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2021 Conference, Jewish Track

Jewish Track – Class Descriptions and Time Schedule (sorted by time slot)

All times are Mountain Daylight Time.


Reuniting Holocaust Survivors… Not Mission Impossible (Daniel Horowitz), Thursday, August 12, 8:30 AM, Room 4

Come to discover the vast world of Holocaust records and sources to find your relatives. Learn about your ancestors before, during and after the WWII, and the places you can search to get your family memories back.

Thousands of people think all their family members died in the Holocaust and there is no one left, all was lost, and no records survived. Today is proved this is not the case and people and records did survive. Based on real success stories of families being reunited, come to discover the vast world of Holocaust resources available to find your relatives: Yad Vashem, ITS, and many more. Come and learn about your ancestors before, during and after the Holocaust; about those who remembered them and the places you can search to get your family memories back.


Basics of Jewish Genealogical Research (Joanne M. Sher), Thursday August 12, 2:45 PM, Room 2

This session will present an overview of the many specialized resources and techniques that need to be known and used for effective Jewish genealogical research. Print, filmed, and online resources will be discussed.


Researching a Shtetl (Joanne M. Sher), Thursday August 12, 4:00 PM, Room 2

What was life like in your ancestors’ villages? Where can you find information and images about those shtetls?  Resources and examples will be presented.


Challenges in Jewish Ancestral Research (Dr. Janette Silverman), Friday August 13, 8:30 AM, Room 2

Jewish genealogical research has unique challenges. It is often very difficult to determine our Eastern European ancestors' names because the spelling is inconsistent from document to document. After immigration going beyond the changes in spelling, their names are often changed and sometimes they change more than once. The places they were born or resided in are also recorded in various ways and determining where the place(s) were is often elusive. Dates also are often inconsistent and seem to change from document to document. This presentation will discuss and describe some of the challenges and resources which will aid in resolving the inconsistencies.


Written in Stone: When Gravestones Lie (Dr. Janette Silverman), Friday, August 13, 9:45 AM, Room 2

When researching Eastern European Jews it is necessary to identify the names they used when they immigrated to the U.S. and elsewhere, prior to researching in European repositories. As Jewish genealogists, we depend on gravestones to provide certain information which might not appear anywhere else: the Hebrew names of the decedent and his/her father. What happens when the information on a gravestone is incorrect? What if we can't find the gravestone? This presentation will focus on two case studies and the research involved in finding the correct information in one case and why the gravestone in the second case could not be found.


Crossing the Ocean: Finding Your European History (Susan Weinberg), Friday, August 13, 11:00 AM, Room 2

This presentation will explore how you can use US records to locate records in Eastern Europe, connecting American family documents to parents and siblings in Europe. The talk will first explore sources to verify your ancestral town. Using finding aids, it will explore a variety of useful databases such as JRI-Poland and the All-Lithuanian Database to uncover birth records and revision records. Through case studies, it will weave together records from these databases with Holocaust records, US marriage records, tombstones and immigration records to document connections between American family members and those who remained in Eastern Europe.


Immigration History: Laws, Documents and the Story Within (Susan Weinberg), Friday, August 13, 1:30 PM, Room 2

This talk looks at immigration through the lens of laws, documents and family story. It examines the period from the late 1880s through the 1900s, a period of significant Jewish immigration. This multi-media presentation incorporates experiences drawn from oral histories with Jewish elders who grew up in early immigrant communities, Holocaust survivors immigrating during 1940s-50s and immigrants from the former Soviet Union from the 1970s-90s. Using video clips from those interviews, I will tell a lively story of Jewish immigration to the United States and the life of an immigrant juxtaposed with the documents and laws that framed that experience.


Westward Ho! The Jewish Agricultural Colony in Sanpete County, Utah (Jane Neff Rollins), Friday, August 13, 2:45 PM, Room 2

Although we may think of American Jews as being primarily urban, there were Jews who heeded Horace Greeley’s suggestion (SYN) to “Go West!” Some of these Jews established agricultural colonies in places like the Dakotas, Colorado, Wyoming and Oregon. This talk highlights the Clarion Colony established in 1911 in Sanpete County Utah by recent immigrants from the Russian Empire. These Jewish settlers worked the arid land – Jews had not been allowed to own land in Russia -- as they built what was ultimately a short-lived Jewish community.