“Introduction to Jewish Genealogy”
“Where do I begin?” This is the most common question people ask who are interested in researching their family history. In this lecture, I will examine the first steps of genealogy research, and then will assess the sources that will uncover more information. Every family has certain stories about their ancestors and origins that are handed down through each generation. Typically, these stories become distorted with each generation that tells them. This lecture will explain how to use these stories to find some level of truth, and then use genealogical sources to learn about grandparents, great grandparents and other relatives. The purpose of this lecture is to determine how much one can learn from combining oral history with centuries worth of documented sources.
“Reconnecting Holocaust Survivors with their Past”
Many Holocaust survivors left Europe without any physical trace of their relatives who perished. Many survivors do not even have photographs of their loved ones. In this lecture, I will examine different research cases in which I have reconnected Holocaust survivors with family photographs and documents. This presentation will not just examine these individual research cases, but will also explain the sources used. This research has a profound emotional effect on Holocaust survivors and their families.
“Reconnecting and Discovering Lost Family”
This lecture is a personal story about how I both reconnected with and discovered new relatives through Jewish genealogy research. My grandmother remembered her aunts and uncles, but had lost touch with their families many decades ago. After she died in 2008, I used genealogy research to track down several of her first cousins and their children who were still living. My grandfather and his brother believed that their father’s family had all immigrated to the United States before the Second World War. While researching their family, I discovered that not everyone had come to the United States, and that they had an unknown aunt who perished in the Holocaust. Her children, their first cousins, settled in Israel, where I tracked them down and reestablished a family connection.