February 2006

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

February 2006

· Monday, February 20, 2006, 1:30 p.m. ·

Program: Assisted Research Day at the LDS Family History Center

1:30 p. m – 3:00 p. m. “ New York City Research Panel” – Visitor’s Center, Theater 6

Most of us have ancestors who either lived in New York or passed through on their way to other U.S. cities. This presentation will show how to locate information about these relatives, in vital records, city directories, census and naturalization documents, newspaper articles, cemetery records, and more, using both online databases and the resources available at the Family History Center. A panel of experienced JGSLA members will also explain how to do preliminary research and organize materials in preparation for on-site research in New York City’s archives, libraries and repositories, whether on an individual trip or at the IAJGS conference in August. Enter through Visitor’s Center.

3:00 p. m – 8:00 p. m. “Assisted Research Afternoon – LDS Family History Center”

Experienced JGSLA researchers will be on-hand to assist in using the Center’s resources. Computers with access to internet genealogical databases, including Ancestry.com, are available and technical assistance with computer research will be provided. JGSLA’s extensive collection of Jewish genealogical source books, microfilms for U.S. census records, passenger arrival lists, naturalization records, and international vital records, including Eastern Europe and U.S records, are also available to researchers.

At 3:30 p.m., Barbara Algaze, JGSLA Librarian, will provide an “Introduction to the Family History Center” in the Center’s classroom. If you have not previously used the Library, you will find this especially valuable, but, even if you have, you will likely obtain ideas that you can use in your research.

At 3:30 p.m. we will have translators to assist you with your Polish language documents or Hebrew/Yiddish headstone inscriptions.

Location: LDS Family History Center, 10741 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA

Turn north onto Manning Ave. from Santa Monica Blvd. Make the first left into the LDS Temple compound; proceed to the right until you reach the Visitors’ Center. Park along the fence or in the lot next to the Visitors’ Center. The entrance to the Family History Center is on the east (right) side of the Visitors’ Center.

Important: Only members whose dues are current may participate. If you have not yet renewed, you can do so at the door. And, new individuals are welcome to join the society and participate as well. This is a great opportunity to bring a friend who would like to get started or to accelerate their research.

Thursday, February 9, 7:30 p.m.

“My Grandfather’s House: The Journey Home”

There will be a special screening of “My Grandfather’s House: The Journey Home,” at the Jewish Federation Building Board Room, 6505 Wilshire Blvd. This documentary relates the story of Eileen Douglas’s determined search to find her grandfather’s former home in Lithuania. With only fragments to guide the way, the documentary is Douglas’s attempt to lift the veil of darkness and discover “where it all began.” Eileen’s daughter, Rachel Zients, will introduce the film and take Q & A afterwards. This program is free for members and guests, but there is limited seating. Reservations are necessary. Please phone (323) 761-8648 or email [resource@jclla.org]. Please provide the names of every person that will be attending and a phone contact. You will not receive a confirmation. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Library Los Angeles.

Sunday, February 19, 2 p.m.

Special Cemetery Program

On Sunday, February 19 th at 2 pm at the LDS Family History Center Classroom, Ada Green will speak on cataloging cemeteries and we will follow this program with a discussion about future plans for the JGSLA Cemetery Project, for which we will continue to catalog older Los Angeles Jewish cemeteries.

LECTURE: Cataloging a Cemetery or Burial Society for the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) . This presentation will cover three methods of cataloging tombstone data (written, tape recorded, and photographic) and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Ada will discuss the pros and cons of data obtained from cemetery burial registers vs. tombstones. (Continued next page)

Special Cemetery Program and Project Meeting (Continued from the first page)

She will describe the various fields of the JOWBR Excel template. For those planning visits to cemeteries during the IAJGS Conference in New York in August, and she will answer “how to” questions from participants (regardless of the purpose of their cemetery visit).

SPEAKER: Ada Green has been researching her family history for over 12 years, and has done genealogical research in Israel, Vienna, Ukrainian Galicia, Lithuania, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States. Ada is a former member of the Executive Council of the JGSNY and is Chair of its cemetery project that has catalogued the name and cemetery location of over 10,000 burial societies in NY metropolitan area cemeteries. As a totally separate project, she has personally cataloged the tombstone data of over 27,000 burials in 180 landsmanshaftn plots in the metropolitan New York area, plus over 6000 more burials elsewhere, which she has computer entered and submitted to the JewishGen On line Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR).

Ada has written articles for Avotaynu, Dorot, the Galitzianer and the LitvakSIG Online Journal. She has given numerous lectures to Jewish genealogical societies in the US, South Africa and Israel and has spoken at the international genealogical conferences in New York in 1999 and London in 2001.

JGSLA Cemetery Project Organizational Meeting

Following the lecture, we will discuss the progress and the future plans for the JGSLA Cemetery Project. We hope that members who are interested in participating in this project will attend this meeting. We will be cataloging the Beth Israel cemetery in East L.A. beginning in March. If you are interested in participating in the Cemetery Project, please contact us at (818) 771-5554 or email president@jgsla.org.

NOTE: we will not be able to use the other facilities of the Family History Center on this day, but we will have exclusive use of the entire facility the following day, February 20 th.

JGSLA Dues Are Due

If you have not renewed your membership in JGSLA, please mail your check to JGSLA, PO Box 55443, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413, or bring your check to our next meeting, and continue to receive Dates & Updates and Roots-Key, and help support our programs, library, and research projects.

Minsk Death Register – 1889
David M. Fox [davefox73@earthlink.net]

The 1889 Minsk (city) Death Register has been translated and awaits final editing. It is interesting to note that in 1889 a great number of people who died in Minsk (city) in 1889 were registered in many other towns and shtetls. There were 700 deaths in 1889. Data will be available on the Belarus SIG website in the near future. [Editor’s note: Information is constantly being added to the various SIG databases. Consider participating in the various SIG discussion groups and/or periodically checking the available databases on JewishGen.]

FHC & JGSLA Library News
Barbara Algaze, JGSLA Librarian [barbara@jgsla.org]There have been a lot of recent changes at the LAFHL ( Los Angeles Family History Library). There are now 39 computer stations available (from 23). You can access the great resources of Ancestry from these workstations without charge.The bookshelves have been increased in size and re-arranged for greater accessibility. This includes increased space for the JGSLA Library, which, of course is housed at the LAFHL. Consider donating genealogical books that you may no longer need (its tax-deductible) or making a donation to the JGSLA library fund, so that we can continue to grow our holdings.

Microfiche has been consolidated into the microfilm room and the number of readers reduced. This recognizes the increased use of computers. Soon, the card catalog will be eliminated as its conversion to the computer is completed.

Prices have been increased by the FHL for short and long-term loans of microfilms. The new prices are $6.05 for a short-term rental and $17.96 for an extended (permanent) rental. [Editor’s note: There is no fee for retrieving films from “the mountain” to the Family History Library in SLC, and once retrieved, they are kept there permanently. But, it does take a few days. So, before you go there, check the on-line catalog and order your films.]

Austro-Hungarian Map Series
Ann Harris [ann@jgsla.org]

In the 1880s and 1890s, the Austro-Hungarian Empire produced an exceptional series of detailed maps covering a wide-swath of Central and Eastern Europe, from Strassburg and Bern in the West to Kiev and Odessa in the East. They are freely available at [lazarus.elte.hu/hun/digkonyv/topo/3felmeres.htm].

Veterans’ Burial Information
Jan Meisels Allen [janmallen@worldnet.att.net]

The burial locations of more than 5 million veterans for whom the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided grave markers are now available on the Internet, as well as the information inscribed on the markers at the nationwide gravesite locator [gravelocator.cem.va.gov]. The VA recently added 1.9 million records for veterans buried primarily in private cemeteries to its database. The new records date from 1997, the earliest time for which electronic records exist. The information comes from applications for the veterans’ headstones or markers. The VA adds approximately 1,000 new records each day. You need only provide the last name of the deceased veteran or dependent. Typically, information available includes name, birth/death dates, rank, branch of service and the address/phone number of the cemetery.

Share Your Hints and News

Please let us know of major family events, brief research stories, exciting research successes and research hints so that they can be shared in Dates & Updates.

Send your input to Hal Bookbinder, Dates & Updates Editor, at hal@jgsla.org. Please include something like, “Story for Dates and Updates” in the title, so it is not mistaken for SPAM and discarded.

Finding Addresses, Phone Numbers, Birthdates (and more) for Living Relatives
Ancestry.com Access to Public Records
Hal Bookbinder [hal@jgsla.org]Ancestry.com recently included access to “U.S. Public Records Index.” This provides addresses, phone numbers, and often birth dates. While you can restrict the search, you can also search the entire country. Even more powerfully, it lists others with the same surname who appear with the individual at that address. This can be especially effective in determining which of many same-named individuals might be your relative. You might also use it to infer other relationships. For example, in looking up a male relative, the listing might show a female of the same age residing at the same residence. This might be his spouse.While an outstanding resource, it does have some shortcomings. One is that no dates are associated with the information. So, you may find a series of addresses without any clue as to which might be recent and which are old. In some cases, I have found addresses for relatives who have been deceased for ten or fifteen years. Ancestry is not clear on the source of this information. When I contacted them, the response stated that it all came from published phone directories. This is clearly not true since I have found people shown who are not, and have never been, listed in published phone directories. Also, I have yet to find a phone directory with birthdates included. I suspect that, at a minimum, voting records and driver license records are also being used.

One method that I have used to find the current married names and contact information for female relatives is to enter just their first name and exact birth date. On occasion, I have found excellent matches. For example, in one case, the middle name shown for one of those displayed was the maiden name of the person for whom I was searching (Not sure of the birth date? Try looking up the person under their maiden name)

Addresses and Professions of Political Contributors
Pamela Weisberger [pamela@jgsla.org]

“Fundrace 2004” is a database containing the name, address and occupation of anyone who contributed “hard money” to a single Republican or Democratic presidential campaign or national committee between January 1, 2003 and October 13, 2004. The intent of the legal requirement that contributors provide this personal information is to limit the political influence of wealthy, anonymous individuals and permit the tracking of financial contributions that could influence the political process. The unexpected benefit, for genealogists, is a useful tool for locating the names and addresses (though some may be out-of-date) of relatives. You can search by address or surname. See [www.fundrace.org/neighbors.php].

Unclaimed Property Databases
Pamela Weisberger [pamela@jgsla.org]

Most states maintain accessible databases of unclaimed property. A Google search under the state name and “unclaimed property” should yield a URL. These assets have been turned over to the state by banks, businesses and other organizations as required by law. The purpose is to return these monies to their proper owners. Here are a few examples of the web addresses: [www.searchthevault.com] (CA), [www.osc.state.ny.us/cgi-bin/db2www/ouffrm.d2w/input] (NY), [www.cashdash.net] (IL) and [abpweb.tre.state.ma.us/abp/abp.htm] (MA)

Free Access to Birthdays and Related Individuals
Hal Bookbinder [hal@jgsla.org]The [www.stevemorse.org] site continues to grow. Check the “Births, Deaths, and other Vital Records” section and you will find, “Birthdates and Related Persons.” This works similarly to the Ancestry.com facility, but along with birthdates and associated individuals, provides only city and state, not full address and phone number. However, it is free. It uses [www.privateeye.com] and [www.peoplefinders.com], two commercial facilities, who make their money by selling you additional information about the person(s) found. But, without ever using the paid service, you can often find information about your relatives, and enough to follow up and look them up in phone directories for their actual current address and phone numbers. Similar to the shortcoming noted for the Ancestry search, without the paid service, there is no indication of how old the citation. But, by providing the various locations, it does provide a good overview of where the individual has lived.The site also provides access to the [www.anybirthday.com] site, under “Birthdays.” While once the only game in town, I don’t believe that the data under this search is nearly as extensive, nor as current as that available through the privateeye and peoplefinder methods. However, it is free. So, give it a try.

Finally, the Morse site contains a one-step search facility into Ancestry’s Public Records Index, making your search of this database even more functional. First, you must have logged into Ancestry with your paid subscription. Various area libraries, including the Family History Center and UCLA have subscriptions that allow you to do this for free at their facilities.

Phonebook, Reverse Directories & Neighbor Look-ups
Hal Bookbinder [hal@jgsla.org]

Telephone directories have been on line for years. However, some, like [www.anywho.com], require that you start with a specific state. But, many others provide nationwide searches. Check [www.whitepages.com], [www.switchboard.com], [www.411.com] and [www.phonenumber.com].

Each of the directories cited above also offer reverse directories, in which you can enter the phone number and see a listing of all those at that address who are published in the phone directory.

Some offer the names, addresses and phone numbers of neighbors. Since relatives sometimes live near one another, or you just might be curious who lives on your block, you may find this to be a useful tool. [www.whitepages.com] offers this feature. Another advantage of this site is that it allows you to search for a name (including just a surname) across the U.S. and Canada.

For worldwide phone directories, see [www.infobel.com/teldir] and [www.numberway.com]. Directories can be found through these sites for most of the world’s countries, though for some countries, only business listings are available.

HINT: Once you’ve used Ancestry to find potential addresses, some of which are out of date, use an on line phone directory to find which one is the current address and phone number.

Upcoming Meetings

Monday, March 20 th – “Genealogical Resources at the American Jewish Historical Archives,” Nancy Brandt, Valley Cities JCC.
Monday, April 24 th – “Finding Your Family in 18th Century Eastern European Records,” David & Sonia Hoffman, Skirball
Monday, May 15 th – “Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors in Census and Passenger Records, Steve Morse, Skirball
Please check future issues of Dates & Updates and the JGSLA web site [www.jgsla.org] for any scheduling changes.

26th IAJGS International Conference

This coming summer’s conference on Jewish Genealogy will likely be the largest ever. As this goes to press, rooms are filling up fast. In 1999, for the last NY conference, registration had to be cut off and some, who would have liked to have attended, were unable to do so. The conference will be held from August 13-18, 2006, at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, right in the midst of the theatre district. For more information, check [www.jgsny2006.org/].

Sonia Hoffman, President
Pamela Weisberger, Program VP
Hal Bookbinder, Editor

Last Updated March 4, 2006
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