Events 2005

In the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers (wayfarers)

Jill Culiner, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2005   icons-audio

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.

Researching My Family In Europe: Successes And Failures

Tom F. Weiss, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005     icons-audio

Tom WeissWeiss’ 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.

How to Organize your Notes

Rhoda Miller, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005     icons-audio

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 helRhoda Millerd 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.

Write Your Family History Now!

Mike Karsen, Sunday, September 11, 2005       icons-audio

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 theiMike Karsenr 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       icons-audio

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    icons-audio

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  icons-audio

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.

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

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 deterJonathan Sarnamined 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  icons-audio

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.