Wednesday, August 14, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ~ The Photo Genealogist Looks at Hollanders in Hungary

Last week, when I attended the IAJGS 2013 Conference, I had the opportunity to have Ava Cohn, the Photo Genealogist, take a look at a photo that I shared in May 2012. It is believed to be of the Hollander family in Bonyhad, Hungary.

As I noted in the original post, family members believed that the woman sitting on the left was the mother of Lena (Hollander) Handler, named Anna Honenvald (or Honevald). However, Ava took a look at this photo and the one I have of Lena with her first-born son, Arthur, which I also shared in May 2012,

Arthur Handler (b. 1910), and his mother, Lena (Hollander) Handler

and said that she couldn't be Lena's mother; there was no family resemblance. Ava does think that the woman who is standing in the group photograph is related to Lena and could be a sister. She also noted that the two men at the right look like father (sitting) and son (standing).

Ava agreed that the 1911 date of the photo of Arthur and Lena is accurate and feels that the group photo is from the 1920's, 1919 at the very earliest. As I noted when I originally shared this photo, I need to continue to explore Hungarian Civil Records at to learn more about the family who remained in Hungary and see if I can possibly identify anyone else in the above photo. My working theory is that this is Lena's sister and family and she sent the photo to Lena in Ohio to remember her family by.

Friday, August 9, 2013

IAJGS 2013 Conference - Second Half Report

IAJGS 2013 is a five and a half day conference. I wrote about my first three days of learning here. I took a break on Wednesday, and returned for more on Thursday and Friday.

Following are the sessions I attended on the last two days of the conference and my comments on them. I heard mostly very good things about this conference and the speakers. I am glad that I was able to take advantage of attending such an extraordinary conference so close to home.

The Coming "Big Bang" in Genealogical Research: Automated Matching of Databases and Family Trees with Adam Brown & Randy Schoenberg, who are actively involved with, an online collaborative family tree.
Adam and Randy talked about, a moderated online family tree and resource for collaborative genealogy research. This website also provides opportunities for researchers to set  up a Geni project and invite researchers to collaborate.

Who the Heck is Ida Gerskill: Some Challenges of Researching Jewish Names with Meredith Hoffman, a professional genealogist with a degree in linguistics.
This session built on the session I attended on Monday, with Warren Blatt, on Jewish surnames. The take away is to remember that spelling doesn't count when you're trying to research your Jewish ancestors - there are a ton of reasons why names appear differently in all these records. Meredith also provided a few ideas about looking for a mother's maiden name and an ancestral town name.

Immigrant Clues in Photographs with Maureen Taylor, an internationally-known photography expert. Her knowledge complements that of Ava Cohn, whom I heard at the start of the conference.
Her talk focused on late 19th century and early 20th century photographs, of which she had many examples. She used these examples to explain what to look for to help identify the date, location and reason for the photo.

Best Search Strategies on with Crista Cowan, whom I heard speak on Monday.
I enjoy listening to Crista speak (she handles a crowd very well), but I realize that I know how to explore pretty well now. I did hear a couple of good reminders that I will share with you. First, a user can set the Collection Priority when doing a search; scroll down to the bottom of the Advanced Search page to find the Collection Priority box. (See an example of the drop-down box at right; you can see that "Jewish" is one of the choices.) Also, when you have done a search and have that results page, RIGHT-CLICK to open a the result in a new tab so you don't lose that initial results page if you want to systematically work through the results.
And in some cases, you might want to search by location: where you see "Any Event," enter a location with no name - this will give results for that location. As you may guess, this only works well for smaller locations in the U.S. and in some foreign collections.

Interestingly, in her introduction, Crista emphasized that if you have your tree on, it remains yours; you collaborate with other users only if you want to. This, of course, is in contrast to, the collaborative family tree site. Neither system is "right" or "wrong" and I appreciate that there are multiple options out there for researchers, depending on how one views his or her research.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

IAJGS 2013 Conference - First Half Report

IAJGS 2013 is the first major genealogy conference I have attended and it has been an incredible learning experience. Not only have I learned that I already know a lot, but that there is always more to learn. Below I list the sessions I have attended and a bit of what I learned from each one.

Finding Genealogy Data in U.S. Court Records with Diane Freilich JD, who has been a licensed Michigan attorney for 40 years.
I learned that I should call the county courthouse where I believe records might be (for example, the legal name change for Max Levitas to Max Levitt very possibly happened in Cape May County, New Jersey) to find out the best time to visit. I should not be afraid to ask questions of the court personnel and I should not take no for an answer.

It's News to Me! Online Historical Newspaper Research for Genealogists with Pamela Weisberger, a professional genealogist and internationally-known lecturer who specializes in map and newspaper resources.
I learned about some additional online newspaper resources beyond GenealogyBank and's Historical Newspapers and was reminded of some I have used in the past. For example, Old Fulton NY Post Cards website can be a challenge to search, but it is a great resource for New York news items that may not be in the New York Times.

Clued-In: The Stories are in the Details with Ava Cohn (a.k.a. Sherlock Cohn), The Photo Genealogist with a specialty in Jewish family photographs.
I learned how to look at a photo with the eyes of the different people involved, not only those sitting for the photo, but the photographer, the keeper of the photo, and the genealogist. As a genealogist, I need to look closely at all the details in a photo including facial expressions and positioning of those in the photo, as well as their clothing and hairstyles.

One-Step Website: A Potpourri and Hodgepodge of Genealogical Search Tools with Stephen Morse, the brilliant creator of the One-Step website.
I learned that there is a lot more to Steve Morse's One-Step website than just finding enumeration districts for the 1920, 1930, and 1940 U.S. Censuses. If you are already somewhat familiar with his website and it looks really full of information (it is), scroll all the way to the bottom and click on where it says you can "click here to close all the folders." Then you can more easily explore one folder of tools at a time. If you want to get a sense of what his talk covered (as well as a taste of his sense of humor) read About This Website and How to Use It, which is a link just about at the top of the home page.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

IAJGS Conference Next Week

I plan to attend most of the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) Conference in Boston next week. I figured that since I live in suburban Boston I should take advantage of the fact that this annual international conference is a commuter rail ride away from where I live. See IAJGS2013 for all the details.

I hope to learn from some of the best Jewish genealogists in the field and explore some new strategies to figure out some of the puzzles in my husband's ancestry. I also look forward to meeting some fellow geneabloggers and networking with other genealogists.

Will I see you there?