Welcome to the second quarterly issue of "Looking Back".
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
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
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
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.
RESEARCH USING THE JEWISHGEN WEBSITE When: Sunday, May 15, 2005 at
2:00 P.M. (1:30
Registration & Refreshments) Where: Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, 14041 Icot
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
How to find ancestors on
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
his own genealogy research.
COMING UP FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR
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 <email@example.com>
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
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)
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.
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
December 11 - "Year End Social and Election of
Officers" - This will be our social
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.
Association of Jewish
Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference
Early Bird Registration is extended until
May 8th - Sign up now for a discount!
Several members of the JGSTB are planning to
attend. Bill & Sally Israel, Emil Isaacson, Larry and Flo Blum are
sure, and a few others are "on the fence" in deciding. Anyone
registering by May 8th will receive a significant discount on
registration fee. This is your last call for the discount!
Call Bill or Sally
Israel at 727-343-1652, or email us at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to let us know if you will be attending.
KNOW YOUR 2005 JGSTB
OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE WORKERS
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 <email@example.com>
volunteer. Volunteers will surely be rewarded in heaven!
ADD YOUR NAME TO OUR
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
DISTINGUISHED 2005 MEMBERS
Larry & Florence Blum
Jack Wolf & Beryle Buchman Wolf
Mel & Elsie Estroff
Bill & Sally Israel
Alan & Sharon Koenig
Paul & Ruth Weitzenkoorn
Harold & Margaret Ziegler
Society of Tampa Bay MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
Annual dues are $25 for an individual or
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 http://genealogy-software-review.toptenreviews.com/?ttreng=1&ttrkey=genealogy+software
Which program will allow you to maximize your genealogy research
site, Genealogy Software Review, evaluates and reports on 13 genealogy
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
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 www.leisterpro.com.
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 www.onlymac.de/index
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 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.
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:
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
will use <at> as a substitute for @ and <dot> as a
substitute for "." Using this scheme, our JGS email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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.
MEETINGS AND OTHER EVENTS OF POSSIBLE INTEREST TO JGS MEMBERS
(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
TIME: 1 PM
LOCATION: Flanzer Jewish Community Center, 582 S. McIntosh Road, Sarasota
SPEAKER: Rosalie Leon
TOPIC: Pot Luck Luncheon with "Jewish Soul Music"
WEB SITE: http://www.jewish-sarasota.org/jgs/jgsofswfl.htm
DATE: May 22, 2005
SOCIETY: The Jewish Genealogical Society of Tallahassee
TIME: 2 PM
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
WEB SITE: http://www.rootsweb.com/~fljgst/
DATE: May 25, 2005
SOCIETY: Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami, Inc.
TIME: 7 PM
LOCATION: Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 NE 30th Avenue, Aventura,
SPEAKER: Yale J. Reisner (Jewish Historical Institute of Poland,
TOPIC: "A Most Extraordinary Situation" - Genealogical Adventures in
COST: Members $5.00 - Non-Members $10.00
CONTACT: Barbara Musikar at (305) 868-9226 or email@example.com
WEB SITE: http://www.jgs-miami.org
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
WEB SITE: www.cfgs.org
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>
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (404)
261-8662 - Immediate Past President
of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.
SIG Trip to Western Belarus and Eastern Poland
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.
ILLEGITIMATE NO MORE!
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