EventsSFBAJGS - Past Programs

Handy 2017 Calendar as pdf
 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.

Time and Place:

Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA

Topic:
Documenting The Vilna Ghetto Library
Speaker:
Judy Baston

Vilna – known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania – had a strong cultural tradition that endured and flourished after the Vilna Ghetto was established in 1941. Many historians believe the most important cultural institution in the Ghetto was the Vilna Ghetto Library, which became the center for Jewish secular cultural life. In the two years in which the Vilna Ghetto Library functioned, it had 6,800 readers. Documentation from the Vilna Ghetto Library includes lists of readers and in the library, and even a list of readers who did not return books. Most of these lists are from the Lithuanian State Central Archive in Vilnius and are also available in the Yad Vashem Archives in Jerusalem. The presentation will offer an overview of the significance of the Vilna Ghetto Library and will detail the various lists that have survived.

Judy Baston, LitvakSIG Vice President and board member of LitvakSIG and JRI-Poland, moderates the discussion groups for LitvakSIG, JRI-Poland, BialyGen, and Lodz and coordinates LitvakSIG’s Lida District Research Group. She has been involved with the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco for 25 years and coordinates its monthly genealogy clinic. Judy received the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 IAJGS Conference in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Presentation for International Jewish Genealogy Month

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.

Time and Place:

Doors open 6:30 to 8:00 pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA

Topic:
The Charytan-Berman Family Story: An Unintended Geneaological Quest
Speaker:
Eshel Haritan

Growing up in Israel, Eshel Haritan always wondered why he could recite his maternal family history, one of early settlers and pioneers, seven generations back but why he didn’t know anything about his father’s family. His paternal grandparents immigrated to Israel from Poland in 1934 and did not share their story, implicitly saying that their story was not worth telling. In 2011 Haritan was able to convince his father and uncle to go on a roots trip to Poland, but where would they go? What should they do? These questions started an unintended three-year research quest that led to an unforgettable family trip to Poland. The presentation will describe the research process he went through, peeling the onion, one layer at a time.

Eshel Haritan was born in Israel and has a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science. In 1996 he moved with his wife and two sons to Silicon Valley and has been working in electronic companies, including some start-ups. In 2014, after three years of research, he organized a family roots trip to Poland with 20 family members. The research and trip were followed by a family history book and soon by a family history video.

International Jewish Genealogy Month
October 21 to November 18, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.

Palo Alto is the new location for the Peninsula meetings:


Time and Place:
Doors open Doors open 7pm, Program begins 7:30pm
Congregation Etz Chayim
4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Topic:
My Family: I Could Write a Book
Speaker:
Joan Adler

One large branch of the Straus family moved from the Rheinpfalz area of Germany to the northern most parts of Washington State, where their experiences differed greatly from what they had known back in Germany but also from those of their German immigrant counterparts who settled in the eastern United States. This colorful bunch showed its spunk by accepting, even embracing, the rugged and often difficult life of a Jewish immigrant in the American frontier. Using their stories I will show how to flesh out the lives of these people by writing vignettes about them and how to publish these stories in book form or post them on a family Web page with photographs where available. This is one way to truly bring these people to life and to connect with your ancestors with a novel approach.

Joan Adler has been the executive director of the Straus Historical Society for the past 25 years, an organization she created. She considers her overall function to be social historian: placing the lives of the people in the Lazarus Straus family within the historical, political, and social contexts in which they lived. Genealogy provides the facts, but additional research including oral histories, writing, researching in newspapers, books, articles, and other documents provides the "color."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Topic:
My Family: I Could Write a Book
Speaker:
Joan Adler

 
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 

One large branch of the Straus family moved from the Rheinpfalz area of Germany to the northern most parts of Washington State, where their experiences differed greatly from what they had known back in Germany but also from those of their German immigrant counterparts who settled in the eastern United States. This colorful bunch showed its spunk by accepting, even embracing, the rugged and often difficult life of a Jewish immigrant in the American frontier. Using their stories I will show how to flesh out the lives of these people by writing vignettes about them and how to publish these stories in book form or post them on a family Web page with photographs where available. This is one way to truly bring these people to life and to connect with your ancestors with a novel approach.

Joan Adler has been the executive director of the Straus Historical Society for the past 25 years, an organization she created. She considers her overall function to be social historian: placing the lives of the people in the Lazarus Straus family within the historical, political, and social contexts in which they lived. Genealogy provides the facts, but additional research including oral histories, writing, researching in newspapers, books, articles, and other documents provides the "color."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.

Time and Place:

Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA

Topic:
Leaving Something of Who You Are
Speaker:
Kimberly Miller

Can you imagine a Ken Burns documentary such as "The Civil War" or "Jazz" without the personal stories that make those times come alive? You may think you aren’t anything special or that no one cares about your life, but you are wrong. You have unique experiences and have lived through times that will soon be history. You need to leave something of who you are and the times you have lived in. Come to this fun, interactive presentation on the whys and hows of writing a personal history.

Kim Miller has degrees in Liberal Arts and Education, plus a Family History Research certificate from BYU Idaho. She is presently on staff at the Oakland FamilySearch Library, where she is one of two people in charge of staff training.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.

Palo Alto is the new location for the Peninsula meetings:


Time and Place:
Doors open Doors open 7pm, Program begins 7:30pm
Congregation Etz Chayim
4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306
 

Topic:
Travel and Research in Ukraine
Speaker:
Janette Silverman

Using a trip I took to Ukraine in 2009 to meet my own family as a backdrop, we will discuss resources that are (or are not) available in Ukraine and why, and speak about the resources of Ukraine SIG, talk about current projects, and provide insights for the system(s) in place for discovering your ancestors’ background. As examples, we will look at some of the navigation the Ukraine SIG site and understand the resources and processes of Ukraine SIG to acquire and index data.

Dr. Janette Silverman is a Senior Genealogist Research Manager at AncestyProGenealogists in Salt Lake City. She devotes her "spare" time to being the Ukraine SIG coordinator and a JewishGen moderator. The Seattle 2016 IAJGS Conference found her as the Lead Cochair. Janette began her genealogy path as a "hobby" with her dad. Today, 35 years later, it has developed into a profession and perhaps an obsession, and her dad is still her best research partner. Janette's doctoral dissertation, In Living Memory, discusses the unique attributes of Jewish genealogical research and traces the paths of four branches of her family from Europe to the United States, contextualizing their individual experiences within a larger historical framework.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Topic:
Nontraditional Resources for Genealogical Research
Speaker:
Janette Silverman

 
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 

The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York is often off the radar screen for many genealogists, but the library is home to almost half a million volumes including manuscripts, rare books, and archival material. The archives are a treasure yet to be explored by so many of us and yet are a rich repository of records of Jewish communities, institutions, and prominent individuals in the U.S. and Europe. Included in these archives are transcriptions of notes, memos, and correspondence between the State Department and offices in Vienna, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and Bucharest from 1863-1906 that concern the legal position and persecution of Jews; and correspondence and notes about the Jewish community in France from the 1700's until after World War II.

Dr. Janette Silverman is a Senior Genealogist Research Manager at AncestyProGenealogists in Salt Lake City. She devotes her "spare" time to being the Ukraine SIG coordinator and a JewishGen moderator. The Seattle 2016 IAJGS Conference found her as the Lead Cochair. Janette began her genealogy path as a "hobby" with her dad. Today, 35 years later, it has developed into a profession and perhaps an obsession, and her dad is still her best research partner. Janette's doctoral dissertation, In Living Memory, discusses the unique attributes of Jewish genealogical research and traces the paths of four branches of her family from Europe to the United States, contextualizing their individual experiences within a larger historical framework.

July 23-28, 2017

 

IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
Orlando, Florida

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Panel of SFBAJGS experts
Bring Your Own Brick Wall: One on One Help with Your Family Tree


Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA

Stuck on a genealogy problem while the Mavens are on summer hiatus? Bring your problems, questions, and documents (copies, please, no originals), and a panel of experienced researchers will brainstorm to provide information and suggestions that will show you your next steps and may help you solve some of your family mysteries.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Palo Alto is the new location for the Peninsula meetings:

Topic:
The Power of Digital Photography for Family History
Speaker:
Ron Madson
Time and Place:
Doors open Doors open 7pm, Program begins 7:30pm
Congregation Etz Chayim
4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306

After beginning his journey of researching his genealogy about 11 years ago, Ron realized that his 20+ years of photography experience could help with his family history research. He will share his tips so you can use a digital camera, smartphone, and other smart technology to help with your research. This class is for the novice to the experienced camera user. We’ll discuss the benefits of storing items in a digital format and getting started. This class will encompass the entire process, including:
• capturing images
• transferring them to a computer
• editing them with image editing applications
• labeling them
• and then filing them

Ron Madson's 45 years of data and image-processing experience helped him develop methods for image editing, labeling, and digital organization that greatly assisted all aspects of his family history research. With a BS and MS in math, he served seven years as the educational coordinator for the largest international IBM computer users group and ten years as the technical education coordinator for an international insurance company.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome

Topic:
Ketubah: The Jewish Marriage Contract and What It Really Says
Speaker:
Steve Morse
. Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
 

Vital records (birth, marriage, death) have always been a valuable source of family information and sought after by genealogists. The Jewish marriage contract (ketubah) is no exception. The information in the Jewish record actually complements the information in the civil record: The civil record typically identifies the bride and groom by giving their family names, whereas the Jewish record gives their fathers’ names instead. There is a basic difference between the civil and religious marriage records in that one focuses on the union and the other on the termination of the union. This talk covers what is contained in the Jewish marriage contract, tells what it really means, and provides information that can be useful to family historians.

Steve Morse is the creator of the One-Step Website, for which he has received both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from IAJGS, the Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, the first ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists, and two awards that he cannot pronounce from Polish genealogical societies. In his other life Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He has held various research, development, and teaching positions, authored numerous technical papers, and written four textbooks, and holds four patents.

 
 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street 

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome

Topic:
Reclaim the Records: Using Freedom of Information Laws for Genealogical Research
Speaker:
Brooke Schreier Ganz

Time and Place:

Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA

Tired of being told by state archives or libraries that the records you want are inaccessible? Reclaim the Records is a not-for-profit group filing Freedom of Information requests to get these “off limits” genealogy records released back to the public and put online for free. Learn how we successfully challenged the NYC Municipal Archives in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and our upcoming plans.

Brooke Schreier Ganz is a genealogist, computer programmer, and open-data activist. She works on making archival records more accessible to the general public through technological solutions and legal remedies. She is a former Vice President of Gesher Galicia, and designed and built the Gesher Galicia Web site, including its innovative and free All Galicia Database. Brooke won second place in the 2012 RootsTech Developer Challenge for the underlying search engine codebase, named LeafSeek.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.

Palo Alto is the new location for the Peninsula meetings:

Topic:
The Western Sephardim, a Minority in a Minority in a Minority
Speaker:
Harold Zvi Rabbie
 

Time and Place:
Doors open Doors open 7pm, Program begins 7:30pm
Congregation Etz Chayim
4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306
 
 

After their expulsion from Spain in 1492, many Sephardi Jews headed east, to the Ottoman Empire, but some chose to undergo insincere Christian conversions or head west to Portugal. Some made their way to Protestant countries of Northern Europe or to the New World, where they could revert back to Judaism. This is the story of the earliest Jewish communities in the Netherlands, England, and the Caribbean, which were founded by these Spanish and Portuguese Jews.

Educated in England and Israel, Harold participated in the explosive growth of the high-tech industry in Israel and in California and is now retired. He has been researching his Dutch Jewish ancestry for more than 25 years and is able to trace his family story back to Portugal in 1450.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome
Topic:
The Western Sephardim, a Minority in a Minority in a Minority
Speaker:
Harold Zvi Rabbie
 
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
 

After their expulsion from Spain in 1492, many Sephardi Jews headed east, to the Ottoman Empire, but some chose to undergo insincere Christian conversions or head west to Portugal. Some made their way to Protestant countries of Northern Europe or to the New World, where they could revert back to Judaism. This is the story of the earliest Jewish communities in the Netherlands, England, and the Caribbean, which were founded by these Spanish and Portuguese Jews.

Educated in England and Israel, Harold participated in the explosive growth of the high-tech industry in Israel and in California and is now retired. He has been researching his Dutch Jewish ancestry for more than 25 years and is able to trace his family story back to Portugal in 1450.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Membership Meeting

The talk is free and everyone interested is welcome.

Topic:
Digging for Gelt on JewishGen.org
Speaker:
Vivian Kahn

 
Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 

JewishGen.org is the home of Jewish genealogy online, and it is a big site with a lot of resources, which can sometimes be overwhelming. This class will provide an overview of what is available, including databases, special interest groups, e-mail discussion lists, KehilaLinks, online classes, and more.

Vivian Kahn is coordinator of JewishGen’s Hungarian SIG, moderates the Hungarian SIG discussion list, and is JewishGen's Vice President of SIG Affairs. She has presented workshops on Jewish genealogy and, especially, Hungarian Jewish family research at the IAJGS annual conference and for Jewish genealogy groups. Since she began researching her own family from pre-Trianon Hungary more than 20 years ago, she has identified and used a wide range of archival, print, and online resources and has visited Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Great Britain, and Salt Lake City to research her family and help clients searching for their Hungarian roots.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Special Event
Free and everyone interested is welcome

Topic:
Jewish Burial Records Indexing Party

Coordinator: Janice Sellers

Time and Place

Noon until 5pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA

Pay it forward, fellow genealogist! If you've ever enjoyed finding records easily by using a search form on JewishGen, Family Search, Ancestry, or many other genealogy sites, you have been a beneficiary of indexing. Indexing is the result of volunteers reading images of old records and typing the information into a searchable format. SFBAJGS has taken on the task of creating an index for the old burial records from San Francisco's Sherith Israel synagogue for the 1850s through 1906. We expect that these records will uncover currently unknown death dates for this period, one that is notoriously difficult to research due to record destruction after the 1906 earthquake and fire. So we need REAL PEOPLE to read the records and type the information into Excel spreadsheets.

We will provide the snacks, computers, and instruction on this valuable and essential service. The records are handwritten, but we'll help you learn how to read them. If you can't stay for the whole afternoon, we will be happy to have you for as long as you can help. We will be giving out prizes for most records entered, longest time spent working, and a few more categories we have yet to think of. Don't miss this opportunity to make burial records accessible to genealogists around the world! The ancestors you find may be your own! We would like to have an idea of how many people will be coming (so we can buy the right amount of food!), so please send a message to vicepresident@sfbajgs.org to let us

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Co-Sponsorship with The Jewish Community Library of San Francisco

The Milkhik State: The Surprising Jewish History of Wisconsin

Time and Place:
7pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street 

Speaker:Andy Muchin

Jews have lived in Wisconsin almost continuously since 1793, when Jacob Frank established a fur-trading outpost in Green Bay. Wisconsin's Jewish population peaked at more than 39,000 preceding World War II, dropping to approximately 26,000 today. Still, Wisconsin Jewry has contributed much to the world: an Israeli prime minister, the world's greatest escape artist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, elected officials (including two U.S. senators), an All-Star baseball outfielder, artists, activists, farmers, rabbis, and an honorary Winnebago tribal chief.

Andy Muchin is working as program coordinator at the Jewish Community Library. From 2003-2010, he was director of the Wisconsin Small Jewish Communities History Project, a nonprofit research effort based in Milwaukee. He wrote the Wisconsin entry for the Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition (2007), and edited the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle weekly newspaper in the 1990s.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Topic:
Writing Your Family History
Speaker:
Heidi Lyss
Time and Place:
Doors open Doors open 7pm, Program begins 7:30pm
Congregation Etz Chayim
4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306

As genealogists we spend much time collecting family information and organizing it into trees and notes. In this seminar, we will discuss how you can enhance the sharing of your research by writing narrative family stories, or histories. These histories may be about your relatives and/or about your own experiences, and may be as short as one paragraph or as long as a book. We will consider how to choose whom to write about, identify your audience, structure your work, address information gaps, and include photos and documents. We will look at examples of family histories and briefly touch on considerations for sharing your work in print and electronically.

Heidi Lyss has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Certificate in the Teaching of Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She has led creative writing workshops for adults on writing about history and on the Heroic Journey, and has taught undergraduate English composition classes. Two of her short stories received awards, and she has published creative nonfiction, poetry, and trade/academic articles. Heidi also has an MBA, works as a healthcare consultant, and serves as a board member of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome
Topic:
From Cottage to Estate in One Generation: A San Francisco Family
Speaker:
David Fleishhacker
. Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
 

David Fleishhacker will outline how a Jewish immigrant (his ancestor) from Bavaria came to the U.S. in 1840 and prospered in the gold country, then in Virginia City, then in trading mining shares in San Francisco, and finally by founding a paper box company so that his sons could learn about business, which they did, becoming major investors and bankers. Like Sutro and Levi Strauss (although much less known), the family was able to prosper in the West and become important figures in California, especially in San Francisco. The San Francisco Zoo, the Hetch Hetchy water system, and Coit Tower all owe their existence partly to Aaron Fleishhacker and his sons, whose descendants still live here. As one of them, David will outline the research that revealed the triumphs and disasters of the family over the past 120 years.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street 

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Membership Meeting

The talk is free and everyone interested is welcome.

 
Topic:
A Kindertransport Survivor Tells His Story
Speaker:
Ralph Samuel

Time and Place:

Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA

 

Ralph Samuel was born in Dresden, Germany in 1931 and at age 7 1/2 was sent alone on a Kindertransport (http://www.kindertransport.org/) to England to escape the Holocaust. He will talk about his experiences, including his reunion with his mother in England during the war. He encourages participation from audience members and welcomes (and expects!) questions and interaction.

 Ralph Samuel was educated in England and at age 27 immigrated to the United States. He worked as a land economist and in public agency real estate before retiring in 1977. Since his retirement, he has been am active member of the Speakers Bureau of the Northern California Holocaust Center, now part of San Francisco Jewish Family and Children's Services.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street 

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Presentation for International Jewish Genealogy Month

The talk is free and everyone interested is welcome

 
Topic:
Bubbie, Who Are You?: Finding the Maiden Names in Your Family Tree
Speaker:
Janice M. Sellers
 

Time and Place:

6:30-8:00 pm
Oakland Family History Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
 

Female relatives can be difficult to trace, but they can be found. This class introduces resources for tracing the women in your family, including oral histories, immigration, religious records, journals, newspapers, legal and court records, archives, and manuscripts.

Janice is the vice president of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. She is a professional genealogist specializing in Jewish, black, dual citizenship, and newspaper research.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Refugee: Fleeing Oppression from the Exodus to Modern Times
A Lehrhaus symposium open to the community

 
Time and Place:
1 pm to 5pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street 

Featuring sessions with Joel Ben Izzy, Rabbi Lee Bycel, John Efron, Jehon Grist, Eran Kaplan, Sarah Levin, Avi Rose, Fred Rosenbaum, and Mark Schapiro.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Membership Meeting Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.

Time and Place:
10am to Noon
Meet at Colma Historical Association Museum
1500 Hillside Boulevard, Colma. The museum is near Serramonte Blvd and closer to 280 than 101. It is at the corner of F St. and Hillside Blvd. It's about a half-mile walk from the Colma BART station.
http://www.colmahistory.org/
 
 
Topic:
Tour of Colma's Jewish Cemeteries

Come enjoy a tour of three of the Jewish cemeteries in Colma: Home of Peace, Hills of Eternity, and Eternal Home. The tour will begin at the museum with a 10-minute film which discusses the history of all of Colma's cemeteries, including moving burials from San Francisco. We will then visit the three Jewish cemeteries discussed and hear about some of the history and the burials, famous and perhaps some locals. There is no fee for the tour.

We will do a fair amount of walking, so you should wear comfortable shoes and a hat, bring a water bottle, and dress in layers (we may have fog).  As we get closer to the date, we'll have a better idea of what type of weather to expect.

Carpooling is strongly encouraged. The fewer cars the better, as it takes time to get everyone in and out at each stop. Cameras are permitted.

Note: Rain will cancel.

International Jewish Genealogy Month
November 1 to 30, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
7 to 9pm
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Road, Room 5/6
Los Altos Hills , CA
 
Topic:
San Francisco's Own Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico
Speaker:
Emperor Norton (Joseph Amster)

A Jewish businessman originally from England and South Africa, Joshua Abraham Norton arrived in San Francisco in 1849 with $40,000, which after some shrewd investing increased to $250,000 (about $3 million today). After losing his fortune to a bad rice investment, Norton disappeared, returning to San Francisco in 1859 and declaring himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. In any other city he would have been dismissed as a madman, but the people of San Francisco embraced his reign.

Amster, a displaced journalist with an acting background, wanted to create a walking tour with a twist, offering his patrons a unique experience. “I decided early on that I wanted to do my tour in character and researched the historical figures from San Francisco’s past,” says Amster. “The more I read about Emperor Norton, the more fascinated I became with him.” After completing his research, Amster took on the character of Emperor Norton, complete with uniform, beard, and plumed top hat.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
 
Topic:
Vivian and Sandy's Excellent Adventure: Family Research Travel in Hungary and Romania
Speaker:
Vivian Kahn

Vivian Kahn will talk about the trip that she made to Hungary and Romania last year with Sandy Malek, coordinator of the H-SIG Maramaros Records project, to participate in a gathering of descendants of families from Sziget, Maramaros. Her presentation will cover their experiences doing on-the-ground research and meeting members of their extended families from eastern Hungary and the formerly Hungarian counties of Szatmar and Maramaros in Romania. Vivian will share tips for locating and learning about the places where your families lived in Hungary and Transylvania and provide an overview of resources available for research in Maramaros from JewishGen’s Hungary database and other resources.

Vivian Kahn is coordinator of JewishGen’s Hungarian SIG, moderates the Hungarian SIG discussion list, and is JewishGen's Vice President of SIG Affairs. She has presented workshops on Jewish genealogy and, especially, Hungarian Jewish family research at the IAJGS annual conference and for Jewish genealogy groups. Since she began researching her own family from pre-Trianon Hungary more than 20 years ago, she has identified and used a wide range of archival, print, and online resources and has visited Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Great Britain, and Salt Lake City to research her family and help clients searching for their Hungarian roots.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
Topic:
Grow Your Family Tree:  Using the Internet Archive for Genealogical Research
Speaker:
Michelle Krasowski, MLIS

The Internet Archive is a digital library that has become an excellent resource for people who are interested in genealogical research. Collections from the comprehensive holdings of institutions including Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Robarts Library at the University of Toronto; the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library; Brigham Young University; and more are made available for free access on your computer. Librarian Michelle Krasowski will help us explore these resources, with a particular focus on Jewish-oriented collections, as well as give a general tour of archive.org and the depths of fascinating information that are in store for users.

Michelle Krasowski is a librarian currently working on the Administration Team at the Internet Archive. She comes from the public library world, where she has provided reference, instructional, and programming services to users of all ages. She loves learning and teaching, and appreciates all opportunities to broaden her areas of knowledge.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
7 to 9pm
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Road, Room 5/6
Los Altos Hills , CA
 
Topic:
Travel and Research in Ukraine
Speaker:
Janette Silverman

Using a trip she took to Ukraine in 2009 to meet her own family as a backdrop, Janette will discuss resources that are (or are not) available in Ukraine and why, and speak about the resources of Ukraine SIG, talk about current projects, and provide insights for the system(s) in place for discovering your ancestors’ background.  As examples, she will look at the Ukraine SIG site and explore the resources and processes of Ukraine SIG to acquire and index data.

Dr. Janette Silverman is a Senior Genealogist Research Manager at AncestyProGenealogists in Salt Lake City. She devotes her "spare" time to being the Ukraine SIG coordinator and a JewishGen moderator. The Seattle 2016 IAJGS Conference found her as the Lead Cochair. Janette began her genealogy path as a "hobby" with her dad. Today, 35 years later, it has developed into a profession and perhaps an obsession, and her dad is still her best research partner. Janette's doctoral dissertation, In Living Memory, discusses the unique attributes of Jewish genealogical research and traces the paths of four branches of her family from Europe to the United States, contextualizing their individual experiences within a larger historical framework.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
Topic:
Nontraditional Resources for Genealogy Research
Speaker:
Janette Silverman

The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York is often off the radar screen for many genealogists, but the library is home to almost half a million volumes including manuscripts, rare books, and archival material. The archives are a treasure yet to be explored by so many of us and yet are a rich repository of records of Jewish communities, institutions, and prominent individuals in the U.S. and Europe. Included in these archives are transcriptions of notes, memos, and correspondence between the State Department and offices in Vienna, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and Bucharest from 1863-1906 that concern the legal position and persecution of Jews; and correspondence and notes about the Jewish community in France from the 1700's until after World War II.

Dr. Janette Silverman is a Senior Genealogist Research Manager at AncestyProGenealogists in Salt Lake City. She devotes her "spare" time to being the Ukraine SIG coordinator and a JewishGen moderator. The Seattle 2016 IAJGS Conference found her as the Lead Cochair. Janette began her genealogy path as a "hobby" with her dad. Today, 35 years later, it has developed into a profession and perhaps an obsession, and her dad is still her best research partner. Janette's doctoral dissertation, In Living Memory, discusses the unique attributes of Jewish genealogical research and traces the paths of four branches of her family from Europe to the United States, contextualizing their individual experiences within a larger historical framework.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
Topic:
The Power of Digital Photography for Family History
Speaker:
Ron Madson

After beginning his journey in researching his genealogy about 10 years ago, Ron quickly realized that his 20+ years of photography experience could help with his family history research. He will share his tips so you can use a digital camera, smart phone, and other smart technology to help with your research. This program is for the novice to the experienced camera user. Ron will discuss the benefits of storing items in a digital format and getting started. The presentation will encompass the entire process including:
• capturing images
• transferring them to a computer
• editing them with image editing applications
• labeling them
• and then filing them

Ron Madson's 45 years of data and image-processing experience helped him develop methods for image editing, labeling, and digital organization that greatly assisted all aspects of his family history research. With a BS and MS in math, he served seven years as the educational coordinator for the largest international IBM computer users group and ten years as the technical education coordinator for an international insurance company.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
7 to 9pm
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Road, Room 5/6
Los Altos Hills , CA
 
Topic:
Researching Your Litvak Roots
Speaker:
Judy Baston

Numerous sources exist online and in various repositories to research your Litvak heritage. Judy Baston will offer an overview of these sources and will detail the best ways to use key Litvak databases and Web sites to enhance your knowledge and expand your family tree. The presentation will include how to find out what records are available, how to read and understand search results, where the records are, and how best to access the information in them. The presentation will cover LitvakSIG and its All Lithuania Database, as well as numerous resources from JewishGen, Yad Vashem, and other sources.

Judy Baston, LitvakSIG Vice President and board member of LitvakSIG and JRI-Poland, moderates the discussion groups for LitvakSIG, JRI-Poland, BialyGen, and Lodz and coordinates LitvakSIG’s Lida District Research Group. She has been involved with the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco for 24 years and coordinates its monthly genealogy clinic. Judy received the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 IAJGS Conference in Jerusalem.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
Topic:
Bring Your Own Brick Wall
 

Stuck on a genealogy problem while the Mavens are on summer hiatus? Bring your problems, questions, and documents (copies, please, no originals), and a panel of experienced researchers will brainstorm to provide information and suggestions that will show you your next steps and may help you solve some of your family mysteries. Note: date has been changed from June 26 to June 19.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street
 

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street
  

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
7 to 9pm
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Road, Room 5/6
Los Altos Hills , CA
 
Topic:
Social Media for Genealogists
Speaker:
Meredith Sellers 

Social media are valuable tools for connecting and communicating with relatives, potential cousins, and fellow genealogists. Navigating various social media platforms and understanding their privacy controls can be daunting, however. As a member of the Web-savvy “Millennial Generation”, Meredith will provide case studies illustrating how social media can complement your current research endeavors. She will also address the pros and cons of different social media platforms and outline ways for you to maintain a secure, controlled online presence.

Dr. Meredith Sellers holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and works as a Senior Engineer at Exponent Failure Analysis Associates. Meredith has leveraged social media since 2008 to assist her personal genealogical research in New York City, St. Louis, Eastern Europe, and the British Isles. Before relocating to the Bay Area, Meredith volunteered and taught for organizations including the Champaign Family History Center, Champaign County Genealogical Society, and Olive Branch Cemetery Restoration.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
Topic:
The Ins and Outs of IGRA's Database Collection
Speaker:
Garri Regev 

Locating vital records in Israel is a challenge. IGRA is at the forefront of digitization and indexing of records in Israel. Close to 700,000 records are currently available on the IGRA site and cover three major periods of time:  the Ottoman, British, and State of Israel. We'll explore the databases, look at what kinds of records are available and what is not available, and what to expect in the future.

Garri Regev has lived in Israel since 1978 and was an elementary teacher for more than 20 years there. She has been doing genealogical research for over 20 years. Garri currently volunteers at the Israel Museum, Central Zionist Archives, and National Library of Israel Genealogy Center. She was President of the Israel Genealogical Society and is currently the President of the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). Garri serves on the IAJGS Board of Directors.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street
  

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
Topic:
Reclaim the Records: Using Freedom of Information Laws for Genealogical Research
Speaker:
Brook Schreier Ganz

Tired of being told by state archives or libraries that the records you want are inaccessible? Reclaim the Records is a new not-for-profit group filing Freedom of Information requests to get these "off limits" genealogy records released back to the public and put online for free. Learn how this group successfully challenged the NYC Municipal Archives in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and their plans for 2016.

Brooke Schreier Ganz is a genealogist, computer programmer, and open data activist. She works on making archival records more accessible to the general public through technological solutions and legal remedies. She is a former vice president of Gesher Galicia and designed and built the Gesher Galicia website, including its innovative and free All Galicia Database. Brooke won second place in the 2012 Roots Tech Developer Challenge for the underlying search engine codebase, named LeafSeek.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street
  

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
Topic:
Case Study: Genealogy of Renee Kaufman
Speaker:
Steve Morse 

This lecture presents a case study using the One-Step Webpages as well as other websites to develop a family history. It illustrates how, with a minimal amount of initial information, an entire genealogy can be obtained. It also shows how to obtain records in spite of name misspellings and how to avoid accepting wrong information.

Steve Morse is the creator of the One-Step Website, for which he has received both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from IAJGS, the Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, the first ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists, and two awards that he cannot pronounce from Polish genealogical societies. In his other life Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He has held various research, development, and teaching positions, authored numerous technical papers, and written four textbooks, and holds four patents.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
7 to 9pm
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Road, Room 5/6
Los Altos Hills , CA
 
Topic:
To Be Announced
Speaker:
Eshel Haritan 

Come back later for more information.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street
  

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
Topic:
The Heroic Journey as Inspiration for Writing Your Family History
Speaker:
Heidi Lyss

Sharing stories about our family members is one way to engage others in our genealogical studies and to deepen our understanding of our ancestors' experiences and their lives. In this presentation, we consider how to write our family members' stories using the universal framing of the Heroic Journey, described by Joseph Campbell as a core structure in tales from around the world. We will include discussion of how to use the Heroic Journey when we possess little actual information about family members, and will also talk about how to share our own genealogical explorations and life stories. You will leave this seminar with more ideas on how to write your family history. This topic is suitable for both new and more experienced family history writers.

Heidi Lyss has an MFA in Creative Writing and a Certificate in the Teaching of Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She has taught English composition at a Bay Area digital arts college and creative writing via Sierra College's Community Education program. She has received awards for two of her short stories and has published creative nonfiction, poetry, and trade/academic articles. She also has an MBA and works as a consultant, aiding organizations with communications and process improvement projects.  Heidi started her genealogical research in 2009 and is a board member of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. She is currently writing a novel set in ancient Turkey.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street
  

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Brainstorming with the Mavens

Time and Place:
Noon to 2pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA
Free parking: enter parking garage from Pierce Street
  

Volunteers from the SFBAJGS will be on hand to help individuals with their family history research. The session includes group brainstorming, suggestions for problem solving, and research using the Jewish Community Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connections. Bring your materials and questions. Registration is requested but not required at (415) 567-3327, ext. 704.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
Topic:
San Francisco's Own Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico
Speaker:
Joseph Amster

A Jewish businessman originally from England and South Africa, Joshua Abraham Norton arrived in San Francisco in 1849 with $40,000, which after some shrewd investing increased to $250,000 (about $3 million today). After losing his fortune to a bad rice investment, Norton disappeared, returning to San Francisco in 1859 and declaring himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. In any other city, he would have been dismissed as a madman, but the people of San Francisco embraced his reign. He ate for free in restaurants and had the best seats in the theater, the police saluted him, and he even printed his own money, which was accepted as legal tender throughout the city. He issued numerous proclamations, calling for a bridge to be built across San Francisco Bay—in the exact spot where the Bay Bridge stands today. Other proclamations called for the founding of a league of nations to promote world peace, and the United Nations was founded in San Francisco in 1945; the erection of a Christmas tree in Union Square, where one has stood ever since he called for it; and banning use of the word "Frisco", punishable by a $25 fine. When he died on January 8, 1880, he was given the biggest funeral the city has seen to this day.

Amster, a displaced journalist with an acting background, wanted to create a walking tour with a twist, offering his patrons a unique experience. “I decided early on that I wanted to do my tour in character and researched the historical figures from San Francisco’s past,” says Amster. “The more I read about Emperor Norton, the more fascinated I became with him.” After completing his research, Amster took on the character of Emperor Norton, complete with uniform, beard, and plumed top hat. He now offers his tour to anyone with an interest in history (http://www.emperornortontour.com).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Extra Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
6:30 to 8:30pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
 
Topic:
Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy
Speaker:
Janice M. Sellers 

Researching Jewish ancestry is in many respects like researching any other family history, but in addition some specialized online sources are unique to Jewish research. Learn about the most useful of these sites and what information you can expect to find.

Janice M. Sellers is a professional genealogist specializing in Jewish, forensic, and newspaper research. She edits three genealogy journals and serves on the boards of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, African American Genealogical Society of Northern California, and CSGA. She is also a member of Association of Professional Genealogists, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, Genealogical Speakers Guild, California Genealogical Society, and Gesher Galicia. Her Web site is http://www.ancestraldiscoveries.com/.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 7pm, Program begins 7:30pm
Congregation Beth Am Rm. 5/6
26790 Arastradero Road
Los Altos Hills, CA
 
Topic:
Chasing Portraits:  A Great-granddaughter’s Search for Her Lost Art Legacy
Speaker:
Elizabeth Rynecki 

Moshe Rynecki (1881-1943) painted the Polish-Jewish community in the 1920's and 1930's. Although he perished in the Holocaust, many of his 800 works survived, and the Rynecki family has about 100. The artist’s great-granddaughter will speak about her great-grandfather, her quest to find the missing pieces, and where the family’s story rests within the larger story of Holocaust art restitution. Read more

Elizabeth Rynecki attended Bates College ('91), where she studied Rhetoric, and received a Master's degree in Rhetoric and Speech Communication at U.C. Davis ('94), where her graduate work focused on children of Holocaust survivors and the voice and role of the second generation within Holocaust discourse. Elizabeth is passionate about sharing her great-grandfather’s paintings with others and searching for the lost and missing pieces from the original collection.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 12:30pm, Program begins 1pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
 
Topic:
JRI-Poland: Go for the Record!
Speaker:
Robinn Magid

Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (http://www.jri-poland.org) has the motto "Go for the Record!", and its day has truly arrived. Now you can not only search its online index of approximately 5 million Jewish vital records housed in Poland today, but in many cases, it's possible to click a button, view, and even download your ancestors' vital records without charge. JRI-Poland makes genealogy dreams come true, and this presentation will show you what may be possible for your family from Poland, Galicia/Ukraine, and even Belarus and Lithuania if your ancestors' vital records survive in Polish archives today.

Robinn Magid is a long-time member of the SFBAJGS, a board member of JRI-Poland, and a compulsive genealogist since her retirement from Management Consulting with an international CPA firm in 1991. In 2001 she realized her childhood dream of visiting Poland and “walking a mile in her grandmother’s moccasins.” She has four children, a loving husband, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA. Her family genealogy research includes tracing Jews in Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Galicia.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Extra Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and anyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
3 to 5pm
Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA
 
 
Topic:
Beyond Passenger Lists: Documenting 20th-century Immigrant Lives
Speaker:
Zack Wilske, USCIS 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Historian Zack Wilske will use case studies to introduce researchers to a variety of historical federal immigration and naturalization records available through the USCIS Genealogy Program and from the National Archives. Topics will include naturalization records, alien registration records, immigrant visa files, and other records documenting lives of Jewish immigrants during the first half of the twentieth century. Researchers will see example files, hear tips on connecting the records to each other, and learn how to advance their immigration research beyond the basics.

Zack Wilske is Historian for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). His research interests include the history of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the development of federal immigration and nationality policies, and the uses of INS records for historians and genealogists. He speaks regularly at academic and genealogy conferences and has published several articles on research with federal immigration and naturalization records.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Membership Meeting

Meetings are free and everyone interested is welcome.
Time and Place:
Doors open 1pm, Program begins 1:30pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 
2180 Post Street, San Francisco 94115
Parking Information: Rhoda Goldman Plaza has a private, locked garage on Sutter, between Pierce and Scott.  It is in the middle of the block and large writing on the building says "Parking for Rhoda Goldman Plaza".  Pull up to the gate, press the RGP button on the box on the driver's side, say you are there for the genealogy society meeting, and the gate will be opened.  Then drive down the ramp to RGP's visitor parking.  Take the RGP elevator to the first floor, then make a right and a quick left turn, and walk down the hallway to the lobby.  There you register and the front desk staff will direct you to the Olive Room on the same floor.
 
Topic:
Researching Your Litvak Roots
Speaker:
Judy Baston

Numerous sources exist online and in various repositories for researching your Litvak heritage. Judy Baston will offer an overview of these sources and will detail the best ways to use key Litvak databases and websites to enhance your knowledge and expand your family tree. The presentation will include how to find out what records are available, how to read and understand search results, where the records are, and how best to access the information in them. The presentation will cover LitvakSIG and its All Lithuania Database, as well as numerous resources from JewishGen, Yad Vashem, and other sources.

Judy Baston, Vice President of LitvakSIG, has been researching her family history from Lithuania and Poland for more than 25 years. She has visited her ancestral shtetls in Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus and was involved in the filming of “There Once Was a Town”, about her father’s town of Eishishok (now Eisiskes in Lithuania). She moderates the discussion groups of LitvakSIG, JRI-Poland, BialyGen, and the Lodz Area Research Group and serves on the Board of Directors of JRI-Poland and of LitvakSIG, for which she coordinates the Lida District Research Group. She has been involved with the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco for 22 years and coordinates the Brainstorming with the Mavens Genealogy Clinic at the Library.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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