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07 October 2015

36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Even though It was only 3 short months ago that we all gathered together in Jerusalem for the 2015 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, the time has come to begin preparing for the next conference. The 2016 conference, which will be held in August in Seattle, Washington now has its own website up and running, www.iajgs2016.org.
The theme for the Seattle conference is The Wandering Jew. In support of that topic, the organizers have identified 5 different tracts of classes. They are:
  1. The Sephardic Experience in the United States.
  2. European Migrations .
  3. South American, Australian and South African Branches.
  4. Westward Ho! Jews in the Western US.
  5. Coming Home to Israel.

The call for papers for this year's conference has now gone out. More information about that can be found on the website.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State (JGSWS) is the local host chapter this year. They are some of the greatest people you will ever meet and all great Jewish genealogists. It should be another wonderful conference.

05 October 2015

Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991.

It is simply amazing the number the amount of new records that continue to be made public on the various genealogical websites. Thanks to websites such as Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch the amount of information that is at ones fingertips is such a blessing to all looking for their families.
This past week a new database has been added to FamilySearch that will be hopefully for those with families in the state of Missouri. That collection, Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991, contains over 2.5 million images of records from various Missouri counties. Those records include marriages, marriage applications, licenses, and certificates. The records come from multiple sources, including the microfilm collection of FamilySearch and the records of the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City, Missouri. Records will continue to be added as they become available but it is still a wonderful collection now.
The process of searching the collection is very easy. The image below shows the basic search page. I entered the name that I always enter, Cohen, and the search returned 985 results. 


 As I scrolled through those results, I came to one that I was interested in, the marriage of Joseph A. Cohen and his bride Esther Lou Weinstock. I clicked on that entry and I was given a basic transcript page (see below) to view the information.

After I realized this was indeed the entry I wanted I clicked on the "View the original document" to view the original where the information came from. In addition to information on the transcript I was also now able to find the name of the Rabbi who performed the marriage. The original record (below) includes both the application to marry and the marriage license.

A big thanks to all those who make these records available, through their efforts and the efforts of the families researching their own ancestors we are connecting those long lost families.

02 October 2015

Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948

When looking for our ancestors who first came to America, many of us tend to look first at the arrivals into New York City, however not all people entered there. Other ports, such as Baltimore, Boston and Charleston were a few of those locations where are ancestors first saw the country that would be their new home.
Yesterday, Familysearch.org added the Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948. The collection, which includes over 1.6 million records, is name search able. The records are very good and provide wonderful information for researchers. The example below shows three siblings, Chaje, Israel and Jossel Cohen. The record shows they were on their way from Russia to an eventual destination of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to reunite with their brother, Hirsch .

The record shows that they started their journey on the 9th day of November 1905 on board the ship Brandenburg, and arriving in Baltimore on the 23th day of November. The record lists the entire family as Hebrew and gives their last residence. These records are a great source of information for researchers and would be a great source for those who are having a difficult time finding the arrival records of their ancestors.

22 September 2015

United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Passport applications have always been a great source of family information. Since they are filled out by living people who are providing current information regarding their own lives, they tend to be very reliable and a great source for people researching their families.
Familysearch has just added a new collection, United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925, which should make finding these records much easier. The collection, which is a combination of two different National Archives and records Administration (NARA) collections, has over 3 million images of which 1.9 million are indexed.
A great example of the information provided in the applicant is the record of Albert J. Cohen (shown below). From his application we learn that he was born on 31 Oct 1874 in Cairo, Egypt. He is married to Krisanti Cohen who was born in 1881 in Crete and that they have a daughter Mary who was born on the 27th of November 1903, also in Cairo. Further we learn the family arrived in the United States in August 1894 on the S.S. Rotterdam. The application also states that Albert was naturalized a U.S. citizen on 11 Mar 1902 in Charleston, South Carolina.

 As with all databases these passport records are available free of charge at www.familysearch.org

11 September 2015

Rosh Hashanah 2015 (5776)

In the year 2015, Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on Sunday, September 13. It is my hope that it will be a year of peace and happiness for all.

L'shanah tovah tikatev ve'techatem l’alter l'chayim tovim - "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year, for good life immediately."

10 September 2015

The Jews of Peru

The Jewish history of Peru is not as easy to document as other countries in South America. As with the other countries there were probably Jews in Peru as early as the first part of the 16th century with the arrival of Columbus in the New World. Others fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal would also find their way to places such as Peru, but still in fear kept their Jewish blood a secret. The need to keep their Jewish heritage secret began to change at the end of the 18th century
Between the end of the 1700's and the middle of the 1800's, South America began to undergo a change of attitude. They began to be more accepting of the Jewish people and their way of life. This allowed those Jews who were still in hiding to come out of hiding. This they did, and established La Sociedad de Beneficencia, the Jewish community that still exists today. At the time this community was formed there were very few Jews left and those that were left either married out of the faith or continued to practice in secret.
The second wave of immigrants to Peru began to strengthen the Jewish community. These Jews who were mostly merchants, came in the 1870's from many locations throughout Central Europe. Some of these made their money then left to return to Europe.
The third group to come to Peru where also merchants, only this time they came from their homes in North Africa. When they arrived in the late 1800's they became a part of the community but still established their own Synagogues and schools. They like the previous group had many who just wanted to make money then return home, which they did. It wasn't until right before and after World War I, that the immigrants who arrived did so with the intent of staying. These Jews, who were for the most part from places like Syria and Turkey, left to escape countries that were being torn apart by war. Their desire was not to get rich but rather to be safe. They established small communities all over Peru.
After World War II, most of the Jewish community moved backed into Lima, where they built an Ashkenazic synagogue and two Sephardi synagogues. The population of the community reached over 5,000 people by the 1970's. At that time, a new government was elected which brought many restrictions upon all the people of Peru. Many took the opportunity to leave at that time. However, those that stayed continued to have success in their businesses and in government service.

19 August 2015

Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947

Familysearch has recently added another collection that will be very helpful for those with Jewish ancestry in Ontario, CanadaThat database, Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947, contains almost one million entries which are name search able.

The records for the years 1869-1937 include a name index as well as the death registration entries that were filed. The record below (right side of record) is for David Cohen who died in 1916. The place of birth, date of death as well as parents names are given.

For the years 1939-1947 only the overseas death are recorded. The record below, of Lionel Cohen, who died in France on 19 August 1942, is an example of one of those. He was Killed in Action at the age of 30, while  serving his country, leaving a wife Rose behind.

 These records and the vital information contained in them should be a very valuable resource for those with family in Ontario.

29 July 2015

Jerusalem 2015 Another Great Conference

The 2015 Conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) is now complete and what an incredible experience it was. A great team, under the direction of Michael Goldstein, helped the conference become as the advertisement promised, "A Conference Like No Other".  In addition to the many wonderful speakers and activities, the fact that it was held in Jerusalem, truly made this event one that I will never forget. Thank you to all those who helped make this memory possible.
As a first time visitor to Israel, I was not sure what exactly to expect. Waiting for this visit since I was a very young man, I was both excited to experience it all, and yet also worried that it would never meet my expectations. I soon found that I worried about nothing, it was everything I had hoped for and more. The places I visited, and those who I traveled with gave me experiences I'll always treasure, and I can't wait to someday return. To those who gave lectures that taught me something new, and to those who attended my lectures and shared their personal stories with me, thanks for touching my life. I hope to see you all next year in Seattle.