Genealogy Update

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Susanne Levitsky

Jun 25, 2021, 7:10:43 PMJun 25

Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento

June 25, 2021

Upcoming Meetings:

Sunday, July 18, 2021, "Recording Your Family Stories," Reem Awad-Rashmawi

August (no meeting, IAJGS conference)

Sunday, September 19, 2021, "Sharing Our Family Treasures," group participation.



JGSS June 13,2021 Meeting Notes


President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order. He noted that there will be a JGSS Board of Directors meeting on Sunday, June 27; all are welcome to attend -- just let Mort know at

The August IAJGS Conference will be held virtually on Zoom from Philadelphia.

See above for upcoming JGS meetings.


June Program by Zoom -- Jim Baker

"Google, The Genealogist's Best Friend"

Jim Baker said his purpose is to make you believe that Google can really help us with different aspects of our genealogy. Would we ever ask Google a genealogy question? Yes, and maybe we should do it more often.

Jim said he has Google as his home page. He asked which sites do you use the most?

1) The frequency is Ancestry, Family Search, My Heritage and Find My Past for genealogists.

2)  Jim suggested people might also make use of government sites -- local, state and federal relating to taxes, property, probate and more.

3) Specialty sites such as ethnic sites.

4) You should also include Google, including Gmail, Images, Apps.

Images -- click on the upper right-hand corner. Jim showed an example from his family of his second cousin Jack Pettis, a jazz musician. He found numerous photos of him from the 1920s and beyond. There was also information about his parents, a photo of his gravestone, etc.

"Maps are a specific type of image," Jim said. Instead of a name, put in   "map"

Apps -- 3x3 block of dots (which should be labeled Google maps) And "More" -- including Books.  There are about 30 million books, Jim said, including many genealogy books.

"I thought maybe there would be an early mention of my great-grandfather from Logan, Illinois," Jim said. He did find him in an early history book.

"Go to apps/books versus the regular Google section" and see what you can find.

Other apps: Blogger, Google Earth, Google Street View, Alerts. Jim said there are some 100 apps, some of which could be of value to you.

Google Alert -- if anything new turns up of interest, "so I don't have to keep checking and rechecking."

Google Translate -- User-friendly.

YouTube -- many genealogy presentations (also Vimeo, Teven notes)

Wikipedia -- a lot of errors

Obituaries -- sometimes just the data you need.


Jim said he's found a lot of people only post partial family trees or no tree at all. Sometimes they post things on the internet but not necessarily on genealogy sites. "In fact I think more people post data on non-genealogy sites than sites like Ancestry."

Jim lucked out regarding a small town in Germany where he had relatives -- Goddelsheim. "I already milked it for everything I could," he said about his previous research, but playing around with Google, he entered Goddelsheim + genealogy.

He said one family had a website based on a long-established family organization and held reunions, sent out newsletters and more.

"13,000 names just dropped into my lap," he said."And they are not on Ancestry or Family Search, but Google."

Do you have any interesting ancestors?

Jim mentioned Mary Tyler Lovett in his family, born in 1651. Through Google, he learned that she was accused of being a witch -- "but she was acquitted." He also eliminated searches that included "Mary Tyler Moore" to narrow his hits.

Jim said YouTube videos may also provide information (and Teven noted Vimeo as well.)


And Jim mentioned Randy Majors' free software package that you can subscribe to narrow things down.

Jim's handout is attached, and a link to a recording of his presentation can be found here:






From Gary Mokotoff's "Nu? What's Nu?" June 20 … Wins Law Suit About Use of Yearbook Pictures

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
 notes that a U.S. federal judge dismissed with prejudice claims that used California yearbook pictures without permission. The dismissal comes after a class of Californians sued the genealogy website in November 2020 claiming it used their old yearbook photos and other information in ads without their permission.

The judge wrote that for a suit like this to succeed, those bringing it would have to show how Ancestry’s operation of its database resulted in actual injury to those whose pictures and information are stored within it. The judge found the complaint failed to do so.

Details about the suit and the judge’s ruling can be found at

Choosing Your DNA Test: The Best DNA Testing Kits

Who Do You Think You Are magazine has published an article titled “Choosing Your DNA Test: The Best DNA Testing Kits.” It does not declare a winner among the various services it describes, but instead provides the pros and cons of each. Evaluated are Ancestry, Living DNA, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and 23andMe.

The article can be found at

JewishGen Updates Its Communities Database and Gazetteer

JewishGen has for years maintained a gazetteer of place names in 25 countries of interest to people researching Jewish family history. The source is a U.S. government database maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. In addition to primary or approved names, it has variants and commonly used names for places such as those in other languages or colloquial local names.

The U.S government updates its database regularly, but JewishGen has not updated its version in 10 years. The new JewishGen version adds 1.5M names and 215,000 place names.

The announcement can be found at The gazetteer is at



See you at our next JGSS meeting, on Zoom July 18!

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