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Two-part Program: Joshua Mendes – From Spain to Amsterdam and Beyond: The World of Western Sephardim and Cary Aufseeser – Sephardic DNA Links Jews to Mexicans

May 6, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

at Gann Academy


Special Polish Pronunciation Presentation at 12:30 (open to all)

This presentation will go over the basic pronunciation of all letters and combinations of letters in the Polish alphabet that differ from those in English, giving English equivalents and rules guiding pronunciation. Examples will be given of how to pronounce Polish towns that Jewish genealogists frequently research.

Fay BussgangFay Bussgang and her Polish-born husband have made 14 trips to Poland, some of them for extended periods of time. Fay became intrigued with the complicated Polish pronunciation and tried to master it, even if she could not master the language itself. She would like to share with all those interested in the Polish language what she has learned. This talk will be especially helpful to members intending to go to the IAJGS conference in August in Warsaw, where Fay will be giving this same talk.

Fay Bussgang has authored over 20 articles on genealogy, including the chapter on “Russian Poland” for the Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. She and her husband, Julian, have done extensive genealogical research in Poland and have been frequent speakers at genealogical meetings and conferences. Fay served as co-president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston 1998–2000.

Joshua Mendes – From Spain to Amsterdam and Beyond: The World of Western Sephardim (1:30)

Mention the word “Sephardim” and the rich traditions of North Africa or the Mideast come to mind. But another group of Sephardim voyaged westward — to Amsterdam, England, France, and the New World, and played important roles in their new homelands. Learn about these fascinating people, their contributions and the communities that still exist today.

Joshua Mendes is a former journalist (with Fortune and CNN) and investment analyst, now engaged in developing his own website ideas. He is also a member of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York. He earned a graduate degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Spotlight Talk: Sephardic DNA Links Jews to Mexicans
Speaker: Cary Aufseeser

A recent DNA study found that Jews who have a Sephardic heritage are linked to Mexican Americans who have Jewish roots.  This talk will describe the methodology used in this research.   The study proposes a specific autosomal segment on chromosome 10 that is inherited by Jewish and Mexican descendants of a common Sephardic ancestor.

Suggested background reading: Selengut, S. “The Converso Comeback.” Tablet, 17 October 2017.

When Cary Aufseeser began researching his family in 2002 he didn’t know all his great-grandparents’ names.  Through extensive internet research, he now traces his roots back to the Middle Ages. He can identify thousands of distant relatives worldwide, including possible cousins among Mexican Americans.  Aufseeser is a former JGSGB board member and coordinates the society’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

Special Interest Group (SIG) Meetings

Pre-lecture: 12:30 pm – 1:20 pm
Poland (open to all, see description above)

Post-lecture (approx. 4:00 pm)
Litvak SIG
Belarus SIG has been cancelled

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


May 6, 2018
12:30 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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at Gann Academy
333 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452 United States
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781 642-6800
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