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JGS Maryland Past Programs


Most JGSMD programs will be held on the fourth Sunday at each month. As of September 2016, the majority of our programs will begin at 1:30PM at the Pikesville Library.

Some programs will be held at different times or locations.

Be sure to check the schedule carefully for the exact time and location of each program.

For first half hour of each program, you'll have an opportunity to network with other JGSMD members and discuss your personal research problems.

Past Programs for JGSMD:
Sunday November 20, 2016
Please join us on Sunday, November 20, 2016, at 1:30 p.m., at the Pikesville Library’s meeting room, 1301 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, for a Show-and-Tell program, “It’s Your Turn!”

Throughout the past year, we’ve featured entertaining and informative presentations by speakers, but now it’s time for our group members to take a turn. Please join us at the meeting and bring something to share!

All of our members are invited to bring something related to their own family history or research to share with the group. Perhaps you’ve inherited your grandmother’s candlesticks or Seder plate. Maybe your grandfather’s tallis was passed down to you. Or possibly you have a portrait of an ancestor or a snapshot taken long ago at a family gathering. You may have found documents relating to your family's past in Europe centuries ago. Even if you don’t possess any keepsakes from your ancestors, you may be able to show us a printout of their Ellis Island passenger manifest or a picture of the shtetl in which they lived.

Please bring your item to show to the group (of course, don’t bring anything that’s extremely valuable or fragile), and tell us a little bit about the person it belonged to or how you received or discovered it.

Please bring just one item and limit your talk to just one minute!

If you’d like to participate in the program, please send a short description of your item to Susan Steeble in advance (ssteeble@gmail.com).

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.
Sunday October 30, 2016
Please join us on Sunday, October 30, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Pikesville Library’s meeting room, for our next program, “A Trip to Eastern Europe Reveals Years of False Information!” presented by Dick Goldman.

Dick will share his perspective on the trip that he and his children recently took to visit ancestral homes in Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus. Before leaving, he carefully reviewed his 60 years of genealogical research to confirm the towns to be seen, the ancestors who lived there, and the three centuries of history his forebears experienced. When he got there, what he discovered was not only unexpected but, in one case, literally beyond belief! It called into question decades of research. What he learned provides a valuable lesson for each of us, regardless of our family origins. At this program, you will see remnants of our Jewish past and views of contemporary Eastern Europe, and you’ll hear how an experienced genealogist could be so wrong about so many things—and for so long. Dick will also discuss how you can plan a similar trip, possibly connected with the IAJGS Conference being held in Warsaw in 2018.

Dick Goldman currently serves as Vice President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland and has twice been its President. He is adjunct faculty at CCBC, teaching courses in genealogy, and was a presenter at the IAJGS conference in Seattle this summer. He lectures frequently on genealogical topics.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.
Sunday September 25, 2016
Please join us on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Pikesville Library’s meeting room, for our next program, “How to Protect and Store Old Documents, Books, and Photographs,” presented by Joyce Dreyfuss.

In this program, Joyce Dreyfuss, a professional Book and Paper Conservator, will discuss: When did paper ingredients change from linen and papyrus to wood pulp? Why does acid matter? How should rare materials be stored? What kind of environment do we need? and How should we handle a rare or delicate object? She will also provide a hands-on demonstration.

Joyce Dreyfuss is currently a freelance Book and Paper Conservator to both museums and private clients. The field comprises hands-on craftsmanship with intellectual rigor and education. She apprenticed for a year with Mr. Johannes Hyltoft of Denmark at the Book Conservation Lab for The Smithsonian Institution rare book libraries. Many people are not aware that The Smithsonian has several small rare book libraries with priceless collections of everything from Leonardo DaVinci’s anatomical drawings to rare stamps from the Soviet Union to Sigmund Freud’s collected letters. After her apprenticeship with Mr. Hyltoft, she spent another year in Israel, where she worked on Holocaust art work from the concentration camps at Yad Vashem Museum. She then returned to The Smithsonian Institution, where she worked under Mr. Hyltoft until 1987. Subsequently, she moved to Baltimore and began to freelance.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.
Sunday August 28, 2016
Please join us on Sunday, August 28, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program, "Thinking Over Time: Researching USCIS Records" presented by Marian L. Smith.

In this presentation, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) historical records expert Marian L. Smith will showcase late 19th and 20th century US immigration and nationality records. She will also discuss how using a timeline can help one predict what immigration and naturalization records may exist for a given immigrant, and how to request records from USCIS. Though the examples feature Jewish immigrants, the records and process discussed will be of interest to all.

Marian Smith has been an historian and historical records expert for US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service) for nearly thirty years. She specializes in the history and uses of immigration and naturalization records, and brings her experience to genealogical researchers to help them to help them understand what records may or may not exist for an immigrant, and why. Her research primarily involves official immigration agency records held in the National Archives in downtown Washington, D.C. Marian shares that research in a bi-monthly USCIS History and Genealogy Webinar and occasional in-person presentations.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.

Sunday July 24, 2016
Please join us on Sunday, July 24, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program, "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove" presented by Israel Pickholtz.

What do you do when the hard proofs just aren’t there, but you are as sure as you can be what they would show if you could find them? If you fold your hands and wait, you may never get anywhere with your research, but if you accept your suppositions as fact, they may never be questioned again – not by you and certainly not by your research heirs. This presentation will use examples from the east Galician single-surname Pikholz Project to consider when what you know is beyond a reasonable doubt and if that is indeed good enough.

Israel Pickholtz, a native of Pittsburgh, made aliyah in 1973 from Chicago and now lives in Jerusalem.

He has done serious family research for nearly twenty years. His flagship work is the Pikholz Project, a single-surname project to identify and reconnect all Pikholz descendants.

Alongside his work as a professional genealogist, taking clients in Israel and abroad, he became heavily involved in genetic genealogy in 2013. He manages test kits of over eighty family members, at last count. Last summer he published a book ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People, available at http://www.endogamy-one-family.com.

He blogs at http://allmyforeparents.blogspot.com and receives mail at IsraelP@pikholz.org.

Sunday June 26, 2016
Please join us on Sunday, June 26, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program, “Relatives, Cold Calls and Emails, & DNA Testing,” presented by Mindie Kaplan. This program provides techniques for reaching out to relatives, including those who are reluctant to meet with a stranger, and provides examples that will expand your research.

  • Relatives: What can living relatives add to my research? How do you contact “uninterested” relatives, starting a conversation that will get them to open up? Covered issues: family gatherings, preparation, audio/video recording, photos/scanning, documentation, and ethics.
  • Cold calls: How do you find people? How do you reach out to strangers and convince them to talk? How do phone techniques differ from emails or social sites such as Facebook? What if they think you’re a con artist? How can you build a relationship that will turn into a number of conversations, leading to more relatives?
  • DNA testing: How do you ask someone to take a DNA test? Who pays? What are some factors that will get them interested in participating?

Mindie Kaplan has been involved in Jewish genealogy for more than 20 years. Her family tree currently consists of 3000 individuals. When printed (including stories and biographies), it comprises 173 pages for the Splaver side and 99 pages for the Entes side. She has years of experience reaching out to distant family members to learn their stories, discover old photographs, and obtain DNA samples with the goal of putting together the story of her family. Mindie has attended nearly every IAJGS conference since 2003 and is involved with the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington.
The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.
Sunday May 22, 2016
Meeting Minutes
Please join us on Sunday, May 22, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program, "Steps to Success with atDNA and Triangulation" by Jim Bartlett.

We’ll cover the proven steps that will get you started with atDNA, and on the path to determining Common Ancestors with your Matches. Experienced “how-to” guidance on: Robust Trees; Patriarch List; Standard email/message; Communicating with Matches and sharing; finding and “proving” Common Ancestors; Tracking info. Learn the principles of triangulation, and how to do it with FTDNA and 23andMe results and at GEDmatch. No genealogy or biology required – the perfect tool for everyone, and particularly adoptees and anyone with brick walls.

Jim Bartlett has been an active genealogist since 1974. He has been the Administrator of the BARTLETT-DNA Project (over 400 participants) since 2002 and has established 23 different lines using matching Y-DNA. He has been using autosomal DNA tests from all three main vendors since 2010 and currently has over 5,000 matching cousins who descend from most of his ancestry. He has determined Common Ancestors for over 2/3 of his DNA. He is an avid fan of these powerful, new DNA tools that will expand your genealogy, and enjoys teaching them to other genealogists. The DNA test is easy to take, fairly simple to use, and relatively inexpensive. No biology required!


Sunday April 17, 2016
Please join us on Sunday, April 17, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program, “Practical Tips for Genealogical Research in and near Present-Day Poland”), presented by Mary Ann Evan.

Because of the rise and fall of empires and the centuries of wars and invasions in Eastern Europe, genealogical research in Poland must include consideration of the western parts of Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine as well as nearby countries that were once part of Galicia in the Austrian Empire. After a brief survey of the major political, geographical, cultural, and religious influences that are significant for genealogy, we will cover the following topics, with particular emphasis on information most relevant to Jewish genealogy: 1) the Polish language: how to decode and transliterate places and names, including immigration records; 2) gazetteers: why we need them; some especially helpful examples; relating gazetteers and maps; 3) vital records and censuses: existence, location, and language; resources; and 4) Polish archives: catalog; digitization project; communicating with the archives.

Mary Ann Evan’s first taste of family history was as a child in Cleveland, listening to the stories that her grandparents, immigrants from Poland, told about life in “the old country.” As time went by, she was able to trace her grandparents’ lines back to the 1700s, visit all four ancestral villages, and contact many family members still in Poland. Mary Ann has volunteered at the Kensington Family History Center for more than 15 years, assisting people from diverse backgrounds in their genealogical research. She has made research trips to Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic and is presently facilitating an Eastern European Focus Group at the Kensington FHC. In her professional life, Mary Ann taught for 25 years and then moved into the world of computers, where she has worked for more than 25 years, most recently in IT security.
Sunday March 27, 2016
March 2016 Meeting Minutes
Please join us on Sunday, March 27, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program, “Movement between Towns in Eastern Europe” (a.k.a. “Ancestral Towns May Not Have Been So Ancestral”), presented by Lara Diamond.

Many researchers, once they have discovered the town from which their ancestors left Eastern Europe, assume that their families must have lived in that town or the vicinity for many generations. While this was true for some families, there was significant movement through broad swaths of Europe by many Jews for a variety of reasons. The speaker will demonstrate the breadth of some families’ movements with examples from her own research and will discuss the types of documents used to trace those families’ travels.

Lara Diamond is President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland (JGSMD) and has been researching her family for 25 years, since she was too young to have a driver’s license and had to rely on her mother as a chauffeur. She lives in Maryland. Lara has traced all branches of her family back to Europe and most multiple generations back in Europe using Russian Empire-era and Austria-Hungarian Empire records. Most of her research is in modern-day Ukraine, with a smattering of Belarus and Poland. She runs several town-focused projects to collect documentation to assist all those researching ancestors from common towns. She blogs about her mostly Eastern European research at http://larasgenealogy.blogspot.com.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.
Sunday February 28, 2016
February 2016 Meeting Minutes
Please join us for our (hopefully snow-free) upcoming meeting on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program: "Getting started with JewishGen & Jewish Genealogy" presented by Avraham Groll.

JewishGen.org offers both archival and networking components. In this presentation, Avraham Groll will discuss common challenges that people encounter when researching their family history, and how JewishGen can help.

Avraham Groll is the Senior Director of Business Operations for JewishGen. After studying in Israel at Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim, he received a BS from Ramapo College, and an MBA from Montclair State University. He is currently pursuing an MA in Judaic Studies at Touro College.
Sunday January 24, 2016

Cancelled due to snow

Please join us on Sunday, January 24, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for our next program: “Ask the Experts!” Panelists who are experienced in Jewish genealogy research will help guide you on ways forward in research and will give advice on places to look to break through a brick wall.

Please send questions to JGSofMD@gmail.com by January 17; a selection of those questions will be addressed by the panel. Please be specific in what you are looking for and what you have already tried. Give as much background information as possible. In addition, we’ll have an open floor at the end for additional questions.

Our panelists are:

  • Lara Diamond - Lara is President of JGSMD and has been researching her family for more than 25 years, since she was too young to have a driver’s license and had to rely on her mother to drive her to the National Archives. She has traced all branches of her family back to Europe and most lines multiple generations back using Russian Empire-era records. Most of her research is in modern-day Ukraine, with a smattering of Belarus and Poland. Her genealogy blog is at http://larasgenealogy.blogspot.com.
  • Carol Rombro Rider - Carol has been interested in researching her family ever since she discovered that almost no one else in the world shared her surname. Forty years later, using every conceivable resource, she has discovered the difficulty but delight in research. Learning to “think outside the box” has made all the difference in the world. Her research areas include Baltimore, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Mexico, Israel, and Romania. A trip to Romania several years ago was the highlight of her research.
Sunday December 27, 2015
Please join the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland on Sunday, December 27, 2015, at 1:30 p.m., at the Park Heights JCC, when Mark Halpern will present “Research Your Polish Roots: JRI-Poland and More.” This presentation from Jewish Records Indexing - Poland will deal with Jewish records and research for two major areas of Poland, which covers the majority of the JRI-Poland online database. It will provide information about Congress Poland narrative records and Galician columnar records but will not cover the Bialystok area or Prussian records. This talk offers an in-depth examination of vital records along with a strategic framework to help researchers in acquiring records to further their research. Close examination of sample birth, marriage, and death records will reveal the information contained in the records, identify the records having the most genealogical value, and discover surprises found in many of these records. This presentation will also describe the status of JRI-Poland projects to index each of the various types of records.

Mark Halpern is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Jewish Records Indexing – Poland. He is responsible for the AGAD Archive project for records of eastern Galicia and the Bialystok Archive and is the main contact for JRI-Poland’s cooperation with the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. He is active in the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia as Vice President of Programs and formerly the Society’s President. Mark has served as Program Chair for the 2009 IAJGS Conference in Philadelphia and the 2013 Conference in Boston. He is currently leading a team to develop a Conference in Warsaw, Poland, in 2018. Mark has been researching his Bialystok and Galicia roots since 1996.
Sunday November 22, 2015
Summary
Please join us on November 22, 2015 at 1:30PM to hear our member Rena Rotenberg speak about "A Jewish Child Growing Up in Tientsin, China 1939-1948." The meeting will be held at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville.

Rena Rotenberg always knew that her late husband spent 9 years in China. What she did not know were many of the details about those years. After he died, as she was preparing to move to an apartment, in the corner of a closet, she found a large box containing documents, pictures, letters, report cards, and more--things she had never seen before.

This collection is now held by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was especially interested in the facts that he went to China as a child and that the family did not live in Shanghai, where most of the Jewish families in China lived at that time.

The artifacts, documents and letters which were translated from German to English at the Museum, demonstrate the experience of Jews in Berlin after the Nazis took over, much about the Jewish experience in China (his, and his family, in particular), his schooling (he attended the Tientsin Jewish School, where he learned British English, an interesting part of the story) , and then finally about coming to the US.
Sunday October 25, 2015
Please join JGSMD on October 25, 2015 at 1:30PM to hear Logan Kleinwaks speak about "GenealogyIndexer.org: New Sources, New Ways To Search." The meeting will be held at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville.

GenealogyIndexer.org is a free website enabling full-text and Soundex search of more than 700,000 pages of historical business, address, and telephone directories from primarily Eastern and Central Europe, more than 150 Yizkor books, Polish and Russian military documents, community and personal histories, Galician secondary school reports, and more. Containing millions of personal names – often with towns, street addresses, and occupations, and sometimes with vital dates or patronymics – this huge collection is mostly comprised of data not searchable elsewhere. This talk will focus on newly added sources and new search functionality. Recipient of the IAJGS 2012 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or Electronic Product and one of Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Websites for 2015.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.
Sunday September 20, 2015
Please join us on Sunday, September 20, 2015, at 1:30 p.m., at the Hadassah meeting room, 3723 Old Court Rd (Dumbarton Offices entrance), Pikesville, for a Show-and-Tell program, “It’s Your Turn!”

Throughout the past year, we’ve featured entertaining and informative presentations by speakers, but now it’s time for our group members to take a turn. Please join us at the meeting and bring something to share!

All of our members are invited to bring something related to their own family history or research to share with the group. Perhaps you’ve inherited your grandmother’s candlesticks or Seder plate. Maybe your grandfather’s tallis was passed down to you. Or possibly you have a portrait of an ancestor or a snapshot taken long ago at a family gathering. You may have found documents relating to your family's past in Europe centuries ago. Even if you don’t possess any keepsakes from your ancestors, you may be able to show us a printout of their Ellis Island passenger manifest or a picture of the shtetl in which they lived.

Please bring your item to show to the group (of course, don’t bring anything that’s extremely valuable or fragile), and tell us a little bit about the person it belonged to or how you received or discovered it.

Please bring just one item and limit your talk to just one minute!

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.

Sunday August 16, 2015
Summary
Please join JGSMD on August 16, 2015 at 1:30PM to hear Israel Pickholtz of Jerusalem speak about “Jewish Genetic Genealogy—A Family Study,” as discussed in his book “One Family, One People.”

The meeting will be held at Hadassah, 3723 Old Court Rd., Suite 205

European Jews have always married mainly within the tribe. Whether our numbers five hundred years ago in Europe were four hundred or four hundred thousand, the pool was limited. As a result, the members of the tribe today are all related to one another, multiple times. This phenomenon, known as endogamy, makes Jewish genetic genealogy very difficult, often impossible. There is a similar phenomenon in some other population groups. The speaker was convinced that this brick wall is not as impenetrable as it seems, at least in some circumstances.

The speaker used his own family as an example, and was able to utilize DNA to clarify multiple family relationships. He steps through how he did this in hopes that it will encourage and inspire other researchers of their European Jewish families and other endogamous populations to say "I can do this!"

Sunday July 19, 2015
Please join us on July 19, 2015 at 1:30PM at Beth El Congregation (8101 Park Heights Avenue) **NOTE LOCATION** where Lara Diamond will present "Jewish Genealogy--How to Start, Where to Look, What's Available." She will give a comprehensive overview of genealogy resources available for the Jewish genealogist. The presentation will include online sources and documents not yet online for both the United States and Europe; she will also cover some basic knowledge critical to researching one's Jewish roots.

Lara Diamond is President of JGSMD and has been researching her family for 25 years, since she was too young to have a driver's license and had to rely on her mother to drive her to the National Archives. She has traced all branches of her family back to Europe and most multiple generations back using Russian Empire-era records. Most of her research is in modern-day Ukraine, with a smattering of Belarus and Poland. Her genealogy blog is at http://larasgenealogy.blogspot.com.
Sunday June 28, 2015
Please join us on Sunday June 28, 2015 at 1:30PM at the Pikesville Library (1301 Reisterstown Road) to hear David Brill present "Letters from a Judean."

In February 1918, an eighteen-year old American Jew named William Z. Porter left his home in Philadelphia to join the 39th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers – the Jewish Legion. Over the next several years, as he moved with the 39th from Windsor, Canada, to England, Egypt and pre-Mandatory Palestine, William corresponded extensively with Brill's maternal grandmother. Nearly one hundred years later, these collected letters, postcards, photographs and souvenirs form a remarkable record of a young man’s experience fighting with the “Judeans.” They also cast a fascinating light on subjects ranging from relations between Jewish and non-Jewish soldiers, to the vibrant Zionist youth culture of Philadelphia, to ordinary soldiers’ impressions of the Zionist leaders of the day. Brill's grandmother kept these documents her entire life because she recognized their historic significance. In this presentation Mr Brill describes the collection in detail, and also discusses how he used JewishGen’s resources to find William’s descendants.
Sunday May 17, 2015
Summary
Please join us on Sunday May 17, 2015 at 1:30PM at the Pikesville Library (1301 Reisterstown Road) to hear Dr. Ken Moss, the Felix Posen Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director, Stulman Program in Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University, who will speak on "The Jews of Eastern Europe in the Age of Mass Migration, 1881-1914."

He will offer a portrait of East European Jewish society and culture in a moment of rapid transition and transformation, with particular attention to:

  • the everyday lives and life-courses of Jews against the backdrop of dramatic political and economic changes;
  • the Jewish cultural geography of Eastern Europe
  • Jews in the small towns and the big cities;
  • Judaism and Jewish culture: continuities, contestations, fragmentation, reinvention
  • Jews and political upheaval: imperial retrenchment, popular nationalism, and the question of Jewish fate 1881-1914
Sunday April 26, 2015
Summary
Please join us on Sunday, April 26, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. at the Pikesville Library’s meeting room, when guest speaker Ava Cohn presents “Clued-In: Case Studies from Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist.”

In this fun and informative talk, Sherlock Cohn, the Jewish genealogy sleuth, will explore how and why it is important to find the clues our ancestors left us in their photographic portraits. The program leads off with a definition of photo genealogy and explodes common myths about dating Jewish photos. Participants will learn what clues an expert looks for, how to organize your approach to dating and interpreting photos, and how to match photo information with vital records.

Sherlock will present two of her challenging cases to show how accurate dating, photo identification, knowledge of fashion, and matching records can shed light on our relatives’ lives and the social context in which their photos were taken.

There will be time at the end for members to have Ava analyze family photos—only one photo per person, please! (Should there be more photos than Ava has time to analyze in an hour, we will randomly choose which photos Ava will examine.)

Ava Cohn brings a lifelong experience with heirloom photos and a multidisciplinary approach to photo dating and interpretation. A native of upstate New York, currently residing in the Chicago area, she has a degree from Brandeis University with coursework in decorative arts, art history, and costume history at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Recognizing the need for accurate dating of Jewish family photographs, combined with specialized knowledge of immigrant and Eastern European culture and traditions, she devotes her work, almost exclusively, to Jewish family photographs. Cohn is a speaker and writer whose articles have appeared in many Jewish genealogy publications.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check our web site at www.jgsmd.org for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.


Sunday Sunday March 22, 2015, 1:30-3:30PM
Summary
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.


Sunday Sunday January 25, 2015, 1:30-3:30PM
Summary
Please join us on Sunday January 25 at 1:30PM at the Pikesville Library for our next meeting--Ask the Experts! Some of our members who are experienced in Jewish genealogy research will help guide you on ways forward in research and give advice on places to look to break through a brick wall. Please send questions to JGSofMD@gmail.com by January 18; a selection of those questions will be addressed by the panel. Please be specific in what you are looking for, what you have already tried, and give as much background information as possible. In addition, we'll have an open floor at the end for additional questions.

Panel members are (in alphabetical order):

Lara Diamond: Lara Diamond is President of JGSMD and has been researching her family for 25 years, since she was too young to have a driver's license and had to rely on her mother to drive her to the National Archives. She has traced all branches of her family back to Europe and most multiple generations back using Russian Empire-era records. Most of her research is in modern-day Ukraine, with a smattering of Belarus and Poland. Her genealogy blog is at http://larasgenealogy.blogspot.com.

Dick Goldman: Dick is immediate past President (2013-14) and prior past President (1996-2002) of JGS Maryland and is the current Vice President. He has attended eight IAJGS conferences since 1996 and has made three trips to the Family History Center in Salt Lake City and countless trips to Archives in New York City and Washington. His serious family research began 60 years ago and he now has more than 9,700 individuals in his family tree. Dick served as the JewishGen coordinator for groups with roots in KUTNO, Poland and SWENCIONYS, Lithuania. He is a frequent lecturer on Jewish Genealogy and has taught courses at the Pikesville Senior Center, the Myerberg Center and for Brandeis Women. This spring he will be adjunct faculty at the Community College of Baltimore County teaching genealogy at the Owings Mills and Hunt Valley campuses as well as the JCC.
Dick and his wife Roz, live in Pikesville. Their two children are married and have supplied them with five additions to the family tree. He is the retired General Manager of the Pearlstone Center.

Carol Rombro Rider: Carol Rombro Rider has been interested in researching her family once she discovered that almost no one else in the world shared her surname. Forty years later using every conceivable resource she has discovered the difficulty but delight in research. Learning to "think outside the box" has made all the difference in the world, whether looking for the surname "Cohen" or any other one. A native of Baltimore, her research includes Baltimore, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Mexico, Israel and Romania. A trip to Romania several years ago was the highlight of her research.


Sunday Sunday December 28, 2014, 1:30-3:30PM
Join us on December 28, 2014 when Barry Nove, author of "The Ellis Island Experience: A Sampling of Stories and How You Can Research Your Own" will speak about "Ellis Island and the Immigrant Experience." He will be sharing the story of how families from Europe came to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, what documents you can find, and research tips to help you learn your family's story.

Barry will be giving a presentation which will include photos of the ships his ancestors came over on, share a replica manifest, and offer his book for sale after the program.

Barry Nove’s fascination with the Ellis Island experience began when work and hobby aligned and he organized the first family re-enactment tour of Ellis Island in the mid-1990s. In planning the program he met with the museum archivists, arranged period clothing for the participants, and learned about the experience his grandparents, great grandparents and relatives went through when they arrived in America. The tour of the Ellis Island Museum (120 people of all ages) was filmed by PBS as part of Ancestors, a 10-part series, which aired in 1997.
Barry Nove’s Ellis Island tales have appeared in anthologies. In 2014, he published, The Ellis Island Experience: A Sampling of Stories and How You Can Research You Own. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He is Executive Director of Oseh Shalom in Laurel, Maryland, and is a member of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington D.C. He currently lives in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area. Check out his Jewish genealogy blog on his website at www.BarryNove.us or follow him on twitter at @jewishgenealogy.



Sunday Sunday November 23, 2014, 1:30-3:30PM
Please join us at the November program of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland, which will be held on Sunday, November 23, 2014, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the Pikesville Library’s meeting room, 1301 Reisterstown Road.

Lara Diamond will give two mini-talks:

  • She will first present “Finding a Family’s Town: A Case Study,” which describes how she was able to find her ancestors’ town of origin—which was quite far from where family lore had placed it. Finding that town enabled her to trace that branch back to the mid-1700s.
  • She will also present “Beyond Ancestry.com: It Isn't All Online!” and will show some examples of documents not available online—which often tell the best stories of family members. These documents include old court records, land records, Eastern European census records, shul journals, newspapers, and more.
Lara Diamond is currently Vice President of the JGSMD and will take office as President of the group in January 2015. Her family history blog is at http://larasgenealogy.blogspot.com/.


Sunday October 26, 2014, 1:30-3:30PM
JGSMD's next meeting will be on Sunday, October 26, 2014, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the Pikesville Library’s meeting room, 1301 Reisterstown Road. Renowned author, publicist, and raconteur M. Hirsh Goldberg will convey the flavor of Baltimore’s early 20th century immigrant community as he tells us about one of the founding families of Corned Beef Row, the Attman family. He will discuss his new book, It All Started with a Deli: The Attmans of Lombard Street, which tells the story of Harry Attman, a young immigrant, who opened a small confectionery/deli in Baltimore in 1915 and, with his wife, Ida, worked for many years to build a flourishing delicatessen business. The Attmans also raised three sons, Edward, Seymour, and Leonard, and taught them the values of hard work, ethical conduct, religious principles, and concern for others. Today, the Attmans are still a close family whose members have founded major businesses and have remained involved in their community.

M. Hirsh Goldberg is an award-winning public relations consultant who has served as press secretary and speech writer for government officials. He has written several other books: The Jewish Connection, The Jewish Paradox, The Blunder Book, The Book of Lies, and The Complete Book of Greed. He is also the author of authorized biographies of noted Baltimore individuals and families, including philanthropist and builder Joseph Meyerhoff and real estate developer Jack Pechter. Mr. Goldberg is a frequent contributor of Op-Ed pieces and articles to the Baltimore Sun, The Baltimore Jewish Times, and other publications. All of Mr. Goldberg’s writings, books, and talks combine extensive research with fascinating stories, revealing information, and provocative insights.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available.


Sunday September 28, 2014, 1:30-3:30PM
The next meeting of the JGSMD will be held on Sunday, September 28, 2014, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the Pikesville Library’s meeting room, 1301 Reisterstown Rd, in Baltimore. The program will be presented by James Schollian, George Harmon, and John Graves of the Hampstead Family History Center. Their presentation will give a brief background of the LDS Church’s worldwide efforts to document, digitize, and index available records essential to family history research (including Jewish records). They will explain how to use the FamilySearch web site, sign up as a free member, use the site as a personal repository for your own records, access the learning aids, and get one-on-one help locally on the phone or in person. They will also demonstrate some of the features of the Family Tree program and provide some time to answer questions.

The LDS Church-sponsored Family History Center in Hampstead and the one in Columbia have free access to a number of premium internet sites, including Ancestry.com, Heritage.com, and Findmypast.com. In addition, any of the thousands of microfilms from the Salt Lake City genealogical library can be ordered online and reviewed at the local centers. Both centers have computers, film readers, printers, and internet access, which are available free of charge.

Jim Schollian is a retired naval officer, electrical engineer, and home improvement contractor. Although he has no formal training in family history research, he has more than 30 years of personal experience. He has been a family history consultant for the Church for over 15 years and is currently the Director of the Hampstead Family History Center. George Harman is a retired environmentalist for the State of Maryland and is presently the Republican Party candidate for Baltimore County Executive. John Graves is a retired electrical engineer.


Sunday August 24, 2014, 1:30-3:30PM
Summary
Our next meeting will be on Sunday August 24, 2014, at 1:30PM at the Pikesville Library.

Throughout the past year, we’ve featured entertaining and informative presentations by speakers, but now it’s time for our group members to take a turn. Please join us at the meeting and bring something to share!

Part 1: Show-and-Tell!
All of our members are invited to bring something related to their own family history or research to share with the group. Perhaps you’ve inherited your grandmother’s candlesticks or Seder plate. Maybe your grandfather’s tallis was passed down to you. Or possibly you have a portrait of an ancestor or a snapshot taken long ago at a family gathering. Even if you don’t possess any keepsakes from your ancestors, you may be able to show us a printout of their Ellis Island passenger manifest or a picture of the shtetl in which they lived. Please bring your item to show to the group (of course, don’t bring anything that’s extremely valuable or fragile), and tell us a little bit about the person it belonged to or how you received or discovered it. In addition, if you’ve joined us on our group trip to New York City or attended the 2014 IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City, please tell us about your experiences and finds.

Part 2: Translations
If you would like a translation of a short passage written in a foreign language, our group members may be able to help. Please bring the original document (or, preferably, a photocopy) to the meeting. We’re also asking members with expertise in a foreign language to volunteer their help in translating. We will have some language dictionaries and translation aids available, but please feel free to bring your own. If you plan to bring an item for translation, or if you wish to volunteer as a translator, please contact Susan Steeble in advance (ssteeble@gmail.com), so that we can anticipate how many persons wish to be involved in this project and which languages we need to cover. This is an ongoing project, so translations can be done “on the spot” at the meeting (as time permits) or with follow-up by email.


Sunday June 22, 2014, 1:00-3:30PM
Summary
Our speaker will be Lauren Shulsky Orenstein of KinFinderNYC. There will be a trip scheduled for later in the summer to NYC to take advantage of some of New York's resources, with Ms. Orenstein's guidance.

"Looking Beyond the Basic Records"--Take a journey through two family's histories to discover the genealogical resources available beyond the Federal Census and Vital Records. Learn how archives such as probate, property, newspapers and landsmenschaften can expand your research and offer a better understanding of the lives your ancestors lived.

Lauren Shulsky Orenstein has been researching family histories for more than 20 years, dating back to a time when finding a census entry was an arduous process involving city directories and endless scrolling through microfilm. She is comfortable in archives of every size and type, including libraries, tax departments, surrogate's and civil courthouses, universities and cemeteries. She works to venture outside the "usual" research venues to succeed. Her work in genealogy is, in many ways, an extension of her academic work in archaeology, making her uniquely qualified to dig through records, new and old, to find the information needed.


Sunday May 18, 2014, 1:00-3:30PM
Summary
JGSMD's next meeting will be Sunday May 18 at Hadassah (3723 Old Court Road, Suite 205 in Pikesville, above the new PETCO store) at 1PM. There will be two talks--one that describes ways to find documents and one which depicts how to bring stories from those documents to life.

First, Lara Diamond will talk through some strategies used to get documents from in Ukraine, to include hiring researchers privately, crowdsourcing research for specific towns, and utilizing the Family History Library's resources. These strategies should be applicable to much of Eastern Europe.

Then: “Notebooks filled with scribbled notes. MyHeritage. Ancestry. FamilySearch, TreeLines.com –etcetera ad infinitum. Great tools for every genealogist to organize those scribbled notes in with or without added stories and comments. But - to make those dry notes come alive, to see and hear and smell their world, to tug at the heart strings of family, friend and even strangers, you’ll need something more. Join Hanna Berger, founder of Bat Ami Strul Productions, in exploring how video can bring to life that world long gone.”

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD). Refreshments will be available.


Sunday April 28, 2013, 1:00-3:30PM
Summary
Trees and Stories on Treelines.com
You have intriguing stories about your favorite ancestors stored in your file drawers, your computer, and inside your head. Now you want to share them with your family and friends, but their eyes glaze over when you start to talk. Tammy will show you how to fix that, both by introducing Treelines.com and its collaborative family story-telling platform, as well as presenting techniques even the tech-wary can use to make their stories more entertaining in any medium.

Tammy Hepps is a nationally-recognized genealogy speaker, teacher, and writer. As the creator of Treelines.com, she won the RootsTech Developer Challenge. Her experience combines fourteen years managing web technology for digital media companies in New York City with more than two decades researching her family tree. She received her AB in Computer Science from Harvard and serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Jewish Archive Center and JewishGen.


Sunday March 23, 2014, 1:00-3:30PM

Calling All Readers: A Literary Trove for Jewish Genealogists

Ellen Cassedy, author of “We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust,” will introduce us to an array of literary treasures that will educate, inspire, and entertain us as we pursue our Jewish family roots – fiction, memoirs, genealogical journeys, children’s books, and a few odd findings she promises you’ve never heard of. Be ready to add your own suggestions. You’ll come away with a list of terrific reads, as well as blogs and websites for further browsing.

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD). Refreshments will be available.

Sunday February 23, 2014, 1:00-3:30PM
The next JGSMD meeting will be held on February 23, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (7401 Park Heights at Slade). Genealogist and historian Suzan Wynne will present “Helpful Records in Tracking a Family.” She will trace a Baltimore family via a multitude of record sources, touching on Baltimore passenger ship records, city directories, naturalization documents, and military records, and will demonstrate a logical research strategy that attendees will be able to apply to their own families’ research.

Refreshments will be available. Hope to see everyone there!

Sunday January 26, 2014, 1:00-3:30PM
Summary
JGSMD is pleased to announce our upcoming program, "The great 'war' between the Litvaks and the Galitzianers; Jewish cultural geography," presented by Dick Goldman.

Understanding the context in which our ancestors lived brings them to life and help us visualize their activities as well as understand their hopes and dreams. In Eastern Europe there developed a deep division between two committed Jewish groups who responded very differently to the worlds in which they lived. This informed and shaped their language, dress, food, customs and religious practices. We will learn how this occurred and and as part of this program experience some of those differences for ourselves.

Dick Goldman is Co-President of JGS Maryland and has been immersed in Jewish genealogy for more than fifty years. He is part of a "mixed marriage"; his wife's family is from Galicia and his is primarily from Lithuania, something they didn't know when they first married! He did his graduate work in Jewish Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City and has taught numerous workshops and classes on Jewish genealogy, history and culture.

Refreshments will be available. Hope to see everyone there!

Sunday December 22, 2013, 1:00-3:30PM
Summary
JGSMD is pleased to announce our upcoming program, "A Rosen by Any Other Name: Secrets of Jewish Family Names" by Professor Robert M. Shapiro. Please come to learn what your family names can tell you about your family's history. The meeting will be at the Park Heights JCC at 1PM.

Born in Germany, Professor Robert Shapiro was raised and educated in New Jersey and Maryland. Shapiro held fellowships at the Max Weinreich Center of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has taught at Baltimore Hebrew University, Yeshiva University, the University of Maryland, the National Yiddish Book Center and the Ramaz School in New York City. He has been at Brooklyn College since 2002. His published books include Holocaust Chronicles (KTAV and Yeshiva University Press, 1999),Why Didn't the Press Shout (KTAV and Yeshiva University Press, 2003), and Lodz Ghetto: A History (Indiana University Press with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2006). His latest book is The Warsaw Ghetto Oyneg Shabes-Ringelbaum Archive: Catalog and Guide(Indiana University Press in association with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, 2009)

Refreshments will be available. Hope to see everyone there!

Sunday November 24, 2013, 10:30-1:00
Summary
Elise Friedman, a former president of JGSMD, will be presenting a Genetic Genealogy Primer for Jewish Genealogists. Genealogical DNA testing (aka Genetic Genealogy) is a fascinating and powerful tool that many genealogists have been using to supplement traditional paper trail research for almost 15 years. With several major companies offering DNA testing for genealogy today, plus several different types of tests being offered, deciding which company to test with and what test(s) to take may seem overwhelming at first. However, after a brief introduction to the topic of genetic genealogy and an overview of the available tests, you'll be able to jump right in.

So please join us to learn how to get started in genetic genealogy! We'll discuss the goals & benefits of DNA testing, the core types of tests that are available and how each one is used to make genealogical connections, which companies offer the tests, how much the tests cost and much more.

We'll also discuss some common challenges that Jewish genealogists face, such as young surnames and changed surnames, and how to make the most of your genetic genealogy experience amidst those challenges.



Sunday October 27, 2013, 1:00-3:30
Summary
Lara Diamond, Co-President, will be offering an overview to what it is we do called: "Genealogy Research in 10 Slides or Less" which will be our first program.

Zev Griner, Program Chair, will then offer an in-depth look at how Yad Vashem records can aid in your research--even if your immediate relatives weren't in Europe during the Holocaust.

Sunday September 29, 2013, 11:00-12:30

Summary
The Jewish Museum of Maryland is committed to serving as a resource for genealogists. Learn about available resources at the JMM including Jewish Times obituaries and birth notices, cemetery listings, midwife records, ship manifests, vertical files, and more. During this meeting, attendees will learn about the process involved in scheduling appointments with JMM to conduct research as well as which JMM resources are available on line.

Speakers are:

Edie Shlian, born and raised in Baltimore. Degree in General Education and a Degree in Nursing. I spent 30 years working in Critical Cardiac Care and Interventional Cardiac procedures, including Cardiac research trials of drugs and devices. My interest in my family ancestry began in the 1980's, and off and on since then I have accumulated a lot of documents and stories. I am hoping to pull it all together now, and have a more concise history of my family to pass on to future generations. I am retired from nursing, have 3 married children, 6 grandchildren and I live in Mt. Washington. I just recently began volunteering at the JMM and have found it most rewarding.


Duke Zimmerman, born and raised in Baltimore. B.S. Degree in Business and Public Administration from University of Maryland College Park. Retired from a career in screen printing and graphics and fine art prints and sculpture production and publishing. Served on various industry and community boards. Still a fine art dealer and maintains a Private Gallery. Vice President and Trustee of the Jewish Museum of Maryland and Chair of its Collections Committee. On and off active in family genealogy since the late 70s. Quite active now with research using computers and Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker softwares. Looking to learn more about genealogy. Married with wife and two married children and five grandchildren. Maybe the grandchildren will one day care to know about their ancestors.

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