Genealogy Update

Skip to first unread message

Susanne Levitsky

Oct 3, 2021, 3:06:52 PMOct 3

October 3, 2021


Upcoming Meeting:

Sunday, October 17, 2021, Stephen Falk, "Researching Breslau's Jewish Community Through Creative Data Mining,”

Stephen Falk, president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of British Columbia, will discuss expanding records for the Jewish community in the former eastern Germany city of Breslau, now Wroclaw, Poland. He and his brother have focused on growing all available 18th and 19th century records from family stories and documents to the LDS microfilm archive to the archives in the U.S., Germany, England, Poland and Israel, a web of interconnections linking most of the Jewish families of Breslau from that time. He says it is community genealogy rather than family genealogy.

Stephen lives in Point Roberts, Washington on the U.S./Canadian border and was formerly an intellectual property attorney in Philadelphia. He has done extensive research on his family lines from Silesia, Posen and West and East Prussia, previously eastern Germany and now part of Poland. He is co-founder of the "Urban Memory Foundation" of Wroclaw, Poland.

Please join us by Zoom from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, October 17.

Click on:

Meeting ID: 816 7122 2445


Future meeting dates: November 21, December 19


Dues for 2021

If you haven't paid your membership dues for the 2021 calendar year, it's not too late. The cost is $36, payable to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento. This allows us to provide small honorariums to our monthly speakers and take care of other annual expenses.

Please mail your check to the JGSS, care of the Sacramento Jewish Federation, 2130 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95818.  Thank you!


Notes from Sept. 19, 2021 Meeting


President Mort Rumberg called the Zoom meeting to order. Among his announcements, the 2022 National Genealogical Society conference scheduled for Sacramento May 25 -28 is still proceeding as planned, as of this time.

Mort said the JGSS by-laws specify starting the nomination process at the September meeting. If any members would like to participate or volunteer for an office, or have suggestions, let Mort know.

The JGSS Board of Directors will meet next Sunday, September 26, at 10 a.m. All are invited to attend, using the same Zoom info as for the Sept. 19 meeting.

PBS is hosting Season 8 of "Finding Your Roots" with Henry Louis Gates Jr. It will begin in January 2022. is offering free webinars through September. Many genealogical groups are providing free Zoom meetings, others ask for donations.

Valerie Jordan said she just gave a presentation to about 80 people on Ellis Island for OLLI, the older adult program at Sierra College. She said the main take-away was that many attending were surprised that names of immigrants were in fact not changed there.

Maryellen Burns said the Renaissance Society will feature Angie Rooney talking about Stolpersteine, the Largest Memorial in the World, next Friday, Sept. 25th. It was noted that this will be the topic of our December JGSS meeting. Maryellen said she can add members to the list of free community programs. (


September 19 Meeting -- "Sharing Our Family Treasures"

Mort recalled the last JGSS "show and tell" meeting about 4 or 5 years ago, with members pulling menorahs, chalices and photo albums out of boxes. This time it took place on Zoom, hosted by Susanne Levitsky.

Thanks to the many participants. They included Nick Alexander and mom, Sharon, who displayed a document from his father's service in World War I as well as a taped interview done by Nick in 1983 when his grandfather was about 90. His grandfather recounted seeing the impact of the pogroms in Kishinev, mentioning all the feathers on the ground. It was believed by the Russians that Jews hid their valuables in pillows and mattresses, so they were cut open during the attacks.

Mort Rumberg said a World War II footlocker with all his family's heirlooms was lost or stolen in a move to California but Mort did show his foldable menorah, among the menorahs brought to a Chanukah menorah party. And take a closer look at the most recent JGSS brochure -- the family portrait inside, is of Mort's family, taken around 1928.

Susanne Levitsky showed off items from her great-grandfather's general store in the town of Yolo, including a wooden scoop and a 1931 holiday advertisement. She has both up in her kitchen. The store, founded by her great-grandfather's brother, operated from the late 1880s until 1963. The brothers came to California from France in the 1870s.

Sherri Venezia displayed an Art Deco cameo brooch from her grandmother, Ida, who was born in Galicia in 1887 and emigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island. Her grandmother was one of 19 children and while living a modest life, likely wore the brooch for special family occasions.

Marlene Frankel is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her father, from Krakow, Poland, worked for Oscar Schindler. He shared with Marlene the true story, incorporated into a scene in "Schindler's List," of the train cars being hosed down to provide some water to the occupants. After the war, her father met with Schindler.  Marlene also showed a metal plate made for her father with his number from the Mauthausen concentration camp. Fortunately, both he and his brothers did survive, being liberated by Patton's army.

Valerie Jordan discovered a family secret while researching her grandfather and his family -- a daughter was born in Chicago, a half-sister to her father. Aunt Elizabeth was a well-known union organizer, Valerie discovered, with "pages and pages" of information published about her. Elizabeth testified before Congress during World War II and later to the House Un-American Activities Committee, refusing to say whether she was a Communist.  Valerie later discovered a book which included information about Elizabeth and connected with the author, finding she was "the only person I've known that ever spoke to her."  The author also shared her handwritten notes of the interview, which Valerie displayed.

Sue Miller showed off a tablecloth used in her family for many years to make strudel. She also made a cake from her family's years in Vienna -- a gugelhupf, similar to a pound cake. "We always used to make it to break the fast on Yom Kippur and other times when the family got together." Sue cut into the cake on Zoom -- if this had been an in-person meeting we would have no doubt enjoyed tasting it.

Dave Reingold had given his mother a necklace after returning from Camp B'nai B'rith in 1964 and held it up. Many other family heirlooms were lost in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. Dave also has photographs from Minsk from around 1890.

Maryellen Burns said her family didn't have a lot of heirlooms except for family photos, but "we did have tremendous memories." They did have a few Chinese antiques that was purchased from a ship that went down. Most were later sold, but she did hold up a copy of a Chinese hotei sculpture.

Elaine Berghausen says she came from a spartan home -- her family survived Kristallnacht in 1938 so put little value on possessions.  Elaine showed off one thing that somehow survived -- a casserole dish in a holder, which wasn't smashed.  Elaine also displayed a laundry cloth, probably 150 years old, that she's used as a runner on her table. It has her grandmother's initials embroidered on it.

Al and Carol Witten showed off a painting done by A. Palin, a brother of Al's grandmother, who was born in Russia. They have it displayed in their home.

Judith Blum held up gloves and a purse from her aunt, as well her grandmother's handkerchief. She mentioned she also has a postcard collection more than 100 years old.

Laurie Heller said her father was stationed in England during World War II, working under Elliott Roosevelt. She has news articles and video of operations he was involved with, including D-Day.

Cherry Lee showed off an ostrich-egg lamp that had traveled from South Africa. Her parents were immigrants from South Africa and Mauritius.

Tony Chakurian displayed photos that included his great-great-grandfather, born in 1868, and great-great grandmother. He said his daughter looks almost identical to a baby photo of his great-grandmother.


See you on Zoom at our Sunday, October 17 meeting.




Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages