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Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland


Sunday March 22, 2015
Save the date for our next meeting!
Please join us on Sunday March 22, 2015 at 1:30PM at the Pikesville Library to hear Ken Bravo speaking on “Why the New York Times is Wrong – Using Basic Genealogical Tools to Show That Your Family Name Was Not Changed at Ellis Island."

Ken will be speaking to us on “Why the New York Times is Wrong - Using Basic Genealogy Tools and Methodsto Show That Your Family Name Was Not Changed At Ellis Island.” The origins of this talk begin with an obituary appearing in the New York Times in late 2009 asserting that the deceased’s father’s name was changed at Ellis Island. Ken emailed the Times pointing out that names were not changed at Ellis Island and suggesting that a simple Google search would bring up a number of reliable articles pointing out the error in the Times’ reporting. When the Times did not respond, Ken followed up with additional emails and, finally, did the research showing the original family name when the family arrived. He shared that research with the Times. Bottom line, the Times never did correct the error.

Ken then decided to search the digitized New York Times for other examples of similar reporting. That research, while in no way exhaustive or complete, quickly revealed four similar obituaries plus a letter to the editor in which the writer asserted that her grandfather’s name had been changed in this manner. He researched each of the obituaries and the grandfather mentioned in the letter to the editor and was able to show that none of the names were changed at Ellis Island.His talk will explain his exchanges with the Times and how he did the research.

Ken Bravo is the Vice President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (“IAJGS”) and a Past President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland. He served as a co-chair of the 2014 IAJGS International Conference in Salt Lake City. Ken has been searching his own roots since the mid-1970s and is a frequent lecturer on a variety of genealogy subjects. He is also a member of the Ohio Genealogical Society, the East Cuyahoga Genealogical Society, and the Association of Professional Genealogists. Ken also has his own business, The Nuts & Bolts of Jewish Genealogy, to assist others in finding their family histories.

At the end of 2012, Ken retired as a partner in the Cleveland based law firm of Ulmer & Berne LLP after a 45-year legal career, which included 12 years with the United States Department of Justice prosecuting major fraud and organized crime cases. After he left the government in 1979, Ken’s career in private practice focused on business litigation, securities arbitration and the defense of white-collar criminal matters.

Ken and his wife Phyllis have been married 50 years and are the parents of four children and eight grandchildren.
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News Tidbits

JGS Maryland has been reconstituted!
JGSMD had its initial meeting on Sunday August 18, 2013 to see if there was interest in the group's reconstituting. The turnout was overwhelming, with 31 people attending with only a few days' notice. Look forward to new programming over the next year!
Some of the attendees:

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