September 2007

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

September 2007

· Monday, September 24, 2007, 7:30 pm ·

When Leopold Met Lena: Marriage, Divorce and Deception
in 1892 New York – Pamela Weisberger




First came love, then came marriage — but on the heels of the baby in the baby carriage came accusations of adultery and two trials in New York City’s Court of Common Pleas. The discovery of a divorce decree in the 1890s New York Times “News of the Courts” leads to scandal-ridden transcripts held at the municipal archives and revelations of a family secret. Beginning in Czestochowa, Poland and Cracow, Austria and continuing on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Little Rock, Arkansas — the tumultuous, romantic and litigious world of our immigrant ancestors is brought to life in court records, graveyard inscriptions, newspaper articles, city directories and more. As Besser v. Besser is deconstructed, learn how present-day genealogical research can be used to solve 19th century mysteries 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 and 2007 film festivals.

Location: Skirball Cultural Center, Magnin Auditorium,
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. , Los Angeles, CA. Exit the San Diego Freeway at Skirball Center Dr. Right onto Sepulveda Blvd. and right again into Skirball parking, opposite Center entrance; or turn left on Herscher Dr., north of the Center, to the underground parking lot.
Library: The JGSLA’s Spiszman Traveling Library, with its collection of genealogical books and member volunteers to assist you, will be on the Magnin Auditorium mezzanine from 7 p.m.

Attendance Fees: Free to JGSLA Members; $5 for guests. No reservations necessary and parking is free.

Member News

We extend our condolences to the family of Dorothy Dellar Kohanski, who passed away on July 17 at 86. Dorothy served for many years as the president of the JGS of Orange County. She is survived by her sons, Ron and Dan, their wives, and five grandchildren. “Mom brought many of us together through her genealogical work. For this, and her abilities to live her life to its fullest, she will be missed,” said Ron and Dan.

Molly Breton passed away on August 10 at the age of 80. We extend our condolences to her sisters, Victoria and Sylvia, her four children, Neil, Rhonda, William and Jana, and her “other” five children, Ronnie, Laura, Martin, Amy and Jane, her 15 grandchildren, and to her many friends in our Society.

Our best to Manny and Adaire Klein who celebrated their 50 th anniversary on Aug 12, 2007.

Research in Belarus

Bobbe Mootchnik writes that she is looking for someone to do research in Gomel, Minsk, Belarus. If anyone has had success and can give her a recommendation, please e-mail her at [].

Canadian Research
Arnold Schwartz

British Colombia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia are 4 out of the 10 Canadian provinces and 3 territories that have vital events indexes available on line. Their archives contain births of over 100 years, marriages over 75 years, and deaths of over 20 years:

[ v_events.htm]




Welcome New Members!

Rona Becker
Saralee Kaufman & Gary Francesconi
Len Shenkin

Holocaust Research
Barbara Algaze, JGSLA Librarian

We have recently re-catalogued a number of Holocaust related books in our JGSLA Library. This way, they are together on the shelves and easier for you to find. Check them out the next time you are at the Family History Center.

  • 1938 Census of Jews Enumerated by the Nazis 940.53 F2n
  • Archives in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein [in German] 1995 940 J54 ai1995
  • Artists of Terezin 940.53 G822a
  • Auschwitz Chronicle (1939-45) 940.53 F2a
  • Bibliography, Books, Publications on the Holocaust 940 A3gg
  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust (3 vols.) 940 H 29ss
  • Encyclopedia of the Holocaust 940.53 F26j
  • Everyday Remembrance Day: a Chronicle of Jewish Martyrdom 940.53 W637E
  • Guide to Unpublished Materials of the Holocaust 940.5318 A3g V.4
  • How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust 940.53 F2mo
  • Holocaust Educational Resources Kit (1933 – 1945) 940.53 D27ws
  • Holocaust Survivor Testimonies (2 vols./English and Polish) 940.5318 F2jhi 2 Vols
  • Indestructible Spirit, The: the “1939” Club 940 H29 zc
  • Jewish Holocaust Survivors 940.5318 F24jh 1992 Part 1, 2, 3.
  • The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million 940.53 F2md
  • National Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors 940.5318 F24jh 1991
  • Register of Jewish Survivors 940.5318 F2ja
  • Rumors and Stones: A Journey 940.53 F2kw
  • Schindler’s Legacy: True Stories of the List Survivors 940.53 F2be
  • World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors 940.5318 F2 wo
  • Yizkor Books contained in Los Angeles Libraries 940.53 F23Ly
  • Yizkor Book of Teachers Who Perished in the Holocaust (Yiddish) 940.5318 F2yb

Ron Arons’ recommended links

Ron Arons gave a talk at the recent IAJGS conference entitled “Using the Internet beyond Jewish Gen and Steve Morse’s Website.” In conjunction with the talk, he provided the following website, which lists many of his favorite links: []

New Jewish resources from

FamilySearch has announced the addition of three new resources to aid Jewish genealogical research, including:

  • Knowles Collection . The Knowles Collection contains information for thousands of Jews from the British Isles. Building on the work of the late Isobel Mordy, the collection links individuals into family groups. More names are added continuously.
  • Finding Jewish Records . In-depth guide to tracing Jewish ancestors from the U.S. to Europe between 1850 to 1930. Follow the steps to identify a birthplace or place of origin.
  • Jewish Genealogy Research Outline (revised). Helpful guide to records and research strategies focusing on Jewish family history.


Member News Input

Please help us acknowledge our members’ major life events, such as births, marriages, illnesses and passings. Send your tips and member news to Hal Bookbinder, Dates & Updates editor [].


A visit to the vault
Hal Bookbinder

Many of us have heard of “The Vault,” in which the Genealogical Society of Utah stores the masters of nearly 3 million microfilms. But few have had the opportunity to visit the facility carved into the side of a granite mountain in Little Cottenwood Canyon, 20 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Tours were discontinued years ago.

Thanks to the persistence of Robert Neu, president of the Utah JGS, a tour was arranged for a number of international archivists who participated in the 27 th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy this past July. As conference co-chair I was certainly not going to miss this!

On entering the facility, one sees a long hallway which runs along the edge of the mountain. In it and some attached short tunnels, workers produce copies for distribution, create new masters, catalogue films, and conduct a massive effort to digitize the films they possess. Their goal is 60 million digitized frames this year increasing to 200 million next year as they increase the number of digitizing workstations to 15. They have set aside space for 25 stations. So, they should eventually be able to digitize well over 300 million frames per year. But, with an estimated 3 billion frames of film, and more coming in every day from over 100 photographic teams around the world still using conventional photography it will be many years before the whole collection is digitized. So, they first focus on the films most in demand. The digitizing technology is amazing.

On leaving the work area, one passes through a 17-ton steel bank vault type door to enter the storage tunnels. There the temperature remains constant near 57 °F., and humidity hovers between 40% and 60%. Six tunnels are set aside for storage of microfilm and currently hold over 2.8 million rolls neatly stored in long rows of ten-foot-high cabinets. When the facility opened in the late 1960’s the projection was to run out of space in 30 years. But with digitization this has been repeatedly set back. Over 40 filming teams are currently capturing their images directly into digital format and as time goes by more of the teams will switch to digital technology. They now project that it will take at least 40 more years to fill the available space. And, in all likelihood, this date will continue to be set back.