Date: January 24, 2021

Event: Jewish Ethnicity & DNA: History, Migration, Genetics

Guest Speaker: Schelly Talalay Dardashti and Maria Apodoca

Bio:  Schelly Talalay Dardashti is a journalist, genealogist, and founder of the award-winning “Tracing the Tribe – Jewish Genealogy on Facebook” (37,000+ members/101-countries). She is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com 

Schelly was an early proponent of DNA for genealogy, and co-admins several DNA projects at FamilyTreeDNA.  She has traced her Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi roots  across Europe and the Middle East for more than 35 years. Her articles have appeared in JTA, Reform Judaism, Hadassah, NGS Quarterly, Avotaynu, and numerous Jewish and general genealogy publications. Schelly is a founding member, Centro Sefarad NM (New Mexico); president, JGS of New Mexico; and media coordinator, Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies. 

Maria Apodaca’s family has been in New Mexico since arriving with the Juan Onate expedition in 1598. She was born and raised a Catholic in Albuquerque before finding out, at 14, her family’s true heritage. She made her return to Judaism in 1999 and is active in many Jewish organizations. Her affiliations include: founding member and event coordinator, Centro Sefarad NM; 

vice  president, Jewish Genealogical Society of New Mexico; outreach coordinator, Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies; and member, New Mexico Jewish Historical Society. She shares her personal story and the Sephardic saga, as a speaker (since 2016) for the Road Scholars program.

Date: February 7, 2021

Event: Beginning Genealogy Jewish Research

Guest Speaker: J.D. Arden, CJH

Description: Best paid and free databases for U.S. Records, search for your ancestors in U.S. birth, marriage, & death records, census records, immigration & naturalization records, etc. The New York Public Library is currently offering New York residents free access to these databases from home. To get an online library card, visit nypl.org/books-music-movies/ebookcentral/simplye. If you already have a library card, open these databases at nypl.org/collections/articles-databases. Ancestry.com: Search for your ancestors in many types of U.S. records. Newspapers.com: Search for your ancestors in U.S. historical newspapers and obituaries.

Bio:  J.D. Arden is the Reference and Genealogy Librarian at the Center for Jewish History and teaches (online now) for LIU-Post. (Long Island University Post). He graduated with a Master’s from Pratt Institute’s Information School, and with a Bachelor’s from Brandeis University. He writes for the CJH blog at cjh.org/blog/JD-Arden and is one of the co-hosts of the live video series “Genealogy Coffee Break” on Facebook. He brings training opportunities in Sign Language to CJH staff out of personal interest and to make our work more accessible. 

Date: February 14, 2021

Event: Advanced Genealogy Research with Focus on Research in Other Countries

Guest Speaker: J.D. Arden, CJH

Description:  This presentation focuses on research strategies while exploring ancestral countries, towns and regions, indexers, directories, databases and documents from the “old country”.

 Bio:  J.D. Arden is the Reference and Genealogy Librarian at the Center for Jewish History and teaches (online now) for LIU-Post. (Long Island University Post). He graduated with a Master’s from Pratt Institute’s Information School, and with a Bachelor’s from Brandeis University. He writes for the CJH blog at cjh.org/blog/JD-Arden and is one of the co-hosts of the live video series “Genealogy Coffee Break” on Facebook. He brings training opportunities in Sign Language to CJH staff out of personal interest and to make our work more accessible. 

Date: March 14, 2021

Event: Research Jewish Genealogical Resources on the Internet

Guest Speaker: Daniel Horowitz

Check out the latest MyHeritage innovations to expand your research! Explore advanced MyHeritage features that will enhance your family tree and make the most of your DNA results. Learn more about the Pedigree Tree, Pedigree Map™, Tree Consistency Checker, the Theory of Family Relativity™, AutoClusters, and many more.

BIO:   Dedicated to Genealogy since 1986, Daniel was the teacher and the study guide editor of the family history project “Searching for My Roots” in Venezuela for 15 years. He was a board  member of The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) for 10 years, now  is involved in several crowdsource digitization and transcription projects, and holds a board-level  position at The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). Since 2006 Daniel has been working at MyHeritage liaising with genealogy societies, bloggers, and media, as well as lecturing, and  attending conferences around the world.

Date: April 18, 2021

Event: DNA Basics and Beyond

Guest Speaker: David Ellis

Description: Are you considering taking a DNA test? Have you taken a DNA test to learn about your ancestry?  Are you confused by the results?  This presentation covers the kinds of tests available, the major DNA testing services and the differences between them, and how to interpret your results to get the most out of them.  Learn about Jewish genealogy DNA challenges. 

Bio: David Ellis is JGSGB Board member and leader of the Litvak and Galicia SIGs.   He discovered dozens of ancestors unknown to his relatives and initiated contact with distant cousins who were out of touch for many years.  He enjoys helping people research their ancestry and is writing a document describing his research.

Date: May 2, 2021

Event: Advanced MyHeritage Jewish Genealogical Resources 

Guest Speaker: Daniel Horowitz

Check out the latest MyHeritage innovations to expand your research! Explore advanced MyHeritage features that will enhance your family tree and make the most of your DNA results. Learn more about the Pedigree Tree, Pedigree Map™, Tree Consistency Checker, the Theory of Family Relativity™, AutoClusters, and many more.

BIO:   Dedicated to Genealogy since 1986, Daniel was the teacher and the study guide editor of the family history project “Searching for My Roots” in Venezuela for 15 years. He was a board  member of The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) for 10 years, now  is involved in several crowdsource digitization and transcription projects, and holds a board-level  position at The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). Since 2006 Daniel has been working at MyHeritage liaising with genealogy societies, bloggers, and media, as well as lecturing, and  attending conferences around the world.

Date:  June 6, 2021

Event: A Taste of Jewish Genealogy in Poland

Guest Speaker: Tomasz Cebulski

Description: Tomasz  joins us from Krakow for this program on why, when, and how to

conduct genealogical research. Tomasz will share his favorite online resources before

demonstrating how he combines research, maps, photography, video and drone
documentation in search of Polish Jewry. We will make a virtual visit to Brzesko in
former Galicia, once a vibrant center of Jewish life.

Bio: Tomasz Cebulski Ph.D., has worked professionally as a Jewish genealogist for ever 20-years perfecting his knowledge on archival resources in Poland and Central Europe.

He is a scholar in genocide studies and changing patterns of Holocaust and Auschwitz memory. Tomasz is a historical memory analyst, guide and author of “Auschwitz after Auschwitz”. He is the founder of Polin Travel and Sky Heritage Pictures.

Date: July 18, 2021

Event: The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe 

Guest Speaker:   Hal Bookbinder

Description:  As Russia expanded west, it absorbed millions of Jews. This talk examines Russiaʼs efforts to limit the Jews in its territories and the associated border changes impacting our ancestors. With them, town names, record-keeping and archive locations might change. This overview may help researchers in determining where records might be located, their format and languages. The JewishGen Town Finder and the Encyclopedia Judaica are two excellent resources for determining in what country your town was located at specific times

Bio:  Hal writes and lectures extensively on diverse genealogical topics, including border changes, migration, citizenship, safe computing, Jewish culture and Jewish history. He has identified over 4,000 relatives reaching back to the mid-1700s in modern Ukraine. Other roots reach into adjacent areas of Moldova, Poland, Belarus and Russia. He has served as president of the IAJGS and has been honored with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Professionally, he is a retired healthcare IT director and currently a university instructor.

Date: August 22, 2021

Never Give Up – Strategies for Taking Your Genealogy Research to theNext Level and Finding the Previously Unfindable

Guest Speaker: Marion Werle

Description: This completely updated talk is a collection of problem-solving strategies to maximize your research efforts. Topics include maximizing web searches, multiple search strategies, using non-indexed records, going beyond what is online, using research logs, names and name variations, strategies for researching common names, the role of geography, revisiting old

research with new eyes, obtaining the most out of the records you find, alternate approaches to solving genealogical problems, and the importance of persistence in genealogical research.

Bio: Marion Werle began family history research 25 years ago, researching family from Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus, who settled in the US, Canada, UK, and Israel. She has been on the boards of JGSLA and JGSCV (Conejo Valley/Ventura County) and is a past president and founding member of the Latvia SIG (Special Interest Group). She is currently on the board of the revitalized JewishGen Latvia Research Division. A retired IT professional with masterʼs degrees in both European History and Library Science from

UCLA, she has written two unpublished family histories. One, The Skuders from Skud, traces her Litvak grandmotherʼs family. She successfully completed the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate and recently completed the ProGen study group. She has an ongoing interest in applying general genealogical methodology standards to Jewish research. She is a member of the JewishGen Latvia and Belarus Research Divisions, as well as the Litvak SIG. Marion has also spoken at several IAJGS conferences and local genealogical societies in the Southern California area. She was a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society Writers Group for several years, which gave her the opportunity to hone her family history writing skills.

Date: September 19, 2021

Event: Belarus: Jewish History & Research Strategy in the Archives

Guest Speaker:  Yuri Dorn, Coordinator of Jewish Heritage

Research Group in Belarus

Description:: This presentation includes a Jewish history of Belarus plus research tips and techniques. Including an overview of available documents such as: family lists, revision lists , censuses, metric, draft , homeowners, and business owners. Other documents include- foreign passports, voter registration, ship manifest and tombstone inscriptions.

Bio: Yuri Dorn is a well known genealogist, specializing in Jewish genealogy and ancestral tourism to Belarus. He founded Jewish Heritage Research Group in 2002, which consists of professional historians, genealogists and certified English speaking guides. Yuri and his staff are not only working in Belorusian archives and arranging ancestral tours to Belarus, but they also put a lot of efforts into restoration and preservation of Jewish heritage in Belarus.

Date: October 22, 2021

Event:  O’ Canada! Researching Your Canadian Jewish Ancestors from Afar

Guest Speaker:   Marion Werle

Description: This presentation concentrates on internet-based Canadian family research that can be done from virtually anywhere. The focus is on the major years of Jewish immigration to Canada after 1880 and ranges from Jewish farming settlements in the Canadian West to immigration to larger cities. The presentation covers the major sources of Canadian genealogical records – government, general genealogy websites, educational and other institutions – and includes ship manifests, naturalization records, Canadian census and census substitutes, city directories, voter lists, 1940 residence records, Jewish communal institutions, vital records, cemetery data, military records and local histories.

Bio: Marion Werle began family history research 25 years ago, researching family from Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus, who settled in the US, Canada, UK, and Israel. She has been on the boards of JGSLA and JGSCV (Conejo Valley/Ventura County) and is a past president and founding member of the Latvia SIG (Special Interest Group). She is currently on the board of the revitalized JewishGen Latvia Research Division. A retired IT professional with masterʼs degrees in both European History and Library Science from

UCLA, she has written two unpublished family histories. One, The Skuders from Skud, traces her Litvak grandmotherʼs family. She successfully completed the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate and recently completed the ProGen study group. She has an ongoing interest in applying general genealogical methodology standards to Jewish research. She is a member of the JewishGen Latvia and Belarus Research Divisions, as well as the Litvak SIG. Marion has also spoken at several IAJGS conferences and local genealogical societies in the Southern California area. She was a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society Writers Group for several years, which gave her the opportunity to hone her family history writing skills.

Sunday, November 14, 2021, 1pm Pacific Time

Guest Speaker: Risa Daitzman Heywood, Professional Genealogist

The Power of the Catalog – Unindexed Records and How to Find Them

Did you know that over 75% of the records available on FamilySearch cannot be accessed by a simple records search? Did you know that Ancestry has record collections that are available to browse but that cannot be searched because they are not yet indexed? While digitizing records is relatively fast and inexpensive, indexing those records is much costlier. Many online repositories have made these records available for browsing but working with them can be a challenge. This presentation will show you how to find and use these unindexed records to greatly enhance your research.

About Risa Daitzman Heywood

Risa Daitzman Heywood has been involved with Jewish genealogy for over 25 years.  She is Past-President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado, served as co-chair of the original Belarus SIG, travelled to Belarus as a JewishGen Shtetl Now defunct) liaison.  Risa earned a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University, and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and adheres to its Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.

Sunday, December 12, 2021, 1pm Pacific Time

Guest Speaker:  Nolan Altman

The Importance of Patronymic Naming and Cemetery Research   

Headstone inscriptions provide one of the most important tools for those researching their Jewish genealogical history, patronymic naming. This presentation will familiarize the attendees with the evolution of family surnames and the practice of patronymic naming. Also, a trip to the cemetery:  including symbols and how to understand Hebrew inscriptions.

About Nolan Altman

Nolan Altman was bit by the “genealogy bug” when he was inspired to write his family history in 1996 in memory of his mother. After  making use of the valuable information on  JewishGen, he volunteered to do data entry on  various projects. In time, he was asked to become the Coordinator for JewishGen’s Holocaust Database and subsequently the  Coordinator for the JOWBR (JewishGen’s Online  Worldwide Burial Registry) project. Nolan works with volunteers from around the world helping to grow both data-bases for the benefit of family members and researchers. Nolan currently holds the position of JewishGen’s Vice President for Data Acquisition and will focus on growing the JOWBR, Holocaust databases and JewishGen’s new Memorial Plaque project. He is currently on the board of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) and was President of JGSLI (Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island), where he coordinates their  Yearbook, Cemetery, and Memorial Plaque projects. Nolan is also a member of the JGS of New York. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022, 1pm Pacific Time 

Guest speaker, Alex Krakovsky

Jewish Documents Kept by Ukrainian Archives

Alex Krakovsky is a Jewish Ukrainian born in Kyiv. He is using the Freedom of Information laws and the court system in Ukraine to force archives to allow him to scan records.  Alex became interested in learning about his roots after his mother’s death in 2011. He found references to his grandfather, whom the family knew almost nothing about in a book and some documents at the archive in Zhytomyr.  He was asked to pay 116,000 hryvnia (about $4,600) for copies of the documents! He refused and continued to refuse until the archives decreased the fee to $2, which he paid. Alex later sued the archive, winning back his $2 plus an additional 100 hryvnia ($4) for the hassle the archive put him through.  

The case also changed Alex’s life. With no formal legal training, he has become a litigation machine—a hero of sorts to frustrated researchers and genealogists. Alex has sued more than a dozen archives with the goal of bringing Ukraine’s archives up to European standards. Among other things, he advocates for the publishing of inventories online so that people know what is in the archives. This would also help prevent the illegal sale of archival materials, which he suspects is ongoing. He also agitates for the right to freely photograph documents.

Alex has not lost a single case to date. He often wins, citing constitutional precedent. Recently, he faced his most powerful adversary. Alex filed suit against Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice. The Ministry has the state archives under its wing and issued a June 2018 order barring the copying of documents larger than letter-size, files thicker than 1 ½ inches, old printed books, listings of documents, and basically anything a researcher or genealogist might need to see.

About Alex Krakovsky

Alex was born at a very young age in 1982 in Kyiv. He graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in 2005 with a degree in Flexible Computer Systems. He has been actively doing genealogy since 2011.

Alex has been digitizing records in Ukrainian Archives, including Jewish metrical books and other vital records, school records, revision lists, poll tax censuses, and more.  He then posts the records online to a wiki page which yields a massive amount of raw data for those interested in Ukrainian research. Alex uses high resolution scanning equipment to scan virtually all records in an archive. He has spent a great deal of time and his own money doing this important work and he is constantly battling a very difficult government system. Alex has received donations for the purchase of state-of-the-art scanners, which are now in use in most Ukraine archives.

You can access his main wiki page at Ukraine Document Wiki  (use the Google Chrome browser to view Alex’s link (as it can translate this Ukrainian Wikipedia page). 

Sunday, February 6, 2022, 1pm Pacific Time 

Guest speaker, Robinn Magid

Finding your Eastern European Jewish Family on JRI-Poland.org

Join us for a presentation of some truly memorable stories from the JRI-Poland.org case file that highlight what this incredible database and website might do for your own research. For 25 years, JRI-Poland has served as the preferred finding aid for the Jewish records that survive in the archives of Poland today. This vast collection of 6.2 million records from over 550 towns includes information about towns and families from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Germany and the former territories of Galicia and Prussia. Through understanding the contents of the database and how to improve your search results to exploring preserved Holocaust-related records, this lecture will focus on the good things that can come out of a genealogical search. Come listen to stories of the people we’ve helped in the hope that you’ll get a useful new idea from our more surprising experiences.

About Robinn

Magid Robinn Magid is the Assistant Director of JRI-Poland.org and a recent recipient of the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award. She recently became the project manager of the JRI-Poland “NextGen Project” to redesign the JRI-Poland website, search engine and database. She a frequent speaker and writer on Jewish genealogy topics.

As the Lublin Area Projects Coordinator, she is responsible for coordinating the indexing of Jewish vital records for approximately 100 towns. Robinn’s genealogical work resulted in her being recognized by the City of Lublin, Poland – her grandmother’s hometown – with a medal from the mayor for inspiring the future and cultural identity of that city of 450,000 people on Lublin’s 700th birthday in 2017. Robinn has spoken at many IAJGS conferences on behalf of JRI-Poland and has served as the chair of two groundbreaking conferences: IAJGS 2018 Warsaw, Poland conference, and the IAJGS 2020 Virtual Conference on Jewish Genealogy. She is a member of the San Francisco – Bay Area JGS and has spoken to her group and to other societies. Robinn is sheltering-at-home in Berkeley, California with her husband, four children and new daughter-in-law!

Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 1pm Pacific Time 

Guest Speaker: Todd Knowles

Using FamilySearch for Jewish Research

The Family History Library has an extensive collection of Jewish records. Understanding what is there and how best to access it, is vital to having a successful search. The Jewish records in the collection of FamilySearch can best be obtained through the Family History Library catalog. 

There are multiple ways to search the catalog and to find the records, and in this presentation, we will learn how to best do that. We will discuss the best way to find our Jewish ancestors from all parts of Family Search. 

About Todd Knowles

Todd Knowles, AG, is a Deputy Chief Genealogist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT. After being introduced to family history at the age of 12, he soon discovered his Jewish roots. The journey to find these Polish Jews has led to the creation of the Knowles Collection (knowlescollection.blogspot.com), which contains the records of over 1.4 million Jews, and is now part of FamilySearch.org. Todd is Past President of the Utah Jewish Genealogical Society (UJGS)and currently a Trustee of the International Society of British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH). Todd has spoken throughout the world, and his articles have been widely published.

NEW!   Extra In-Person Double Presentation  

 Sunday, April 3,  1pm Pacific Time Zone in Santa Cruz, CA

Guest Speaker:  Steve Morse

One-Step Webpages: A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools

The One-Step website started out as an aid for finding passengers in the Ellis Island database.  Shortly afterwards it  was expanded to help with searching in the 1930 census.  Over the years it has continued to evolve and today includes  about 300 web-based tools divided into 16 separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations to last-minute bidding on e-bay.  This presentation will describe the   range of tools available and give the highlights of each one.

Getting Ready for the 1950 Census:

Searching with and without a Name Index. When the 1950 census will be released in April 2022, it will not have a name index. So finding people in the census will involve searching by location instead. Even when a name index becomes available, there will still be many reasons for  doing locational searches.  The census is organized by Enumeration Districts (EDs), so the location needs to be converted  to an ED before the census can be accessed. The One-Step website contains numerous tools for obtaining EDs. This talk will present the various tools and show circumstances in which each can be used.

About Steve Morse

 Steve Morse, creator of the “One-Step” web pages, has been a mainstay of genealogy research, inventing many tools that ease research work for both the novice and the experienced genealogist. He managed to get EllisIsland.org to use his approach in order to ease research on that site and has developed special tools that help handle data as each new U.S. census has been released. For details on his enormous number of research aids, see his website at stevemorse.org.

Sunday, April 24, 2022, 1pm Pacific Time 

Guest Speaker:  Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz

“I Found My Village! Now What?” Locating Vital Records in Poland Using

Online Resources Description: Finding vital records for one’s family in Poland is a critical step in exploring our

Polish ancestry, but can sometimes be confusing. After a brief overview of the Polish partitions to introduce beginners to the history and geography of Poland, Julie will illustrate the use of church records, passenger manifests, naturalization records, and other documents from U.S. sources, to determine one’s ancestral village accurately. She’ll suggest resources and strategies to help you decipher misspelled place names, and discuss the next steps in your research: determining the parish and civil registry office using gazetteers, and obtaining birth,

marriage and death records. Julie will rely heavily on online sources throughout her presentation, and show how you can trace your Polish ancestry without having to cross the ocean.

About Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz

Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz  is a genealogist, writer, and speaker with nearly 30 years of experience in researching her family’s origins in Poland, Germany, the U.S. and Canada. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the State University of New York in Buffalo

and a master’s degree in endocrinology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her passion for genealogical research started when she was a graduate student, after she was given a copy of her great-grandparents’ marriage record as a gift. After reading the names of a previously- unknown generation of ancestors on that document, she was hooked. She currently volunteers as administrator and regular contributor to a number of genealogy-related Facebook groups, and serves as Secretary for the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts. Her articles have

been published in the journals of the Polish Genealogical Society of America and the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts, and she is also the author of a genealogy blog, From Shepherds and Shoemakers. Julie currently resides in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, with her husband and their youngest daughter.

Sunday, May 22, 2022, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Guest Speaker:  Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah, PhD 

 

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