Genealogy Update

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Susanne Levitsky

Jan 18, 2021, 7:17:07 PMJan 18

January 18, 2021
Upcoming Zoom Meetings:

Sunday, February 21, 2021, Andrew Zalewski: "Jewish Galicia: Vibrant Past Rediscovered"

Coming to the JGSS virtually from Philadelphia, Andrew Zalewski will talk about Austrian Galicia (1772-1918), the subject of two books he has written. Unique archival records, including population surveys, maps and old newspapers, will provide the background for his in-depth description of Galicia. Both sides of his family can be traced back to Galicia.


Zalewski will explore the impact of the Habsburg rule on Galician Jews, who were involved in passionate arguments about what was to be their language (German, Hebrew, Yiddish or Polish) and their cultural identity.


Andrew Zalewski is vice president of Gesher Galicia, which carries out Jewish genealogical and historical research on Galicia, formerly a province of Austria-Hungary.  The area is now divided between southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. Zalewski is a former professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.


To join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 815 7928 4878


Sunday, March 21, 2021, Ellen Kowitt: "Why Would a Jewish Genealogist Return to Ukraine for the Third Time?"

Sunday, April 18, 2021, Jim Rader: DNA (title to come)

Sunday, May 16, 2021, Ron Arons, "Sex, Lies and Genealogical Tape"

All meetings are held from 10 a.m. to noon. Zoom details to be provided.

New Season: Finding Your Roots Starts Tuesday

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s PBS program delving into celebrity family trees begins its new season Tuesday, January 19. The show airs at 8 p.m. on Channel 6.

Of particular interest: on Tuesday, January 26, the program will feature the genealogical backgrounds of Andy Cohen and Nina Totenberg.
JGSS Meeting Overview, January 10, 2021

President Mort Rumberg called the Zoom meeting to order and presented his "State of the Chapter" highlights. 

Membership: Membership is always flexible as people come and go. Our 2020 membership was 45. A big thank you to Valerie Jordan, our membership chair.

Treasury: We are a 501-C-3 organization. Our dues are $36/year and Elaine Berghausen has been great keeping our books. Dues have allowed us to provide an annual thank you gift to the Einstein for letting us use their facility as we have done this past year. It also lets us maintain our library, maintain our PC, projector, and other equipment.

A special thank you to Victoria Fisch, our Past President. Victoria has graciously done pro bono work for several people and in appreciation, they have made contributions to the JGSS.

We also make a small donation to organizations that help, not only the JGSS, but the genealogical community at large. This past year we sent small donations to JRI-Poland, and to JewishGen, two outstanding research sources.
Library: Our sharply focused genealogical collection is over 500 books, magazines, and CDs. Teven Laxer has done a great job as librarian, categorizing everything, currently in boxes since we’ve moved them to the Jewish Federation building. We’re now looking at new shelving at the Federation. 

Website: We’re always looking for someone who would be interested in helping to update our JGSS website. Valerie and Mark Heckman are doing this now and we could always use another set of hands as backup. The “work” may take maybe one hour a month—primarily updating programs. A computer science degree is not necessary.

Facebook: And Marlene Frankel has been doing a great job updating us through Facebook.

Programs: Sherri Venezia has been absolutely wonderful scheduling our great array of speakers, and the calendar is already filled for most of the year. If anyone has suggestions for topics, please see Sherri or me.

Secretary: I’d also like to thank Susanne Levitsky for her excellent service as Recording Secretary. Through the years she has been extraordinary with her detailed minutes of our meetings.

Our Board of Directors wrestle with the many issues that seem to always be part of small organizations. And I’m so very grateful for their help in dealing with the issues before us. Incidentally, if you’d like to be part of the Board or just sit in on some meetings, you’re most welcome. The Board meets three times a year. Our next Board meeting will be in March. The meetings have been online, so you can attend in your PJs. Let Mort know.

Our new home: For many years we have used the Arts and Crafts room and other rooms at the Einstein as needed. Now we’re engaged in a move to the Jewish Federation building. The Einstein has also said they hope we will continue to use their facility occasionally after we move.
The reason for the move is basically two-fold.

1) the Einstein population is a vulnerable one, highlighted by the Covid pandemic, and
2) the Arts and Crafts room where we meet is due for a complete renovation. We’d have to move out of the room in any case.

As a token of appreciation the JGSS presented the Einstein with a check early in the year.

One last item from Mort: We will soon be preparing a slate of officers for election to President, VP Programs, Secretary, and Treasurer. I would like to step down as President and give someone else the opportunity, so please let me know any recommendations or suggestions you may have.
Thank you everyone, for your continued membership and your passion in researching your genealogy.

Meeting announcements: The 2021 conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogists will take place in Philadelphia in August. The RootsTech conference ( will be free this year, February 25-27. And Teven Laxer reports the Jewish Film Festival, in its 22nd year, will be virtual this year. It will feature 22 films over 22 days, from March 3 to March 24. Films will be available for up to 72 hours for viewing. The website is expected to be up at the beginning of February.
January Program -- Steve Morse  -- "Getting Ready for the 1950 Census"
Steve provided the attached handout of his talk.  Some highlights:

-- His talk was based on his 1940 census talk, which he developed with Joel Weintraub.

-- The census was taken on April 1, 1950; because of the 72-year rule, it will become available on Friday, April 1, 2022.  

-- A complete name index is not expected until several months later, so knowing the Enumeration District where a person lived is necessary.

-- Steve has created a one-step feature for the census on his website ( He also has one-step resources regarding street name changes over the years.

-- There are special "sampling" questions in the census which provide more details on some people, roughly 20 percent. And an additional 3.3 percent of people were asked additional sampling questions (for example, years in current marriage).

-- In the 1950, people were not asked if they owned or rented their homes and the name of the person answering the questions was not included.

-- Steve has been credited for his 1940 census work by the National Archives website, the New York City public library site, and Ancestry (without permission).

Attached -- From the Washington Post

This opinion piece reflects on changes for the Jewish community in Georgia, with the election of a new senator and the story of a 1915 lynching of a Jewish man.

                                                                                                          Next JGSS Meeting February 21
What Jon Ossoff means for the South and its buried Jewish past.docx
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