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The Newsletter of The Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay (JGSTB)
Volume 1, Issue 2
April - June, 2005
William E. Israel, Editor (

A Message From Your President
Bill Israel

Welcome to the second quarterly issue of "Looking Back".  We were pleased with some positive feedback from our first issue, but we did not receive very many suggestions when we asked for ideas for a more appropriate name for this newsletter.  "Genealogy STAR" (presumably with a six-pointed star logo) and "Genealogy Sunshine" were suggested.  My own thoughts included "Roots & Branches" or perhaps "Roots, Branches & Twigs".  Then I thought of "Pedigrees & Family Trees" but that seemed too contrived.  Most of the other catchy titles I like are already being used by other JGS's.  Finally I came up with the "The Lost Tribe Seeker" and thought that was a catchy title that conveys what it is we do.  What do you think of changing the name of this publication from "Looking Back" to "The Lost Tribe Seeker?"  I am still open for newsletter name suggestions, but meanwhile, we are still "Looking Back."  If no one comes up with a better name, our next issue may be titled "The Lost Tribe Seeker." 

I am  looking for articles, information, tips and ideas from our offices and members.  Please share your thoughts with us.

So far this year, we not only have a new newsletter, but we also have a new web page.  With many thanks to our JGS Webmaster, Clint Elbow, our very own web page can now be found at <>.  Like our newsletter, this too is a work in progress, and we will be adding to it and enhancing it for a while - maybe forever - but take a look at it, and add it to your favorites for future reference.  There you will find our current and future program announcements, an archive of past programs, a complete listing of our library holdings, and other items of interest.   A logo is in the works, and we hope to soon add a membership directory.  Keep watching as we keep adding.  Tell us what you would like to see at the web site, and we will see what Clint can do about it.  Clint is a busy boy, as he is also our featured program presenter for May.  Come to the May meeting to hear Clint tell us all about JewishGen, the premiere web site for Jewish Genealogical research.

An area where we can really use some input from our members is in programming.  We try to bring you programs of interest each month, but we are just guessing as to what types of programs it will take to deserve your attendance and to attract new members.  Please let us have your ideas for future programs.  Tell us what you want, and we will do our best to make it happen.

May Program

WhenSunday, May 15, 2005 at 2:00 P.M. (1:30 Registration & Refreshments)
Where: Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, 14041 Icot Blvd., Clearwater, Florida

Cost:  Free

JewishGen is THE premiere website and the official home of Jewish genealogical research on the Internet. It is affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, and it provides access to millions of genealogical records as well as links to hundreds of related web sites. Staffed by 5 full time employees and thousands of volunteers who are continually adding new and improved resources, JewishGen is the beginning point for anyone researching ancestors of Jewish heritage, and many of its resources are of value for non-Jewish research as well.

This program will provide a summary review of JewishGen and a more detailed description and demonstration of the major features of this website. The presentation will cover:
  • How to access JewishGen
  • How to find ancestors on JewishGen
  • How to connect with other people who are researching the same names and towns as you are
  • Other tools, resources and special interest groups on JewishGen
Clint Elbow is a member of JGSTB and a valuable contributor who previously gave an excellent presentation to us on the use of Google as a genealogy research tool. Clint works as a Business Systems Analyst, and he has put his computer related experience to use in his own genealogy research.

  • June 12 - "Breaking Through Brick Walls" - In this working session a panel of experienced genealogists will assist those who have bumped into dead ends and don't know what to do next.  We encourage you to describe your problem in advance of the meeting by writing it up and sending it to <> to give our experts a head start on how best to help you.  Time permitting, we will also work to solve problems presented from the floor at the meeting, but pre-submitted ones will have first priority.
  • July 10 - "Library Resources at the Largo Library"- This will be a hands-on working session using the Largo Library's considerable genealogical resources and featuring the most recent additions to their collection.  Our JGS Mentors will be on hand to provide guided assistance.  (Note: the date of this session may be changed as several of our members and mentors will be attending the IAJGS Conference in Las Vegas at that time)
  • August 14 - "Library Resources at the John F. Germany (Main) Tampa Library" - This will also be a hands-on working session with our mentors to guide you at the main Tampa Library which has added extensively to its already large genealogical resources collection.  The most recent additions will be featured.
  • September 11 - "Show & Tell" (or "Kvell & Kvetch") - Members will have an opportunity to brag about and show off and share their success stories with the rest of the members, or they can complain about their failures.  Priority will be given to those who reserve speaking time in advance of the meeting.
  • October 9 - No Meeting is Scheduled - Our regular meeting date falls in the middle of the Jewish High Holidays.  We may push the meeting date back, so stay tuned.
  • November 13 - "The Jewish History of Pinellas County" - Hank Koren will feature the findings from his extensive research into documenting the Jewish history of Pinellas Country, Florida.  Dr. Koren will have published his several hundred page book on this subject by then.
  • December 11 - "Year End Social and Election of Officers" - This will be our social event of the year with food and fun in a friendly setting with an opportunity to mix and mingle with your fellow JGS members and get to know new members.  This social will be the reward for all your hard work in 2005.

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference
Early Bird Registration is extended until May 8th - Sign up now for a discount!

The 25th IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas from July 10-15.  The conference web site for information and registration is:

Several members of the JGSTB are planning to attend.  Bill & Sally Israel, Emil Isaacson, Larry and Flo Blum are going for sure, and a few others are "on the fence" in deciding.  Anyone registering by May 8th will receive a significant discount on the registration fee.  This is your last call for the discount!  Call Bill or Sally Israel at 727-343-1652, or email us at <> to let us know if you will be attending.

President.................Bill Israel.....     
First Vice President......Mark Baron......
Second Vice President.....Emil Isaacson...
Secretary.................Bettylou Rosen..
Treasurer.................Larry Blum......

Membership & Hospitality..Al Koenig.......
Programs..................Mark Baron......
                          Debbe Hagner....
Publicity.................Sally Israel....
Web Master................Clint Elbow.....
Library...................Emil Isaacson...
                          Florence Blum...
We can always use more committee help.  You pick where you'd like to work, or we will find a place for you.  Call Bill Israel at 727-343-1652, or email him at <>  to volunteer.  Volunteers will surely be rewarded in heaven!

Only $25 per year for a single or family membership
We  welcome guests at our meetings, and we do not charge for attendance, but we hope those who visit us will want to become a member and contribute to supporting our programs, our library and our activities.
Bill Balter
Mark Baron
Larry & Florence Blum
Steve Brown
Jack Wolf & Beryle Buchman Wolf
Carol Chesler
Irving Edelson
Clint Elbow
Mel & Elsie Estroff
Dee Fulton
Elinor Gordon
Debbe Hagner
Lora Holt
Emil Isaacson
Bill & Sally Israel
Martin Kessler
Alan & Sharon Koenig
Irving Levine
Jeffery Myers
Bettylou Rosen
Rita Rubin
Paul & Ruth Weitzenkoorn      
Harold & Margaret Ziegler
Linda Zolinsky

Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay


Annual dues are $25 for an individual or a family. 
Make your check payable to JGSTB.  Mail check and completed application information (below) to:

William Israel, President JGSTB
2015 Dolphin Blvd. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33707





Genealogy Software Review

Which program will allow you to maximize your genealogy research efforts?  This site, Genealogy Software Review, evaluates and reports on 13 genealogy software programs available in the marketplace to better assess your genealogy software needs so you can make an educated decision about which solution will work best for you.  Note that the comparison matrix shows only ten programs.  You will need to go to the leftmost column and click on the names of the last 3 programs on the list to see their evaluations.  DoroTree (#7 on the list) is evaluated for Jewish genealogists. 

One widely used program not mentioned in this review is the LDS Church's Personal Ancestral File (PAF) which is available as a free download from FamilySearch at <>.  PAF comes in several versions, and the latest one, version 5.2, is very full featured.

For those Macintosh users among us (like me!), there are a couple of Mac versions of genealogy software too.  The best-known genealogy program for the Mac is "Reunion", now in its eighth version. It costs $99 and is from Leister Productions, at It supports the Gedcom standard for genealogy data and is able to import the basic information from your Windows program, if that program can export its data in the Gedcom file format.  As one who has owned and used all eight editions of Reunion for the Mac, I have been well satisfied with each version and even happier with each updated edition.  And as an ambidextrous computer user (I have two Macs and a PC) I can attest to the ease of creating and exchanging Gedcom files between Reunion on a Mac and PAF on a PC.  

A German company called OnlyMac Software offers another Mac genealogy program, called MacFamilyTree, at e.html. It costs $49, is also compliant with the Gedcom standard, and should be able to import the information from your current program. Both Reunion and MacFamilyTree are available in free demo versions you can try before you buy. I have not used MacFamilyTree, so I can't make a recommendation on that one, but it is good to know that there is more than one Mac genealogy program on the market. 

There is also an older version of PAF (version 2.3.1) for the Mac, called MacPAF that has been around since 1996 and is still available from FamilySearch for $6.  It only works with MAC OS 9 and earlier, but it is still a viable program for those with older Macs.  A full description of it is at <>.

Avotaynu's List of Internet World Wide Web Sites For Jewish Genealogy Research

Avotaynu has compiled a comprehensive list of 54 web sites for Jewish genealogical research.  While not exhaustive, the list is extensive and varied.  This web site listing is organized into the following categories: General Jewish Genealogy Information, Databases, Other Jewish Genealogy Related Sites, Telephone Directories, Archives, Libraries and Government Agencies, Maps and Locating Shtetls, and General Genealogy Sites.


Lewis Kessler's Jewish Genealogy Links

Even more extensive than the Avotaynu list above is the Lewis Kessler listing of Jewish Genealogy links.  There are thousands of web pages out there of interest to Jewish Genealogists.  Lewis Kessler's list is made up of the pages he thinks are of greatest use to the most people.  Kessler's site is organized as follows:

  1. The JewishGen Site
  2. The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies
  3. Avotaynu, Inc.
  4. The Federation of East European Family History Societies
  5. Beth-Hatefutsoth
  6. Other Research Facilities for Jewish Genealogy
  7. Holocaust Sites
  8. Jewish Genealogical Conferences
  9. Other Useful Jewish Genealogy Pages


Here is an innovative approach the Argentine JGS is using to prevent automatic spammers from being able to use email addresses that are posted at the IAJGS website where it is possible for these addresses to be found by an automatic address finder.  The Argentine JGS email addresses will use <at> as a substitute for @ and <dot> as a substitute for "."  Using this scheme, our JGS email address - - would be shown as jgstb<at>tampabay<dot>rr<dot>com.  An address of this type requires manual reentry in the standard form before it can be used, but it will defeat an automated system that steals and abuses addresses.  What is gained in privacy and security is lost in ease-of-use and convenience.  You cannot just click on an address modified in this way to send an email.  You must manually enter the address to use it.

At some point in the future we intend to publish our JGS membership directory including email addresses in this newsletter and at our website so our members will know how to communicate with each other.  When we publish your email address, we can offer to protect it in this way if you wish us to do so.   Our thinking is that we will recode addresses only upon individual requests made to jgstb@tampabay.rr. com.  The reason for requiring a request to treat your email address this way is because the choice is yours on trading off ease-of-use and convenience for privacy and security.  Since we have not done this yet, your comments are welcome as to what you think of this spam protection scheme.  Let us hear from you on this.

(with thanks to Deanna Ramsey and the Florida State GS for compiling the information from which these were extracted)


DATE:  May 15, 2005
SOCIETY:   Jewish Genealogical Society of Southwest Florida
LOCATION:  Flanzer Jewish Community Center, 582 S. McIntosh Road, Sarasota , FL
SPEAKER:  Rosalie Leon
TOPIC:  Pot Luck Luncheon with "Jewish Soul Music"


DATE: May 22, 2005
SOCIETY:  The Jewish Genealogical Society of Tallahassee
LOCATION:  820 Live Oak Plantation Road in Tallahassee, FL
SPEAKER: Carl Rubin
TOPIC:  Florida's Yulee Levy Family - Moses Yulee Levy was an abolitionist who attempted to create a Jewish colony and refuge for European Jews. His son, David Yulee Levy, was Florida's first Senator in the federal Senate and became a leader in the Confederacy.
CONTACT:  Charles Nam at (850) 850-385-3323 or


DATE: May 25, 2005
SOCIETY:  Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami, Inc.
LOCATION:  Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 NE 30th Avenue, Aventura, FL
SPEAKER:  Yale J. Reisner (Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, Warsaw)
TOPIC:  "A Most Extraordinary Situation" - Genealogical Adventures in Poland
COST:   Members $5.00 - Non-Members $10.00
CONTACT:  Barbara Musikar at (305) 868-9226 or


DATE:  May 26, 2005
SOCIETY: Central Florida Genealogical Society
TIME:  1:30 p.m.
LOCATION:  Herndon Branch, Orange County Library System, East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL
SPEAKER:  Paul Enchelmayer
TOPIC:  "Digital Tools for Family Photo Restoration - a Demonstration" Tips and examples of how to restore old documents and photos.
CONTACT: Elaine Powell, President, CFGS (407) 282-5171 or


Surname Project - Group Research by Dr. Alexander Beider
Dr. Alexander Beider, the renowned onomastician (a person who studies the origins and forms of proper names) and who has compiled the authoritative works on Jewish Surnames has agreed to do a group project for the BREST, BELARUS RESEARCH SIG.

He is going to help identify the history and etymology (explanation of Jewish Surnames meant and how they sounded). Dr. Beider is going to be doing this project on any Surname that is given to him.  Should you want to participate in this Surname Project the cost will be only US $18.85 for each Surname that is researched. This low price is because we will be grouping together many people in this single Surname Project. The US $18.95 per Surname is a very small amount to pay if you obtain one piece of additional information about your ancestral Surname(s). However there is always a caveat, please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will learn anything new.

Acceptance into this Surname Project will close on May 20, 2005. Send an e-mail to Larry Schenker at <LPSCA@EARTHLINK.NET> listing the Surname(s) that you would want to have researched and the method with which you would like to pay – US Dollar Check or via PayPal. Payment is due immediately upon receipt of an invoice.  An invoice will be sent to you. People, who want to use PayPal, will be charged an additional US $2.00 as a service fee.

For an extra US $11.00 per Surname, you can also get a list of variations to your Surname(s) that a different researcher will find by searching over 700,000 Jewish Surnames from various sources.



Jewish Heritage Group Trip to Lithuania and Nearby Areas
Group trip to Lithuania – June 28 – July 7, 2005 
Included - visits to the various Archives, synagogues, ghettos, holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sight-seeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl, or shtetlach of interest. Most meals are included, the finest hotels (new & modern), modern bus with onboard toilet, and much more. I am very familiar with the Archives, the archivists, Lithuania and the main places of Jewish interest. Everything is done “at cost” but in a deluxe manner. Purpose is to encourage Jews to go back to their roots, to encourage them to research their ancestors and to enable them to see the rebirth of Judaism taking place in Lithuania. For details and a full itinerary of the trip, contact Howard Margol, E-mail  Tel: (404) 261-8662 - Immediate Past President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

Belarus SIG Trip to Western Belarus and Eastern Poland
September 2005
The Brest, Belarus Research SIG has planned a trip to Brest with individual guided one or two day side trips to any Shtetl(s) of your choice within 100 kilometer radius of Brest.  Special two-day side trips are planned to Pinsk and to Grodno.
The trip starts on September 20, 2005 and will last for nine nights. The land-only cost is about US $1,850 (without dinners) or about US $2,100 (with dinners every night except Saturday).  The complete itinerary can be seen at  The trip is a definite “go”.  As of February 9, 2005, twenty-five people paid the initial deposit.   We can not accept more than 40 people, because that is all that the luxury coach will comfortably sit.
To join the group trip to Brest and the surrounding Shtetls or to ask any questions about this trip, contact Larry Schenker in Los Angeles, California at 310 441-1488 between the hours of 9AM – 6PM California time, Monday through Friday.

by name withhold to protect the innocent

For many years I assumed that one of my relatives had an illegitimate son - one of those situations where you note it for your own information but leave it out of those records that are shared with the family.  Both the mother and the son are still living, so why publicize something that would be embarrassing to them.  I had no knowledge of the mother ever being married.  She used her maiden name, and her son used her maiden name.  What other conclusion could I make - here is a mother and her son both using the mother's maiden name, and no evidence or knowledge that the mother had ever been married.  An illegitimate son was the obvious answer.

Except that was the wrong answer.

When visiting in the city of this mother and son (and of many of my other relatives), I took a day off to spend at the county courthouse to see what I could learn about my family that I didn't already know.  Fortunately, this was a large metropolitan area courthouse with modern computerized records.  All I had to do was prepare a list of my family surnames in that county, key them into the computer system, and see how many "hits" the computer system would make on those names.  Among the names I entered were the mother and her illegitimate son.  Surprisingly, what came up was a file folder showing that a legal name change had been initiated by the mother for her son when he was an infant.  What that file folder revealed was a young mother with an infant son who divorced her soldier husband shortly before he was killed.  The mother produced military papers proving her brief marriage, her divorce, and her divorced husband's death.  It was a short, unhappy marriage with a tragic end.  The mother reverted to using her maiden name, and she petitioned for and was granted by the court a name change for her young son to that of her maiden name.   She never remarried, and she is now an elderly lady.

This was an incidental finding - not one based on any knowledge or suspicion of what actually happened.  And it was a finding that brought legitimacy to my illegitimate cousin.  All's well that ends well.

The lesson learned from this accidental discovery is - do not ever assume anything about a family's status, no matter how obvious the conclusion seems to be.  The facts may prove you wrong - happily so in this case.


Go to our website at to see a complete listing of our library holdings.

If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, or if you wish to add someone to this mailing list, let me know by email at <>.

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