemeteries that have been destroyed by the invading Nazis and further deteriorated by neglect due to the absence of returning Jews as a result of the Holocaust.  He and his team have to date restored ten Jewish cemeteries in Belarus, and have more planned for the future years as well.



Reconnecting Lost Families: Finding Relatives from the Former Soviet Union and the Russian Empire
Aaron Ginsburg and a panel, Dec. 12        

Many Jewish-Americans have roots in the Russian Empire, from past waves of emigration. And Boston has a large Russian-American population who arrived in the more recent waves of emigration from the Former Soviet Union. The disconnect in communication between the U.S. and Former Soviet Union for a large part of the twentieth century due to the Cold War played an important role in families losing track of one another.

In this program, US descendants of immigrants from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union report on finding relatives in the FSU, and a recent Soviet emigre reports on finding descendants of his family who came to the US in the earlier waves of immigration.

Aaron Ginsburg is a first-generation American and founder and president of The Friends of Jewish Dokshitsy. He spearheaded an international effort to help the local government of Dokshitsy, Belarus restore and re-dedicate the town’s Jewish cemetery and recently organized a Dokshitsy shtetl reunion in Rhode Island. He has been involved with cemetery restoration, shtetl and family history since 1995.

Yefim Kogan was born in Kishinev, Moldova and emigrated from Moscow in 1989. Since then, his extensive genealogical research has enabled him to trace part of his family to the mid-eighteenth century and to find relatives in the US who left Russia in 1906. Currently a graduate student at Hebrew College with a focus in Jewish Cultural History in Eastern Europe, he has presented papers on Jewish history in Bessarabia and genealogy at IAJGS conferences and is a volunteer JewishGen Coordinator.

Carol Clingan is a third-generation American whose grandparents came from Belarus and Ukraine. During her nearly twenty years of research, she has traced family back to the early nineteenth century and has discovered family still living in the FSU. She is vice-president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and co-chair of the JGSGB Program Committee.

Annual Jewish Genealogy Lecture: No Way In, No Way Out: The Jews of Interwar Poland
Prof. Adam Teller, January 9        

Adam Teller

Polish Jews between the two World Wars were caught in political and economic cross-winds as they emerged from the confines of the Russian and Austrian Empires into a new world of competing national identities and powerful ideologies.

This program presents the history of the Jews in interwar Poland along two dimensions.  The first is political, showing how the very nature of the new Polish nation-state presented enormous challenges for Jews who were struggling to support themselves and find their place in the new state.  Jews responded with various strategies:  the Zionists wanted acceptance as a national minority, Agudas Yisroel sought recognition as a religious minority, and the Bund demanded rights for the Jews as part of the urban proletariat.  Each developed the institutions of modern political parties in the struggle for the Jewish street.

The second dimension is cultural.  The extraordinary trilingual culture of Polish Jewry --Yiddish-Polish-Hebrew -- enjoyed an almost unprecedented period of blossoming in these twenty years.  Its remarkable achievements encompassed literature, the press, the theater, painting, and the cinema, while surrounded by mounting hostility.  This is the story of Polish Jewry's tragic second Golden Age.

Our speaker, Adam Teller, is an Associate Professor of History and Judaic Studies at Brown University.  Born in London, Teller completed his undergraduate study at Oxford University and received a Ph.D. in modern Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1997.  He was on the faculty of the University of Haifa before moving to Brown University this year.


Hands-On Problem Solving in Jewish Genealogy: Special Help Session for Research and Translation
February 13   

Problem solve with others who can help show you the way. Learn how to get started or get over that “brick wall” in your family research. A limited number of computer stations will be available, so bring your own laptops for online research.

Roundtables will be dedicated to the following topics:

  • Country and Region-specific research (e.g. Polish,  Lithuanian, Galician, Ukrainian, Belarussian, German)
  • Finding your ancestors using immigration, naturalization, and vital records
  • Getting started with Jewish genealogy (e.g. using the JewishGen and Steve Morse websites)
  • Holocaust research (e.g. using the Internet and Transport Books)
  • Translation of foreign-language documents (e.g. Yiddish, Russian, German, Polish, Hebrew) 

Genealogical reference materials will be available for perusal. So bring in your research questions and your foreign documents for translation.


Splitting and Reconnecting - Finding our Jewish Relatives in South America
Marc Cutler, March 13             

Marc Cutler

This is more than the "human interest story" of  "Finding Your Relatives in South America." It  presents also a historical  and cultural overview -- the historical circumstances that caused families to  immigrate to North vs South America, the experiences and  circumstances whereby families lost touch or tried to stay in touch, the genealogical research methods used to reestablish contact, are the origins in Europe same or different, numbers of immigrants and descendents, how many of us may have relatives in S.A. 

Video of Marc Cutler's Opening Remarks

Video Reactions to his talk:      First video      Second video


A Potpouri of Genealogy Search Tools
Stephen Morse, April 24        

Steve MorseThe One-Step website started out as an aid for finding passengers in the Ellis Island database.  Shortly afterwards it was expanded to help with searching in the 1930 census.  Over the years it has continued to evolve and today includes about 200 web-based tools divided into 16 separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations to last-minute bidding on e-bay.  Steve Morse will describe the range of tools available and give the highlights of each one.

Steve Morse has revolutionized two fields. As an electrical engineer, he is known as the architect of the Intel 8086, predecessor of the Pentium processor. In recent years, Steve has mostly focused his energies on using his technical and intellectual abilities to help people research their genealogy. He has become famous for his One-Step websites. Steve is a dynamic speaker who is able to make a technical program most entertaining.

Video of Steve Morse's Opening Remarks


The Genealogical Riches of Massachusetts’ Archives, featuring a panel of local archivists
May 15        

Representatives of the Massachusetts Archives, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the American Jewish Historical Society, and the City of Boston Archives describe the records they hold, discuss how they can be useful in your genealogical research, and explain how you can access them.

Haag Autumn Haag until recently was a Reference Archivist at the Massachusetts Archives and is now Librarian/Archivist at Roxbury Community College. She has a BA from McGill University and an MISt from the University of Toronto.

Daly Marie Daly is the Library Director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and founding President of The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA). She has been involved with genealogical research since 1976 and has helped many visitors to NEHGS find their Jewish ancestors.

Judith Garner is the Managing Archivist at the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) and Managing Archivist of the Society’s Greater Boston and New England collections housed at NEHGS. She has an AB in History from Wellesley College and an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.

Stephanie Call is Associate Archivist at AJHS and Processing Archivist of the Society’s Greater Boston and New England collections. She has a BA in English from Mount Holyoke College and an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.

Enright Zachary Enright is an Archivist with the City of Boston Archives. He assists patrons in their historical, genealogical, and legal research. He has an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.


How to Create a Family History Book
Merle Kastner, June 12        

Merle Kastner

What do you do with all your records, photographs, collection of anecdotes, and your family tree?

Many times people have asked what to do with all their records, documents, photos, little anecdotes, and, above all, the family tree. How do you compile and display it for other family members and for yourself?

In this lecture, Kastner will show how to create inexpensive family books on one's own computer, in very small quantities, using software that most of us already have.

Video of Merle Kastner's Opening Remarks


The Jews of Poland and Russia: Myth and Reality
Antony Polonsky,Sept 11        

Antony Polonsky

On the eve of the Second World War, Poland contained the largest Jewish community in Europe. Its Jewish population—close to three-and-a-half million—was second in size only to that of the United States. The third largest Jewish community in the world, with nearly three million Jews, was in the Soviet Union.

The majority of American Jews come from these lands, but what they know of their ancestors' lives— frequently based on myths, misunderstandings, and stereotypes—diminishes the Jewish civilization that emerged there and fails to grasp the extent of what was lost in the passage across the Atlantic. Prof. Polonsky will recreate this lost world in a way that transcends both sentimentalism and the belief that the East European Jewish experience consisted only of persecution and martyrdom.

Antony Polonsky is Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, an appointment held jointly at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Brandeis University. He is the author of the newly published three-volume opus, The Jews in Poland and Russia: A History, a socio-political, economic, and religious history of the Jewish communities of eastern Europe from 1350 to the present. Also editor of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Prof. Polonsky has written many scholarly books, taught at universities around the world, and received many awards and honors, including the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

Watch a video of Professor Polonsky's opening remarks.


“Vienna's Jewish Community: History, Destruction & Genealogical Reconstruction”
Thomas Fischer Weiss, Oct. 16        

Tom Weiss

The first part of this talk briefly describes the turbulent history of the Jews of Vienna from their first appearance in the 10th century until the 20th century. The second part of the talk focuses on the reconstruction of Viennese families based on extensive genealogical records available in Vienna: vital, residence, cemetery, Holocaust, military, city directories, newspapers, and obituaries, and how to access these resources.

Tom is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has visited the homelands of his ancestors in Bohemia, Vienna, and Galicia and is compiling a detailed family history. An early version of his family history has been donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.



“Chutes & Ladders: Innovative Approaches to Genealogy”
Pamela Weisberger, Nov. 13       

Pamela WeisbergerPamela Weisberger will present an interactive lecture, "Chutes and Ladders: Innovative Approaches to Genealogy," using imaginative strategies, social networking websites and unusual databases. Climb ladders and scale brick walls by cleverly manipulating Google, Facebook, Geni, Fundrace, PrivateEye, ProQuest and Zabasearch. Locate M.I.A. relatives using real estate and bank records. Go directly to jail to uncover a family scandal. Get out your detective's notepad and practice your powers of deduction to complete your ancestral jigsaw puzzle. Clues abound if you know where to look!

Pamela Weisberger is the program chair for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles, Research Coordinator for Gesher Galicia, and is active in the Hungarian and Sub-Carpathian JewishGen SIGs. Documenting her family’s history for over twenty years, she has traveled throughout Eastern Europe visiting ancestral towns and villages and conducting research in Polish, Ukrainian and Hungarian archives. A special area of interest has been late 19th to early 20th century city directories, newspapers and court records. She has also produced the documentaries “I Remember Jewish Drohobycz” and “Genealogy Anyone? Twenty-Five Years in the Life of the JGSLA,” and coordinated the IAJGS Conference’s 2006-2008 film festivals. She holds a B.A. in English from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.S. in Broadcasting from Boston University.

Handouts from Pam's talk: Chutes and Ladders, Gesher Galicia Cadastral Map.


"Drafted into the Tsar’s Army: Russian Expectations, Jewish Experiences"
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Dec. 11   

5th Annual Jewish Genealogy Lecture
Sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and Hebrew College

Petrovsky-Shtern

Many of us have family stories about ancestors who emigrated to escape conscription into the Russian army.  Why did Tsar Nicholas I target the Jews for military service?  What was the fate of conscripted Jewish men and boys?  Why did the Russians consider this policy to be “good for the Jews”?  Learn about the broader European context and the legal, military, social, religious, and cultural dimensions of this policy.

Our speaker, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies at Northwestern University in Illinois and an authority on the history of Russian Jews.  His books include Jews in the Russian Army, 1827 – 1917: Drafted Into Modernity.  He holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University (2001), a Ph.D. from Moscow University (1988), and a Masters from Kiev University.

The lecture is free and open to the public.  Reservations are required as seating is limited.

The program is made possible with the generous support of Harvey Krueger of New York, who is also supporting a comprehensive introductory course on Jewish genealogy at Hebrew College taught by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston.  See course.jgsgb.org.

Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

Jan 22

    
Flyer in Russian
“Jews and Revolution in Russia and the Soviet Union” Rochelle Ruthchild
Rochelle Ruthchild

For two centuries, the majority of the world’s Jewish population was centered in the Russian Empire. Why were Jews among the leaders of the revolutionary movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein), Lev Kamenev (Rozenfeld), and Grigorii Zinoviev (Gershon Apfelbaum) were prominent Bolsheviks, serving alongside Lenin in the early days of Soviet power. Yet by the end of the Soviet Union, Jews had abandoned revolutionary dreams and emigrated in large numbers. What factors explain these population shifts and changes?

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild is a Research Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. She writes on women, gender, and Jewish history in Russia and the Soviet Union. Her book, Equality and Revolution: Women’s Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905-1917 (University of Pittsburgh Press, June 2010) won  Honorable Mention for the Reginald Zelnik Prize of the American Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian History (ASEEES), for an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the field of history, and Honorable Mention for the Heldt Prize of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), for the best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies.


Spotlight - Muriel Gillick on "Taking Family History Public: The Research Behind Her Published Family Story". Muriel Gillick has written a book entitled "Once They Had a Country".  It is the account of her parents' experiences as Kindertransport children from Germany.   They were sent to a country in continental Europe.

Muriel R. Gillick is a geriatrician, palliative care physician, and writer. She sees patients at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a multi-specialty group practice in Boston and surrounding communities, and she is also a Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School. Her scholarly work focuses on ethical issues near the end of life and is conducted at the Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute/Harvard Medical School.

As an undergraduate history major at Swarthmore College, she developed what would prove to be a life-long interest in German history, World War II, and the refugee experience. Her forte is writing stories based on real people and putting the narrative into a broader context. She used the same technique in her four previous books on medical themes written for a general audience as in “Once They Had a Country.”
Feb 26

    
Flyer in Russian
“Internal Jewish Migration to Agricultural Colonies in the Russian Empire” with Alan Shuchat, and Spotlight with Paul Adams on Preserving Oral History Recordings and Audio Files
Alan Shuchat

Alan will describe the Jewish agricultural colonies that were founded in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, mostly in what is now Ukraine. He will discuss the reasons that the tsarist government had for establishing these colonies and resettling Jews there, how he discovered that his family came from one of the colonies, and the fate of the colonies. He will include maps and photos, and some sources where you can learn more about the colonies.

Alan Shuchat has been researching his family's history for several decades and has been able to trace his father's family back to around 1800. He has been active in several genealogy SIGs and helped with transliterations of three databases that are available through JewishGen. He participates in JGSGB's annual February meeting, helping attendees with Ukraine research and translations. His father's family (SHUKHAT, VINOKUR) came from Talnoye (Talne), Balta, Pogrebishche, and Simferopol in Ukraine. His mother's family (KURIS, ZILBERMAN) came from Mogilev-Podolskiy, Kremenets, and Berdichev in Ukraine, and Soroki in Moldova. Alan is professor of mathematics at Wellesley College and lives with his wife Alix Ginsburg in Newton.


Spotlight: “Preserving Your Audio and Visual Family History”, with Paul Adams.

Paul Adams

Paul Adams is an audio & video preservation engineer from Boston. His company, Mass Productions, specializes in restoring and converting antiquated sound and video recordings to modern digital formats (www.massproductions.net).

Paul is a descendant of John Adams, 2nd president of the United States. Born and raised on Cape Cod, he began his career with music and audio as a professional disc jockey and radio broadcaster at WQRC FM.   He moved to Boston to pursue a career in Information Technology and digital media duplication. Paul combined his skills to preserve his own family and friends’ recorded histories, which eventually led him to establish his business serving Boston residents as well as prestigious institutions.

Paul has rescued and restored audio recordings for the Boston Conservatory as well as the taped performances of renowned violinist Roman Totenberg held by the Longy School of Music. Over the next year, Paul will be very busy preserving audiotapes over 50 years old for the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA and the Jewish Public Library in Montreal.

Paul will discuss how film, video, and audio recordings have become historical documents as important as the written word.  While we have attempted to preserve human history for thousands of years with cave drawings, tablets, scrolls, books, and still photos, an audio or video recording provides a quite special form of immortality, particularly in preserving family histories. Over the last decade, however, methods and formats for capturing picture and sound have become antiquated so quickly that we now are left with an assorted collection of important recordings on multiple formats for which playback equipment is no longer sold, existing equipment breaks down, and the recording can become damaged or even thrown away due to the inability to play it back. Paul will provide insights into and examples of the growing field of digital restoration and preservation of such recordings, and tips on what you can do to preserve your oral and visual heritage.


March 25

Help Day: Research and Translation Assistance JGSGB Volunteers

Problem-solve with others who can help show you the way. Learn how to get started or get over that “brick wall” in your family research. Members will be able to consult with those more experienced for help with their family research.

A limited number of computer stations will be available, or bring your own laptops for online research.

Roundtables will be dedicated to topics such as:

  • Country and region-specific research (e.g., Polish, Lithuanian, Galician, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Romanian, Moldovan, Bessarabian, German)
  • Finding your ancestors using immigration, naturalization, and vital records
  • Getting started with Jewish genealogy (e.g., using the JewishGen and Steve Morse web sites)
  • Holocaust research (e.g., using the Internet, Yizkor books, Yad Vashem)
  • Translation of foreign-language documents (Yiddish, Russian, German, French, Polish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Romanian)

(Other topics may be added at a later date.)

Genealogical reference materials will be available for perusal.

Bring in your research questions and your foreign documents for translation.


April 22

“YIVO: History and Resources for Genealogy” Lyudmila Sholokhova

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is a world’s foremost center for academic research specializing in history, languages, literature, culture, folklore and religious traditions of Ashkenazi Jewry.  It is also well known for its extensive collections of materials documenting the history of destroyed Jewish communities from Eastern Europe, publications about the Jewish Holocaust, anti-Semitism and Jewish immigrant experience in the United States. YIVO’s archival collections and library constitute the single greatest resource for such study in the world, including approximately 24 million letters, manuscripts, photographs, films, sound recordings, art works, and artifacts; as well as the largest collection of Yiddish-language materials in the world. The YIVO Library collections include over 385 thousands volumes of books and periodicals in more than 30 languages, but mainly in Yiddish, Hebrew, English, Russian, German, French, and Polish etc.

The presentation will provide a glimpse into the marvelous history of this renown institution, its founders and scholars. It will also describe its major collections and focus on a wide range of genealogical resources available  at the YIVO Institute, such as landsmanshaftn (Jewish mutual-aid societies), various immigrant organizations, important bibliography on Jewish genealogy, etc.

Lyudmila Sholokhova, is head of the YIVO Library in New York City.


May 6

Flyer     
“Introducing Children to Jewish Genealogy” Arnon Hershkovitz

Dr. Hershkovitz will present some concepts and ideas for introducing children to Jewish genealogy, including how to engage your own younger generation in your genealogy research and their family heritage, how to spread the word of your genealogy research through your extended family, and how to promote genealogy to groups of children within your community.

Genealogy research today has two major advantages which make it easily communicable to children. First, it is a fascinating process from its very beginning (“I had no idea how to find my great-grandfather’s lost brother”), through its various steps (“And then I found a manifest from 1897 on the Internet!”), to its often surprising findings (“I’ve found a 3rd cousin of mine who lives just a few blocks from me!”). And much of it is done on the Internet, which is today’s younger generation’s playground.

Arnon Hershkovitz, Ph.D., is a passionate genealogist involved in genealogy since 1999. He founded in 2001 and has led the "Israeli Family Roots Forum" - the only online IAJGS member organization, initiated "Wikigenia" - a free online collaborative platform for Jewish Genealogy, and writes a genealogy blog (all of these in Hebrew). He has been involved in instructing genealogy (for both children and adults, including a full 13-week course for gifted children), has been publishing and presenting to various audiences, and organized academic genealogy events. He served as the Head Genealogy Consultant for the Israeli production of "Who Do You Think You Are?". A native Israeli, he's now a post-doc at WPI (Worcester, MA), hence living with his wife and 3 little children in Massachusetts; he holds a Ph.D. in Science Education, an MA in Applied Mathematics, and a BA in Mathematics and Computer Science. You can visit his genealogy website at: genealogy.arnononthe.net/eng.


May 20

    
“Organizing & preparing manuscripts for self-publishing -
what to include & how to do it”
Stephen Denker

The subject of this JGSGB workshop is how to design and construct a book for self-publishing, including aesthetic considerations and organization of subject matter. Stephen Denker will demonstrate ways to prepare, repair, and enhance documents and other research materials for publication. He will present specific examples to illustrate techniques and options.

Sign up early by email and Stephen will send you copies of slides and other materials before the meeting.

Now formally retired, Stephen Denker is active doing technical and business writing. He and his wife Elayne have been collaboratively researching their family histories for the past ten years. They have published nearly 800 pages of their family histories and genealogy organized into four hard-cover books. They will be sharing their experience and techniques at this meeting.


June 10

    
“Archives of the Joint Distribution Committee: A Resource for Genealogists”
followed by Spotlight with Heidi Urich on HIAS Records
Linda Levi
Linda Levi

Since its inception in 1914, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC, popularly known as “the Joint”) has borne witness to the most pivotal events of 20th-century Jewish history. The holdings of the JDC Archives document the organization’s operations and serve as a record of life in Jewish communities around the worldincluding eyewitness accounts, correspondence, logs, passenger lists, emigration cards, photographs, and much more. Levi will present examples of rich genealogical records, show how to conduct research at the Archives, and illustrate the new archives website and the treasures that await researchers as the records become more widely available.

Linda Levi is Assistant Executive Vice President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, where she directs the JDC Global Archives. Ms. Levi is a graduate of New York University and received her MA in Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis University. She lectures extensively about the JDC Archives for Jewish groups around the world.


Spotlight Talk: The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, known as HIAS, has been helping Jewish immigrants and refugees since 1881. Learn what records are available and how to obtain them. Heidi Urich has been president of the JGSGB since 2007.


Sep 9

    
Ancestry.com and Jewish Records
Crista Cowan
Crista Cowan

The opening program of the 2012-2013 JGSGB season features Crista Cowan, professional genealogist from Ancestry.com, who will present three sessions on Ancestry.com and its Jewish Records. Ancestry.com is a leading resource for online family history research and a valuable tool in any Jewish genealogist’s toolbox.

Morning session

11:00 am Getting Started With Ancestry.com Whether you’re brand new to genealogy or a long-time subscriber to Ancestry.com, there’s much to learn about this powerful website and what it can help you accomplish in your family history research. Cowan will provide an overview of the site, explain privacy settings for online trees, demonstrate the power of member profiles, and reveal a multitude of free content and tools.

Afternoon sessions

1:30 pm Jewish Records at Ancestry.com Ancestry.com has many resources and unique tools available for Jewish genealogy research. Cowan will survey Ancestry.com’s Jewish record collections, show you how to search them efficiently, and demonstrate effective strategies for finding records from a specific location and time period.

2:45 pm Getting the Most Out of Ancestry.com Cowan will demonstrate tips and tricks to help you realize the
full potential of your Ancestry.com experience, show you how to search more effectively, and introduce you to Ancestry.com’s content and collaboration tools. She’ll also be available to answer questions.

Crista Cowan has been interested in family history since childhood. She is a professional genealogist who specializes in descendancy research and Jewish immigration. She has been employed at Ancestry.com since 2004, as European Content Acquisition Manager, Indexing Manager, and currently as Community Alliance Manager. As The Barefoot Genealogist, she broadcasts live on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:00 pm (Eastern) on http://livestream.com/ancestry.


Oct 14      When General Grant Expelled the Jews Jonathan Sarna
Jonathan Sarna

How safe were Jews in their new home in the United States? Was European anti-Semitism to follow them to America? General Grant’s shocking order to expel the Jews, issued in the midst of the Civil War, galvanized the American Jewish community into action, reminding many who were refugees from European expulsions how insecure they were even in America.

Professor Jonathan Sarna’s study of this pivotal event in American Jewish history sheds light on the experience and treatment of Jews during the Civil War through the late nineteenth century. When General Grant later ran for President, his infamous order made Jews an issue in a presidential contest for the first time and publicly confronted Jews with the question of how to balance their American and Jewish loyalties.

Jonathan D. Sarna is an award-winning historian of American Jewish history. He is the Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History, and author or editor of over twenty books.

His acclaimed American Judaism: A History received the 2004 Jewish Book of the Year Award. His latest book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, published by Schocken Books earlier this year, has received excellent reviews. Copies will be available for purchase and signing following the lecture.


Nov 4 Why Did Our Ancestors Leave a Nice Place like the Pale?
Hal Bookbinder
Hal Bookbinder

Due to a death in his family, our speaker for this Sunday is unable to join us. We are fortunate that one of the preeminent genealogists in the country, Hal Bookbinder, will be in Boston and has offered to step in.

In 1880, fully 80% of our ancestors lived in Poland and the Pale of Jewish Settlement in western Russia. We all know of the pogroms (organized violence) and mass exodus of our ancestors to points west over the next generation. Hal Bookbinder will describe the 120 years of the Pale, from its formation in the late 18th century to its dissolution during the First World War, breaking the life of the Pale into six distinct periods which he designates as "Creation," "Containment," "Repression," "Enlightenment," "Pogroms," and "Chaos." This history will provide some context to our ancestors' lives in the Pale and, of course, their decision to leave everything they had known to make new lives in the West.

Hal Bookbinder directs information technology for the UCLA Health System. He lectures at annual conferences and has published numerous articles on research techniques, Jewish history, and border changes. He has identified over 3,500 relatives in eight lines, primarily from the Ukraine and adjacent areas of Moldova, Belarus, Russia and Poland, and has taken two of these back to the mid-18th century. Bookbinder has served as president of the JGS Los Angeles (JGSLA) and the International Association of JGS’s (IAJGS). He currently serves on the JewishGen Board of Governors as chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and is advisor to the 2013 IAJGS conference in Boston and co-chair of the 2014 conference in Salt Lake City. In 2010, he was honored with the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award.

Download the handout from the lecture here. (pdf)


Dec 9

    
Jewish Experience of 'Russification' in Tsarist Russia 1825-1894
Jewish Life in Bessarabia Through the Lens of the Shtetl Koushany

Douglas Cohen
Yefim Kogan

The Tsarist regime inherited half a million Jews in the partitions of Poland in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century, it set about trying to integrate this very different community into the Russian population. Using both carrots (education) and sticks (conscription) the regime tried to remake its Jews into Russians. Historians from Simon Dubnow to Michael Stanislawski have described and characterized these efforts. My paper looks at autobiographical literature to follow the lives of six individual Jews and understand how they saw the regime and its laws and how these rules impacted them. Their impressions often differ from the “historical” record.

Douglas M. Cohen is an independent consultant who acts as a chief financial officer, adding value to a series of smaller companies which need an experienced senior financial executive on a part-time basis. Mr. Cohen holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree from Harvard College.  He also received a Masters degree in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College.

Workshop Handout


Yefim Kogan

The shtetl Kaushany is a place where my parents and their parents lived for more than 200 years.  It is a typical ‘mestechko”, a small town in the Bessarabian province of the Russian Empire. Between the World Wars it was part of Romania; after World War II it was included in the Soviet Union and currently it is in the Republic of Moldova.  This paper includes historical and genealogical research as well as cultural, professional and political descriptions of Jewish life in Kaushany.  Before World War II, only 1,875 Jews lived in Kaushany, which represented 35% of the total population.  In 1924, 165 out of 175 businesses were owned by Jews. Most of the Jews struggled to make ends meet.  The town had all the traditional Jewish organizations: synagogues, a cemetery, Khevra-Kadisha and Talmud-Torah, Mikve and Heder, Zionist organizations, a nursing home, and a Jewish Women Society. Today there are no Jews left in Kaushany. 

Who will remember all who perished during the Holocaust?

Who will put stones and flowers to a monument of

the Jewish residents of Kaushany?

I will.

Yefim and his family emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1989. During last 20 years he did extensive genealogical and historical research, received a Master’s of Jewish Liberal Studies in 2012 from Hebrew College in Boston.  Yefim participated and lectured at a number of Jewish Genealogical conferences, including this year in Paris.  In 2011, he organized Bessarabia Special Interest Group at JewishGen.org, participated in numerous projects, and created websites.

Workshop Handout

Jan 6

    
Do You Have German Roots? A Question For All Ashkenazi Jews
Michael Marx
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, Adelson Hall 385 Ward Street, Newton Centre, MA
Michael Marx

Jews have been living in Germany since Roman times, and Ashkenazi Jews are descended from these early Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany. Many Ashkenazi Jews later migrated, largely eastward, forming communities in non German-speaking areas, including Hungary, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania and elsewhere between the 11th and 19th centuries. Why, for example, does Yiddish sound so much like German? So you very likely have German roots.

In this program, Mr. Marx will show how the modern country of Germany has evolved, what distinguishes German Jewish genealogy, and how to research German ancestry. Germany has excellent records that are readily accessible, and the majority of German records are now available via the Internet. Come learn about German Jewish genealogy and how you might find your own German Jewish ancestry.

Mr. Marx is a past treasurer and board member of JGSGB. He has been a frequent presenter of genealogical programs at international and regional genealogy conferences and various genealogy societies. He has been researching his German roots since 2001 and can now trace his ancestors back to the mid-1600s. Much of his success has come from searching the World Wide Web. He holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, retiring in 2000 after a 33-year career in corporate management and management consulting.

Slides from today's presentation

Websites referenced in today's presentation


Spotlight Talk: My Nathan Family: From Hamburg to London and Back - Cary Aufseeser

Cary will talk about the many internet resources he used in tracing his Nathan family from Hamburg, Germany back to 17th century London. 

When Cary Aufseeser first began researching his family in 2002, he didn't even know the names of all his great-grandparents. Today, through extensive use of the internet, he can trace his roots back to the Middle Ages and has found humdreds of distant relatives all over the world.

Cary is a former member of the JGSGB board where he worked on membership development. When not researching his genealogy, Cary is a statistical analyst and programmer.


March 17

Help Day: Research and Translation Assistance JGSGB Volunteers
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.

Problem-solve with others who can help show you the way. Learn how to get started or get over that “brick wall” in your family research. Members will be able to consult with those more experienced for help with their family research.

A limited number of computer stations will be available, or bring your own laptops for online research.

Roundtables will be dedicated to topics such as:

  • Country and region-specific research (e.g., Polish, Lithuanian, Galician, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Romanian, Moldovan, Bessarabian, German)
  • Finding your ancestors using immigration, naturalization, and vital records
  • Getting started with Jewish genealogy (e.g., using the JewishGen and Steve Morse web sites)
  • Holocaust research (e.g., using the Internet, Yizkor books, Yad Vashem)
  • Translation of foreign-language documents (Yiddish, Russian, German, French, Polish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Romanian)

Genealogical reference materials will be available for perusal.

Bring in your research questions and your foreign documents for translation.


April 7

    
"Who the Heck is Ida Gerskill? The Challenges of Researching Jewish Names" Meredith Hoffman
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.

Meredith Hoffman How can we make sense of our ancestors' names and places as they moved through communities and eras? How do we deal with surnames that changed as they moved from the old country to the new? Can we figure out what name Uncle Louie used when he travelled to America? or who we might look for in the 1920 census when we’re told that great-grandma’s sister Rivkele changed her name but no one knows what she changed it to? And is there a way to sort out the name of the town that has come down in our family lore as something like “Vasakamosevyetz”?

Using an abundance of real examples, Meredith Hoffman explores the pitfalls and difficulties we are confronted with when working with Jewish personal, family, and place names as they morphed through time and space. She provides strategies for puzzling them out using linguistic and commonsense clues and cues and surveys some helpful online resources that can come to our aid.

Meredith Hoffman is a professional genealogist who specializes in researching 19th/early 20th century Jewish immigrant ancestors and particularly enjoys solving difficult Jewish name problems. She is Publicity Chair of the JGSGB and teaches and speaks at regional and national conferences and many local venues. She holds degrees in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a graduate of Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. She retired from her long career as a technical writer, editor, and publishing consultant to devote most of her time to genealogy research. 

Meredith's presentation handout.


April 21

    
Research in Lithuania - Online & On Site Peggy Freedman
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.

Peggy FreedmanBetween 1880 and 1914, more than 90,000 Jews told US immigration officials that they were immigrating to Massachusetts.  Many of them were leaving Lithuania, then a part of Russia.  If one of these Lithuanian Jewish immigrants was your ancestor, join us as we explore the tools to use when tracing your Lithuanian family tree. 

Peggy Mosinger Freedman will discuss on-line resources available to Jewish genealogical researchers including the LitvakSIG database, the LitvakSIG Research Groups, and the translation process that LitvakSIG uses.  Peggy works closely with the archivists in the Kaunas Regional Archives, the Vilnius State Historical Archives, and the Lithuanian Central State Archives.  She will discuss how you can best proceed with your research at these repositories.

Peggy Mosinger Freedman has been tracing her family tree since she was a high school student. She is a founding member and past president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia.  She is the coordinator of the Vilnius District Research Group for LitvakSIG and is webmaster for JewishGen KehilahLinks pages for Jonava and Pandelys. Peggy currently volunteers with the American Fund for Lithuanian and Latvian Jews, leading heritage tours to Lithuania. In 2013 she is planning her seventh trip to Vilnius and Kaunas.


May 19

    
From Iberia to the Pale: Sephardim in Eastern Europe David Gitlitz
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.
David Gitlitz

In the waning years of the 15th century the Iberian kingdoms forced their Jews to convert to Catholicism or go into exile. Those who left Spain and Portugal in the chaotic 1490s were joined over the next 200 years by a steady trickle of conversos, converted Jews and their descendents, who hoped to escape the traumatic secrecy of crypto-Judiasm in someplace where they could practice their religion openly and safely. The largest segment of the early Sephardic diaspora sought their new homes in the countries of the Mediterranean: Morocco, France, parts of Italy, and Ottoman Turkey. Many in the second, third, and later generations migrated to the commercial centers of Western Europe: Flanders, the Netherlands, England (and the English colonies). While Eastern Europe was never a major magnet for Sephardic immigration, some Spanish and Portuguese Jews and conversos did settle in the countries of the east. This talk will explore why, and when, and by what route they got there, and what has happened to them.

Genealogical detective work in the Iberian world challenges the researcher with some unusual complexities. The second part of this talk will explore the idiosyncrasies of Spanish & Portuguese names, and how the special circumstances of crypto-Judaism established the obfuscation of genealogy as a survival strategy. It will also suggest some approaches to working through these complexities.

Get David's handout.


June 9

SPECIAL JGSGB PANEL: How to Get the Most Out of the Upcoming International Jewish Genealogy Conference
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.

The annual conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies will be here in Boston from August 4 to August 9, the first time it will be in Boston since 1996.  A large group of JGSGB members has been hard at work for more than a year planning to make this conference the best ever.

Expecting that many of our members will be attending the conference, we are planning a program to give them a head start in getting the most they can out of the conference.  This program will feature a panel of conference planners and experienced  conference-goers, who will provide an overview of the conference and its programs, workshops and research tools.  They will also offer many  tips on ways to prepare for the conference and to enjoy and benefit most from it. There will be ample time for questions and answers.


Sep 29

    
Building a Family Tree through Circumstantial Evidence:
Breaking through the Immigrant Brickwall

Judy G. Russell
“The Legal Genealogist”
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, Adelson Hall 385 Ward Street, Newton Centre, MA

This talk will be preceded by a short slideshow about the Boston (IAJGS) Conference.

Judy Russell

When our immigrant ancestors leave behind not just their homes but any direct evidence of family relationships, what’s a genealogist to do? Most genealogists learn very quickly that it’s a rare family where direct evidence supplies all the proof needed to connect one generation to another and tie brothers and sisters to each other. In most cases, it’s necessary to build the case for family relationships from bits and pieces and hints and clues gathered from a wide variety of sources. Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, presents resources and strategies to show us how to build a family tree from circumstantial evidence.

Judy G. Russell is a Certified GenealogistSM and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM who blogs as The Legal Genealogist. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and on the faculty at several genealogical institutes. She holds a law degree from Rutgers Law School. Her popular blog at www.legalgenealogist.com is a useful resource for all researchers. In a recent poll of genealogists around the world, Russell was voted one of the three American “rockstar genealogists,” those “who give ‘must attend’ presentations at family history conferences or as webinars .”


Oct. 20

    
Introduction to the GenealogyIndexer.org Search Engine
Logan Kleinwaks
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton Centre, MA

Logan Kleinwaks Logan Kleinwaks, creator of GenealogyIndexer.org, will explain how to use the Genealogy Indexer to search historical directories, yizkor books, and other resources and present an update on newly added and expanded sources.

GenealogyIndexer.org is a free website that offers full-text searching of more than 400,000 pages of historical directories primarily from central and eastern Europe (business, address, telephone), yizkor books, Polish and Russian military documents, community and personal histories, Galician secondary school reports, and more. These sources contain millions of personal names—often with towns of residence, street addresses, and occupations, and sometimes with vital dates or patronymics. This huge and growing collection mostly comprises data from central and eastern European records not searchable elsewhere.

Logan Joseph Kleinwaks is the creator of free genealogy websites including GenealogyIndexer.organd ShoahConnect.org, which uses Page of Testimony research to reunite families separated by the Shoah, and the coordinator of the JewishGen Danzig/Gdansk SIG. He has a research background in physics. For creating and maintaining GenealogyIndexer.org, Kleinwaks received the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or Electronic Product from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies in 2012.


Nov. 3
9 am - 12 noon

Special Program on Polish Records Research -- Members Only
Workshop on Jewish Records Indexing-Poland – Learn & Ask

Stanley Diamond
Founder & Director
of JRI-Poland
Newton (specific location will be sent to registrants)
Stanley Diamond

The JRI-Poland Learn and Ask workshop will provide an opportunity to get deep inside the workings of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, an award winning international project to create an Internet-searchable index of all surviving Jewish vital records of Poland. JRI-Poland’s founder and director, Stanley Diamond, will present an update on the current status of various indexing projects, the latest news on scanning of Jewish records in the Polish State Archives, and an overview of the not-yet-announced projects for which hundreds of thousands of records have already been indexed.

Both new and more experienced researchers will be able to ask questions directly related to their research and learn what records of interest may be available now and what might be expected in the near and foreseeable future. Diamond will also field questions about preparing for and visiting Poland and how to find the best guides and researchers.

Stanley M. Diamond is the founder and Executive Director of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland (jri-poland.org). He also researches a novel mutation of the beta-thalassemia genetic trait and documents the rare incidence of the trait in Ashkenazi Jewish families of the Diaspora. Diamond is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal and holds an MBA from Harvard. He is Founding President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal and the winner of the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.


Nov. 17

Laskin     
From Genealogy to History: Exploring the Jewish 20th Century through One Family’s Story
David Laskin
This event will start at 1:30 pm at Temple Emanuel 385 Ward Street, Newton Centre, MA

David LaskinIn his new book, The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the 20th Century, David Laskin tells the story of his mother’s family— eastern European Jews who split into three branches at the turn of the last century. Laskin will describe his genealogical research, which involved archives and resources on three continents—eastern Europe, the United States, and Israel—and how he used insights from family letters and memoirs and historical documents to enrich the family stories and understand the family history in the broader historical context of the Jewish 20th century.

Among other resources, he will discuss using archives in Israel; hiring researchers and guides in Belarus and Lithuania; using JewishGen, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services; and employing Facebook and Twitter to help find a “lost” branch of the family.

David Laskin is an award-winning author who writes about the intersection between ordinary people and the seismic upheavals of our time . He holds a degree in history and literature from Harvard and an MA in English from New College, Oxford. The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the 20 th Century is a book that reads like a novel, but is a work of history with every detail grounded in fact. “The Family is as rich and poignant as any novel, only all true and impeccably researched.”
—Erik Larson, New York Times Bestselling Author

For more information, see www.davidlaskin.com

Jan. 5

Annual Lecture     
Wandering Jews: Peddlers and the Discovery of New Worlds Hasia Diner
This event will start at 2:00 pm in Berenson Hall at Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA
Hasia Diner

How did peddling, an utterly prosaic and familiar occupation of Jews in the Old World, become an engine of opportunity for Jewish resettlement around the world?  What was the role of peddlers in Jewish migration and integration in nearly every place in the New World including the United States, the British Isles, North, South and Central America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand?

Professor Hasia Diner is a renowned authority on American Jewish history and U.S. immigration history. She is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, with a joint appointment in the Department of History and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where she also directs the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History.  She is the author of many books and articles, and has received numerous fellowships and honors, including elected membership to the American Academy of Jewish Research and to the Society of American Historians. Her most recent book, We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust, won the National Jewish Book Award in the category of American Jewish Studies. She is currently completing a book on global Jewish migrations and the history of Jewish peddling.

P.O. Box 610366 • Newton, MA 02461-0366 • 866-611-5698 (toll free) •