The Wedding Photo: Genealogy Comes Alive!

  • Speaker: Dan Oren
  • Lecture Date: 10-27-2019


Contrary to dusty first impressions, genealogy can be an adventure. In Dan Oren’s new book The Wedding Photo, a visit to an abandoned Polish Jewish cemetery in 1993 launches a 20-year search to solve the mystery of "Who is Buried in Sarah's Tomb?" A visit with a cousin unearths a breathtaking photo of a Berlin family wedding from 1926 and leads to discovering their unimaginable post-wedding history. An archivist in Prague discovers a secret uncle whose life takes the reader from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Vatican. A memoir by Philip Roth shocks a daughter into unlocking a father's concealed past. In this talk, Dr. Oren will share his genealogical research strategies that open new worlds of understanding.

Searching for Paterson Roots Remembered and Forgotten in Heritage Tourism Abroad

  • Speaker: Daniel J. Walkowitz
  • Lecture Date: 09-15-2019



 The extended Walkowitz family arrived in Paterson from Lodz, Poland, as early as 1910.  They worked in the textile mills, department stores and shops of the city while taking an active role in Yiddish theater, the Paterson Folk Chorus, and labor politics. It was a Jewish World of Yiddishkeit in which the author was raised and participated. As a radical student activist in the late 1950s and 1960s, he subsequently imagined himself walking in the footsteps of his Paterson grandparents who fought to improve the living and working conditions in the Lodz and Paterson mills. The author recounts the genealogical and archival research that allowed him to uncover the stories of this past (which he will share) in the US and in Eastern and Central Europe where he seeks to see and hear what of these roots appear in walking tours, Jewish museums and memorial sites. Illustrated with slides, the lecture will illustrate the disappointments and surprises that frame the robust and changing terrain of Jewish Heritage today.

  • Speaker Bio: Daniel J. Walkowitz, Emeritus Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and Professor of History at New York University, has specialized in labor history, urban history and public history. In nearly a dozen books, many articles and four films for public television he has worked to bring America’s past to both academic and broad public audiences. Among his books are Worker City, Company Town: Iron and Cotton Worker Protest in Troy and Cohoes, New York, 1855-1884 (Illinois, 1978), with Lewis Siegelbaum, Workers of the Donbass Speak: Survival and Identity in the New Ukraine, 1989-1994 (SUNY, Albany, 1994); Working With Class: Social Workers and the Politics of Middle-Class Identity (North Carolina, 1999), and, co-edited with Lisa Maya Knauer, Memory and the Impact of Political Transformation in Public Spaces (Duke, 2004) and Contested Histories in Public Space: Memory, Race, and Nation (Duke, 2009). In 2010 he published Rethinking U.S. Labor History, a co-edited (with Donna Haverty-Stacke), a collection of new work on work and labor published to mark the 25th anniversary of his 1984 collection (edited with Michael Frisch), Working-Class America. In 2010, he also published, City Folk: English Country Dance and the Politics of the Folk in Modern America (NYU Press). His most recent work includes a monograph, The Remembered and Forgotten Jewish World: Jewish Heritage in Europe and the United States (Rutgers, 2018).

Death Records for Genealogical Research

  • Speaker: Phyllis Kramer
  • Lecture Date: 06-23-2019



Researching Israeli Genealogical Resouces in Your Jammies

  • Speaker: Daniel Horowitz
  • Lecture Date: 08-25-2018


Learn how to access genealogical resources and other useful online databases available in Israel to find your relatives. Every day more genealogical, historical and other types of useful databases are released on the Web. Israel has a number of websites and digital resources that can be searched via the Internet in English and Hebrew. A fast introduction to the Hebrew language, the keywords needed and the translation tools available will help you find information on people who were born, lived or died in Israel.

Bad Rabbi and Other Strange But True Stories From the Yiddish Press

  • Speaker: Eddy Portnoy
  • Lecture Date: 01-27-2019


Bad Rabbi mines the Yiddish press to expose the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was. In this talk, Portnoy will discuss the Yiddish press and the often strange stories about Jews that appear in it, as well as how it can be used as a genealogical resource.

What's in a Name - A Case Study of (Re)discovering Jewish Identity on (& off) an Unlikely African Archipelago

  • Speaker: Alma Gottlieb
  • Lecture Date: 05-19-2019



Using for Jewish Research

  • Speaker: Todd Knowles
  • Lecture Date: 04-28-2019



Life Under the Tsars

  • Speaker: Alan Suchat
  • Lecture Date: 03-24-2019


Records from the Russian Empire show that people were often registered as citizens of one town but lived in another. What was the system of registration and residence permits under the tsars and later in the Soviet Union? How were people divided into social estates? How did our ancestors obtain steamship tickets and travel from their shtetls to the steamship ports? How can these records and historical knowledge help us trace our families before they arrived here?

Lublin's "Grodzka Gate-NN Theatre"

  • Speaker: Olivier Szlos
  • Lecture Date: 02-24-2019


This in-depth genealogy resource presentation describes the work of the "Grodzka Gate-NN Theatre" Centre to reclaim Jewish memory in Lublin, Poland. Specifically, it will explain its 43 Thousand Project and provide a hands-on approach to explore the public access database that can possibly add names to your family tree. The presentation will touch also on the Antwerp Lublin project, and other sources of genealogy data for the Lublin region in Poland.
The Lublin. 43 Thousand project refers to the estimated number of the Jewish men, women, and children residing in the Polish city of Lublin in 1939 on the eve of the outbreak of the World War 2. Many of these residents had birth origins and relations with towns and villages located throughout the Lublin region and beyond. The project's mission is to recover each name. "Grodzka Gate-NN Theatre" Centre staff are exploring archives, listening and reading personal testimonies, extracting data from private collections and examining every possible piece of information in order to retrieve names, photos, documents and stories of people. The materials gathered during the research are transcribed, sourced and added to an advanced database which consists of four core modules: 1) People, 2) Places, 3) Events, 4) Sources. Whenever possible, the information is referenced across all modules to advance the possibility of connecting individuals and highlight their relationship with other people, places, events, and reference sources. Over 44,000 sourced points of individual information have already been entered in this ever growing database.

The Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collection

  • Speaker: Jonathan Brent
  • Lecture Date: 12-15-2018


Jonathan Brent, Executive Director and CEO of The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, will speak to us about the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections Project, an international initiative, begun in 2015, to conserve and digitize YIVO’s entire prewar library and archival collections located in New York City and Vilnius, Lithuania, and reunite them though a dedicated web portal. The project will also digitally reconstruct the historic, private Strashun Library of Vilna, one of the greatest prewar Jewish libraries of Europe In 2017 YIVO discovered more than 170,000 additional documents in Vilnius, which for over 70 years were thought to have been destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The new phase of the Project will include the digitization of these documents. The entire Vilna Collections encompass some 12,200 rare books and approximately 1.1 million original documents from the Jewish world of Eastern Europe.

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research was founded in Vilna, Poland (now Lithuania), in 1925. During World War II, its extensive archive and library was looted by the Nazis. Much was destroyed, but soon after the war some of the materials were recovered by the U.S. Army in Germany and sent to YIVO in the United States. However, much also remained hidden in Lithuania.The Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections Project is a partnership between YIVO, the Lithuanian Central State Archives, the Martynas Mažydas National Library of Lithuania, and the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, and includes the cataloging, conservation, and digitization of documents and books in both New York and Vilnius.

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