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January, 2020
Speaker: Mark Halpern Most Jewish genealogists know the story of Chiune Sugihara, known as the Japanese Schindler. Sugihara issued over 2,000 Japanese transit visas that enabled many Jews to escape war torn Europe in the summer of 1940. But there is so much more to the story. There were many people – Europeans, Americans, Japanese – who helped to save these people. We will identify some of them and talk about their exploits. We will trace one Polish Jewish woman’s journey from Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland to Santa Monica, California using her Sugihara transit visa to ultimately obtain US citizenship. Her journey ...
February, 2020
Speaker: Janeen Bjork Janeen Bjork will share her search methodology via several case studies that illustrate how anyone can find and preserve family items from online newspapers. The presentation begins with a lesson on OCR (optical character recognition, the technology that allows newspapers to be searched online), and how to get around its significant failure rate. It continues with best practices for conducting research in about a dozen popular newspaper resources. There will be examples and a walk through the websites that you’ll want to explore. If you leave out online newspapers from your genealogy research toolbox, you are missing out on ...
March, 2020
Speaker: Lisa Cooper Co-sponsored by the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History Based on recorded conversations Lisa Cooper’s father had with his mother, Pearl, about her early life in Ukraine, A Forgotten Land is the story of one Jewish family in the Russian Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, set within the wider context of pogroms, World War I, the Russian Revolution, and civil war. Many Jewish immigrants to the West refused to talk about the ‘old country’, choosing to forget the unhappy times, not to pass on their memories. Lisa is fortunate that her ...
April, 2020
Speaker: Renee Steinig In the course of decades of genealogical research for family, friends, clients, and, occasionally, complete strangers, Renee Steinig has uncovered many a "skeleton in the closet" -- cases of mental illness, illegitimate birth, infidelity, abandonment, and even murder, all hushed up for decades. A Viennese refugee whose baby was born in a New York State psychiatric hospital; a suburban businessman who led two lives; a Romanian immigrant hanged -- or so his family thought -- for "stealing horses;" a Jewish GI's love affair in Belgium during World War II; a young woman who married, had a baby, then ...
May, 2020
Speaker: Zack Ellis   For genealogists, storytelling and interviews can add the elusive historical texture that factual documents simply cannot provide. Zack will demonstrate the use of The Hero’s Journey storytelling framework as a guide for preparing for an interview, eliciting compelling stories, asking follow up questions during the interview, and effectively retelling those stories.  Zack is the founder and CEO of TheirStory, a web-based, interviewing and storytelling platform that allows individuals, families, and oral historians to record, archive, and share stories they want to remember. Meaningful stories and conversations (whether done individually or between people talking live from across the world) can ...
June, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Andrew Zalewski  Co-sponsored by Gesher Galicia Galicia under Habsburg rule (1772–1918) was home to the largest Jewish community in the multiethnic empire. Austrian censuses, postcards and maps, together with newspaper clippings and pamphlets, bring to life Jewish presence in cities, such as Lwów and Kraków, and other, smaller towns. Market squares, streets, and schools—situated close to synagogues and churches—provided shared spaces for Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians. Those attending will also “enter” 19th-century homes to meet Jewish inhabitants—all illustrated by Gesher Galicia’s archival collections. Reconstructing the life in former Galicia, a province of Austria-Hungary and today divided between Poland and Ukraine, ...