April 2007

Logo-dark blue


P.O. Box 55443 , Sherman Oaks, CA 91413
JGSLA.ORG – (818) 771-5554

April 2007


Monday, April 23, 2007

Recovering Memories: Bringing Your Shtetl to Life

The Ariogala Research Group has been able to “re-create” the life of their ancestral shtetl in Lithuania, typical of hundreds of small eastern European villages, whose centuries of life were destroyed in the Holocaust. We have reconstructed the lives of our families and gained insight into the workings of Jewish communal life over 250 years, from the Grand Duchy period (18th century), through the Russian Empire period (1795 – 1918), and the period of Lithuanian independence between World War I and World War II, to the Holocaust.

A wide variety of records and documents will be described: official censuses and conscription lists, tax, voter and military lists, applications for internal passports and to become farmers, detailed community correspondence with government agencies, bank and inheritance records, Landsmanshaftn (burial society) cemetery plots, Pages of Testimony for victims of the Holocaust, architectural drawings of Jewish sites, photographic resources, street maps with matching real estate lists showing where our families lived more than 100 years ago, Yiddish newspapers documenting plots and pogroms against the Jews, letters, interviews, and personal memoirs. This is an interactive and ongoing project with new researchers joining and contributing all the time. 2007_apr_01


Sources include archives and museums, YIVO, Yad Vashem, NARA, the Library of Congress, and survivors, descendants and current residents of the town. Members of the group have visited and photographed the town, cataloged cemetery stones and met with the current residents who lived with their Jewish neighbors and with teachers and students who are interested in the history of their town’s former Jewish population.


Speakers: David & Sonia Hoffman
David B. Hoffman, Ph.D. organized the Ariogala Research Group. He is the President of the Jewish Family History Foundation, a nonprofit genealogical organization that preserves 17th and 18th century eastern European archival documents. David serves on the Boards of JGSLA and the LitvakSIG. He has traced his ancestors back to the mid-1600s.
Sonia Hoffman is Past President of JGSLA and coordinates the Grand Duchy Project of the Jewish Family History Foundation. Sonia served as coordinator of the Bialystok Shtetl CO-OP for JRI-Poland. The Hoffmans have published numerous articles in Avotaynu, Roots-Key, and journals of other genealogical societies, and have spoken at six IAJGS International Genealogy Conferences.

LOCATION: Valley Beth Shalom (VBS), Lopaty Chapel, 15739 Ventura Boulevard, Encino
Exit the San Diego Freeway at Ventura Blvd and go west one-half mile. VBS will be on your right between Haskell & Densmore. Or, exit the Ventura Freeway at Haskell and go south one-half mile to Ventura Blvd and turn right. VBS will be on your right.

Attendance/Parking Fees: Free for JGSLA members, $5 for others. Parking is free.

JGSLA Welcomes New Members
Michael & Sheila Donenfeld
Jack Friedman
Paul Matthew Layne
Carol Levin Tenney
Bruce & Debra Dumes
Abraham Hoffman
Jilliene F. Schenkel
Jerry Zevin
Member News
Please help us acknowledge our members’ major life events, such as births, marriages, illnesses and passings. Let us know of these events via email to Hal Bookbinder, Dates & Updates editor [hal@jgsla.org].

Map Resources at the IAJGS Salt Lake City Conference

Through special arrangement with the Family History Library, their normally inaccessible collection of detailed pre-WWI German and Austro-Hungarian military maps, augmented with additional maps from the Library of Congress, will be available for use in the Conference Resource Room.

Volunteers for the IAJGS Salt Lake City Conference

Jan Meisels Allen, Conference Registration Chair, needs individuals to assist her in staffing the registration desk for 2-3 hours. She is willing to train you in the computerized registration system. Please contact her at (818) 991-8400 or by email at [jan@slc2007.org]. For other opportunities to help at the Conference, please send an email to [volunteers@slc2007.org].

Southern California Genealogy Jamboree

Mark your calendar for the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 8-10 in Burbank. Schelly Talalay Dardashti will be coming from Tel Aviv to speak at the Jamboree. Her presentation on “Creating Hope” will relate the Jewish community’s international efforts to reconnect families. The conference program is available at [www.scgsgenealogy.com].

Assistance in photographing a tombstone

We have received a request from Meir Gover in Israel for a photo of a tombstone in Shalom Memorial Park, at 13107 N. Lopez Canyon Road, Sylmar, CA 91342. If you can help Meir, please contact him in Israel at [mggover@bezeqint.net] and also notify Sandy Malek at [president@jgsla.org].

1898-1922 Canadian Immigrant Database Online
From Nu, What’s New?

Library and Archives Canada has made available online their Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers collection (LI-RA-MA). This database contains documents created between 1898 and 1922 by the Russian consular offices located in Canada.

The collection consists of some 11,400 files on Jewish, Ukrainian and Finnish immigrants who came to Canada from the Russian Empire. Each file may contain passports, identity papers, questionnaires and other information. A total of 55,000 digitized images of these documents are online at the site, located at [www.collectionscanada.ca/archivianet/li-ra-ma/index-e.html]. For other collections of Canadian immigrant records, check out [www.collectionscanada.ca/immigrants]

Florida WWI service/induction cards (1917-1919)
Steve Lasky on JewishGen digest

The Florida State Archives has a search engine that allows one to search for World War I service/induction cards. For each person, the cards provide name; age; serial number; race; place of birth; and residence at time of entering service. Some cards also provide the organizations/ships served (with dates of beginning and transfer); engagements; wounds/injuries sustained in action; time served overseas; discharge notations; and general remarks. See [www.floridamemory.com/Collections/WWI].

Old U.S. Postcards
Jan Meisels Allen

If you are interested in old United States postcards, check out [www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/special/ppcs/ppcs.html]. On this site, you will find old postcards from across the U.S. organized by state and then by county.

A Big “Thank You” to our Volunteers!!!
Sandy Malek, JGSLA President
Answering the recent call for help were the following terrific members:Mort Rappaport, who will be storing the audio-visual equipment, bringing it to meetings, setting it up, and running it. Mort could use one or more back-up people…Lois Rosen, who has already started greeting our new members, and helping them find mentors among our existing membership. Help Lois out by finding a new member at each meeting to greet!Ronna Katz, who offered to help with Hospitality. Ronna already works in the background helping with the mailing of Dates & Updates. Ronna would like to work with a small committee, and we are hoping several more people volunteer.

Gil Epstein has offered to handle transporting the mail bags full of Roots-Key from the home where they are packed to the Van Nuys office…Thanks again Gil!!

The JGSLA Still Needs Volunteers!

We are still looking for a Roots-Key editor or editors. Nancy Holden has had the job for four remarkable years, and would like to step down…an editorial committee would be considered as well…If you have editing skills or just a desire to take on the job…please let us know…Nancy is willing to help train the incoming editor(s), and there are already assistants in place.

Our publicity coordinator, Ann Harris, has had to resign from the Board due to work requirements. We need a person or persons who would like to take over the job of publicizing our programs and Society. Although Ann handled this job on her own, it is a job that would work well with a committee splitting up the responsibilities.

There are also several Board openings. If you are interested, please talk to any of the Board members, or send an email to [president@jgsla.org].

Ancestry.com access is now more limited

For many years, Ancestry.com has provided free access to patrons of family history centers around the world. The LDS Church has announced that this access will be severely limited after April 1, 2007. Ancestry indicates that they hope to resolve the licensing agreement. At press time, plans call for free access through Ancestry.com to the following databases to continue: Index and images for the 1880, 1900 and 1920 U.S. censuses; Full name indices for the British 1841-1891 censuses (England and Wales); and World War I draft cards indices as created and miscellaneous other databases. Free access will likely be discontinued for the remainder of the Ancestry.com databases including: Index and images for the 1930 U.S. census and Index and images for the 1901 British census (England, Scotland, and Wales).

If you want a personal subscription to Ancestry but the price has given you pause, consider purchasing Family Tree Maker software (which is owned by the same company). The regular version currently includes six months free access to Ancestry. The deluxe version includes a one year subscription. Prices for these programs run just under $50 and $100 respectively.

Facts from the Stacks
Barbara Algaze, JGSLA Librarian
Here is a list of the most recent books acquired for our library collection. We are always looking for additional donations. Clean out your shelves and get a tax deduction in the process:120 Hias Stories, editors Kathleen Anderson and Margarita Zilberman (donated by Morris Ardoin of HIAS, Inc.).
The Artists of Terezin by Gerald Green (donated by Nancy Biederman).
Beginning Genealogy: A Workbook by Arnold H. Schwartz (donated by Arnie Schwartz).
The Biographical Dictionary of the Jews from Lodz by Andrej Kempa Marek Szukalak.
Dark Clouds Don’t Stay Forever by Werner Neuberger.
Jews of Kopcheve (Lithuania) by Dorothy Leivers (donated by Ted Kotzen).
Langenscheidts Taschenwörterbucher (Langenscheidts Pocket Dictionary) English to German (donated by Henny Roth in Memory of Walter Roth).
The Last Jews of Bagdad by Nissim Regwan (donated by Barbara Algaze).
The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn
The Making of Manchester Jewry 1740 – 1875 by Bill Williams (donated by Barbara “Bobby” Dobbins Title).
Pioneer Jews of Los Angeles in the Nineteenth Century, Editors: David W. Epstein and Gladys Sturman.
NARA Proposes a Copy Fee Increase
Bobby Furst

Two rules published in the Federal Register on 26 February 2007, relate to fees for reproductions of records at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

New prices cited include $25 for Passenger Arrival Lists; Federal Census Requests; Pension Documents Packet (Selected Records); Bounty Land Warrant Application Files and Military Service Files More Than 75 Years Old. $40 for Land Entry Records. $60 for Full Pension File More Than 75 Years Old (Non-Civil War). And $125 for Full Pension File More Than 75 Years Old (Civil War Period).

Both rules are open for public comment until 27 April 2007. The link to the proposed rule, with instructions for commenting is: [a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/].

Family Roots Radio
Bobby Furst

Check out “Family Roots Radio,” a weekly Internet radio show devoted to genealogy and family history. This hour-long radio show, hosted by well-known genealogical author, speaker, and researcher, Kory L. Meyerink, airs each Thursday at 1 p.m. Pacific time. To listen to the show live, log-on to [www.voice.voiceamerica.com]. Kory takes calls toll free at (866) 472-5788. Past shows are archived and available in MP3 format for podcast download.

Share Your Tips through Dates & Updates

Please share your discoveries. Let us know of successful research techniques, outstanding resources or valuable websites. Articles should generally be under 150 words. Send your input to Hal Bookbinder, Dates & Updates editor [hal@jgsla.org].


Six hundred sixteen photographs of graves from Baden Jewish cemetery are now on-line at [www.grave-pictures.at/orion]. Of these, 107 are in Hebrew or are no longer legible. There are plans to include pictures of other small Jewish cemeteries in Austria.

Belarus SIG

The website, [radzima.org/index.php?lang=en], has many photos, past and present-day,-of towns in Belarus. The site is organized by region and then district and town. There are Belorussian, English, Polish and Russian versions of the site. In some cases, there are pictures of the synagogue or Jewish cemetery.

Hungarian SIG

There are now over 400,000 records in the All-Hungary Database. New information includes updates to the 1869 census and to the birth, marriage and death databases. There are now more than 88,000 census, 38,000 birth, 15,000 death and 5,400 marriage records.

Latvia SIG
Barry Shay, Editor, Latvia SIG

We are happy to announce that the new Latvia SIG website is up and running at [www.jewishgen.org/Latvia/index.htm]. The site is full of useful information for both neophyte and experienced genealogy researchers. One new feature of the website is the inclusion of material about Estonia, about which little has previously been available.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed since we consider the website a work in progress. All comments and suggestions should be sent directly to Barry Shay at: [bbshay@starpower.net]. If you have photographs that you think would be appropriate for the website, please send them as JPG files to Barry as well.

Please enjoy the website and spread the word to others who may be interested in Latvian and Estonian Jewish genealogy.

JRI-Poland: Polish and Lithuanian Vital Records

Indexing of 45,000 vital records at the Suwalki Archives (part of the Polish State Archive system but some towns are in Lithuania today) is now complete. These records are primarily from 1826-1880. The towns are (current Lithuanian name is in parentheses) Bakalarzewo, Berzniki, Filipow, Krasnopol, Lozdzeije (Lazdijai), Olita (Alytus), Przerosl, Punsk, Sejny, Sereje (Seirijai), Suwalki, Szaki (Sakiai), Wiejsieje (Veisiejai) and Wizajny. Also eight Polish town indexing projects are now complete: Bialobrzegi, Daleszyce, Jozefow Ordynacki, Konskie, Pakosc, Polaniec and Radoszyce. Additional data has been added for Bytom, Checiny, Gliwice, Gliwice County, Karczew, Ozorkow, Sobkow and Wlosszczowa. Go to [www.jri-pl.org].

Romanian SIG

Alex Volkov bought on eBay a 1927 book, Bessarabia, scanned it and placed the entire contents on line. It details life in the region. The index at the back of the book references Jewish life there. See [rdkids.net/book/Bessarabia_Clark_1927.pdf].

Researcher in Germany

Esther Anguli-Cox (formerly Profus), a founding member of the JGSLA, informs us that a friend is available to do on-the-ground paid research in Germany. If you are interested, you can contact Esther at (559) 625-3490 and discuss this with her.