16 September 2019

Basics and Beyond: JGS Colorado Seminar, Sept. 22, 2019

Denver should be beautiful this time of year! And I am pleased that I have been invited to speak at "Basics and Beyond," a seminar hosted by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado next Sunday, September 22, 2019.

I guess I am the "beyond" part. Nancy Adelson from Washington State will be delivering two talks for Jewish genealogy beginners serving on a panel with other experts. I will be delivering three intermediate-advanced presentations as well as the conference opening keynote.

My talks will be:

9:15 A.M. - Keynote: "Planning for Success: A Strategy for Effective Family History" 

10:30 A.M. - "Conflict Management: Evaluating Evidence of Identity"

1:15 P.M. - "When it Takes a Village: Applying Cluster research Techniques"

2:45 P.M. - "Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins"

For more about the JGSCO Annual Seminar see their flyer and their website. Click here for registration information.

05 August 2019

Jewish geography at IAJGS 2019, Cleveland: Bellmore, Vassar, Zaleszczyki and Belle Harbor

I had planned and actually drafted several posts about the conference this past week while in Cleveland but did not complete them in a timely manner. Thinking back, however, I want to share my most memorable moments - the ones best described as networking or Jewish geography.

Once one has been to numerous conferences perhaps the most anticipated activity is not usually the presentations but the chance to catch up with friends and make new ones.

Alec and I have known each other for a few years. He is in his 20s and lives in New York City. I am, let's just say, a bit older and live out West. We already knew from past contact that he and I grew up in pretty much the same town on Long Island: Bellmore and North Bellmore. We did go to different high schools (there are three in the area) but that may be one of our few differences. We went to the same college: Vassar. We both majored in Anthropology. 

In Cleveland, Alec and I sat for more than an hour chatting and discovered that in addition to all our previously known similarities we also share an ancestral town in Galicia: Zaleszczyki (now in Ukraine).

At this point all I can say is, "Stop it! Just Stop it!"

While this was amusing, it did not (as of yet) advance my genealogy research. However, my contact with Ruth did.

A few minutes after I arrived at the hotel on Saturday afternoon I sat in the lobby awaiting the arrival of my hotel roommate who was on her way from the airport. Ruth and I struck up a pleasant conversation.

The following morning we recognized each other while eating breakfast and continued our conversation.

"Where were you from in New York City?"

"Belle Harbor."

"That's the Rockaways. I had relatives in Belle Harbor, I think. I'm embarrassed to ask but I will anyway: did you know a family named Ett?"

Ruth broke into a huge smile. "I lived across the street from them. My older sister Doris was best friends with their daughter Pearl." Ruth, her late sister, and Pearl had kept in touch for many years.

The Rockaways are a collection of small houses built on a barrier island along the south shore of Long Island within the borough of Queens.

Ruth proceeded to tell me the kind of story about Pearl's older brothers, Seymour and Herb, that I never got from records. 

Seymour and Herb Ett were very handy. As adults they moved to Florida with their families and built houses. They became successful developers. Before that, though, they were teenage boys living by the water. They decided to build a boat. 

Ruth was about 15 years younger than Seymour and 12 years younger than Herb. She was fascinated by the endeavor. They worked in their basement and allowed Ruth to sit quietly and watch as the boat took shape. At some point during the winter the boys decided that they'd have to move their craft outside before it got too large for the basement doorway. It was winter, but Ruth, ever loyal, continued her vigil outside watching the boat take shape. 

Several months later the boat was ready and Seymour and Herb asked their little friend Ruth if she'd like to go with them on the maiden voyage. 

They launched in Jamaica Bay, a body of water between the barrier Island and Long Island. The engine worked fine until is was well into the bay. Then it burst into flames. 

"Ruth, do you know how to swim?" asked one of the Ett brothers. 


The three abandoned ship and tried to head toward the nearest land. Luckily a boat was nearby and its crew plucked the three from the water.

As Ruth put it, "Then, they had to face my mother!"

In the 1940 U.S. Census, Dave Ett, my maternal grandmother Tillie's first cousin, was a furrier who lived with his wife Bessie and children, Seymour, Herbert, and Pearl at 271 W. 135th Beach Street, in Belle Harbour. Ethel Leibross, wife of my maternal great uncle, was actually not related to the Ett's. Her husband Simon Liebross had died and the Ett's took her in. My impression from this and several other stories is that Bessie Ett was a saint!

This is the left side of the 1940 Census page enumerating the Etts.[1]

In April 1940, Ruth's Fenichel family lived at 247 W. 136th Beach Street.[2]

Both Seymour and Herb are gone now. I have been out of touch with Pearl for a year or so. Guess it's time for a telephone call!

Love these IAJGS conferences!

1. 1940 U.S. Census, Queens Co., pop. sched., Belle Harbour, e.d. 41-1570, sheet 6A, household 130, David and Bessie Ett family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2012).
2. 1940 U.S. Census, Queens Co., pop. sched., Belle Harbour, e.d. 41-1570, sheet 4B, household 87, Louis and Fae Fenishel family; images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 August 2019).

29 July 2019

IAJGS 2019 Cleveland Blogger Compendium

Each year at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference I create a post to collect blogged content relating to the week. Readers, please check back daily for updates on what happened, what you attended and what you may have missed.

Bloggers, please send me a link to your first post on the conference and I will include you on the list. I will, as needed, continue to update this compendium for a week or so after the conference.

Banai Feldstein  - The Ginger Jewish Genealogist
"IAJGS 2019, Part 1"
"IAJGS 2019, Part 2"
Emily Garber - The Extra Yad
"Jewish geeography at IAJGS, Cleveland: Bellmore, Vassar, Zaleszczyki and Belle Harbor"

Lina Goldberg - The Cuckoo Tree
"IAJGS2019: JRI Poland and Congress Poland Records"
"IAJGS Cleveland highlights"

Barbara Zabitz -Adventures of a Jewish Genealogist
 "IAJGS 2019

Johannes Reiss - Koschere Melange (the blog of the Austrian Jewish Museum) - [click on the British flag at the top of the page to read in English]
"Lessons learned...from the Austrian Jewish Museum and Cemetery Project in Eisenstadt, Burgenland"
"Help! I can not Hebrew...but I need Hebrew sources for my genealogy research"

Jeanette Rosenberg -  Round2it Genealogy
"The #Not@Conference #IAJGS2019 Conference Blog Post"

Mary-Jane Roth - MemoryKeepers Notebook
"IAJGS2019, Cleveland, OH

Janice Sellers - Ancestral Discoveries
"IAJGS International Conference on Jewush Genealogy in Cleveland, Ohio"
"IAJGS Cleveland: Tuesday and Wednesday
"IAJGS Cleveland: Wrapping Up and Heading Home"

Michael Snyder - Clay in My Boots 
"IAJGS - 30-Jul-2019"
"IAJGS - Volynia Dinner
"Kremenets BOF at IAJGS"

18 May 2019

Catch me at Pikesville and Silver Spring, Maryand in the next two weeks!

I will be delivering my presentation, "Memory and Mystery: Breaking Down Family Lore," at two Jewish genealogy societies next week on Sunday and the following week, as well.

On Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 1:30 P.M., I will be at the Pikesville Library's meeting room, 1301 Reistertown Road, Pikeville, MD for the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland.

On Sunday, June 2, 2019 at 12:00 P.M., I will be speaking at a members' only luncheon for the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington at the Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD.

"Memory and Mystery" discusses those family stories many of us have and how we should approach them. In one example I will discuss the Chief Blue Jacket legend that made its way into reputable history publications and historical fiction. I will also present a story from my own family: four brothers who took different surnames in the Russian Empire. In both cases documentary research is combined with DNA results to help evaluate the truth.

Hope those of you in the vicinity will be able to make it to one of the presentations!

03 February 2019

Nordheim vor der Rhön to the United States: The Baum Family of Kansas City

It's been a long time coming. This client project has dominated my life for quite a while. I am proud to announce the publication of The Baum Family of Kansas City.  

Members of the Jewish Baum family of Nordheim vor der Rhön, Lower Franconia, Bavaria, began immigrating to the United States in the 1850s. By the early 1900s family members were well established in several communities including Kansas City, Missouri; Norfolk, Virginia; New York City; Chicago; and Independence and Sioux City, Iowa.

Offspring of the Kansas City branch married into prominent Jewish pioneer merchant families in Trinidad, Colorado (Gottlieb) and Las Vegas, New Mexico (Rosenwald).

The publication is in three volumes. I researched and wrote Volume II. I researched the United States portions of Volume III and Dr. Ekkehard Hübschmann researched in Germany. I assembled our contributions and wrote Volume III.

This three volume set includes:
Volume I: In Honor of my Father, George K. Baum - by Brian Burnes
This volume is focused on investment banker George K. Baum (1892-1958), as recalled by his son G. Kenneth Baum (147 pages).
Volume II: Samuel Baum & His Children - by Emily H Garber
Samuel Baum & His Children explores Baum family origins in Nordheim vor der Rhön, Lower Franconia, Bavaria, and provides individual chapter on Kansas City immigrant and merchant Samuel Baum (George K. Baum's father) and his children (328 pages).
Volume III: Genealogy Report - by Emily H. Garber, with contributions by Ekkehard Hübschmann, PhD.
The third volume contains 29 graphic family trees and a register (narrative) report on almost 400 descendants of Hirsch Baum who was born likely in the early 1700s. This nine generation chronicle is accompanied by a CD-ROM with images of many supporting documents (189 pages).
A surname list for Volume III may be viewed here. A location list is here.

The books have been privately published and will not be available in digital format online. However, sets are on their way to the following libraries/repositories:
  • Albuquerque, NM - New Mexico Jewish Historical Society
  • Bamberg, Germany - Staatsbibliothek Bamberg
  • Chicago, IL - Newberry Library
  • Cincinnati, OH - Klau Library, Hebrew Union College
  • Independence, MO - Midwest Genealogy Center, Mid-Continent Public Library
  • Jerusalem, Israel - National Library of Israel
  • Kansas City, MO - Missouri Valley Collection, Kansas City Public Library; Jewish Archives of Kansas City
  • Las Vegas, NM - Carnegie Library of Las Vegas 
  • New York, NY - Leo Baeck Institute Library 
  • Norfolk, VA - Sargeant Memorial Collection, Slover Library
  • Phoenix, AZ - Arizona Jewish Historical Society 
  • Salt Lake City, UT - Family History Library
  • Trinidad, CO - Carnegie Library of Trinidad
  • Washington, D.C. - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Library