07 August 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Isidore Morris World War I Draft Card

It took a while to locate this record. When at first I couldn't find it in either Ancestry's or FamilySearch's indices, I considered that, perhaps, my great grandfather, Isidore Morris, had been too old for World War I draft registration. My estimate of his birth year (1874) was just on the cusp of ineligibility. Isidore registered in the third registration of men eligible for the selective service during World War I.

The Selective Service Act of 18 May 1917 (P.L.65-12, 40 Stat. 76) authorized raising an army. Three draft registrations (and a supplemental one) ensued:
  • 5 June 1917: all men between ages of 21-31 (born in years 1885 - 1896).
  • 5 June 1918: all men who had turned 21 after 5 June 1917 (1885 - 1897)
  • 24 August 1918: supplemental registration for all men be became 21 after 5 June 1918 (1885 - 1897)
  • 12 September 1918: all men ages 18-45 (1873 - 1900)
It turns out Isidore's first name was just written incorrectly on the card as Ididore (and I do not know why, but when I query on surname Morris, born in Russia in 1874, his record does not come up among the results in FamilySearch).

"World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 August 2010), card for Ididore [Isidore] Morris , no. 3138, New York County Draft Board 160, citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917 - 1918, National Archives microfilm publication M1509; imaged from Family History Library microfilm roll 1,786,852.



Items in red text will be discussed further.
 
REGISTRATION CARD
SERIAL                                                            ORDER
NUMBER 3138                                               NUMBER A2381

1. Name: Ididore Morris
2. Permanent Home Address: 243 E. 105 New York, City
3. Age by Years: 44
4. Date of Birth: May 18, 1874
5. Race: White
14. Alien - Non-declarant
15. If not a citizen of the U.S., of what nation are you a citizen or subject? Russia
16. Present Occupation: glacier
17. Employer's Name: self
18. Place of employment of business: 239 E. 105 New York, N.Y.
19. Nearest Relative Name: Sarah Morris
20. Nearest Relative Address: 243 E. 105 N.Y. City
I affirm that I have verified above answers and that they are true.
Registrant's signature or mark: /s/ I. Morris

Description of registrant
Height: tall
Build: medium
Color of eyes: black
Color of hair: black

Date of registration: 9 12 18
--------------------
Isidore's first name is variably spelled on records as either Isidore and Isador (with or without the letter e at the end). So, I had not anticipated "Ididore." Of course, his name is the old country had been Yitzchak, so any spelling of the new name would do in the new country.

I have thus far been unsuccessful in determining whether Isidore ever became a citizen. If he did, he did so after his eldest daughter married on 12 August 1916. [1] She naturalized in August 1943.[2] At some point I may have to contact USCIS and have them search for me.

We genealogists always say that spelling does not count. In this case, I think it does. Since I do not think my great grandfather worked as a slow moving mass of ice, I believe that his occupation should have been written as "glazier."

Notes:
1. New York County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 19923 (12 August 1916), Jacob Garber and Dora Morris, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
2. Dora Garber Petition for Naturalization (1943), Volume 1354, petition number 378602, U.S. District Court, Eastern District, Brooklyn, New York.

06 August 2014

IAJGS2014: Heard in the Hallways

I am a relative newbie at IAJGS conferences - 2014 was only the third one I have attended - but, it's clear that a great deal of the conference value takes place in the hallways between  (or sometimes instead of) sessions. A few observations.


Methods in the Madness

The contrast between International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conferences and other non-Jewish national genealogy conferences is interesting. Understandably after years of record deprivation, Jewish genealogists are obsessed with finding new records. Sometimes this is almost to the exclusion of discussions about what one might do with them once one has them. Times are changing. There is just not enough talk about methodology. 

My impression after my attendance at the National Genealogical Society conference in Las Vegas in 2013 and RootsTech in 2011 was that presentations and interest in methodology give those conferences a completely different feel.

Now, there was definitely excitement at IAJGS. For Jim Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog, who has attended and taught at several national genealogy conferences, the IAJGS was an eye-opening experience. He told me that not only were our presenters highly qualified, but also attendees seemed to have an admirable fervor for their pastime.

To me, however, the excitement still seems oriented toward new record groups, and not enough to problem solving and evidence analysis. I noticed that the printed conference Daily Planner (which I never once looked at during the conference because I was using the conference app on my iPad) identified "program focus codes" for each presentation. This told people whether a presentation was deemed beginning, intermediate or advanced and whether it was focused on archives, databases, technology, Holocaust, Sephardic research, etc., and methodology. Unfortunately, these codes did not appear on the app. So, if one wanted to select sessions with a particular theme, it was not easily accomplish.

Several like-minded genealogists would like to see more emphasis on methodology at IAJGS conferences. I agree. I think the best way to achieve such a goal is for more presenters to provide interesting talks on the joys (and results) of methodologically sound research. My presentation, "Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins," was well-attended last year in Boston and this year in Salt Lake City. After my talk, I was very pleased that many people approached me during the next several days to tell me how excited they were about what I had presented. 

If you agree that the IAJGS conference would benefit from additional presentations geared to evidence analysis and methodology, let's make sure to provide bunches of presentation proposals for IAJGS 2015 (Israel) and 2016 (Seattle). Research success is the most eloquent speaker.


Ukraine Special Interest Group

Make no mistake, I do get excited when there are new records for my eastern European geographical research areas, too. Ukraine SIG has about 12,000 lines of data translated and in the pipeline for sharing within JewishGen databases. That's promised this fall on JewishGen.org.

In addition, the SIG has an incredible backlog of records needing translating/indexing to make them accessible for researchers. These include Kiev Gubernia records that are on Family History Library microfilm and record collections from Khmelnitskyy, Zhitomyr and Kiev Archives that have been acquired by the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem. These are exciting times [full disclosure, I am a Ukraine SIG board member]. If your community is listed among those with records, take the lead to volunteer or donate and help move these record acquisition projects forward.


Hiccups

Conference organizers chose to make the ever-popular Family Finder available early (weeks before the conference), but only online. This bothered some conference attendees. Perhaps the answer would be to make the Family Finder accessible via the conference app? The app, available for the last two conferences, has been a clear winner. Including access to the Family Finder would be sublime. 

The biggest problem I encountered during the conference was poor Internet access. I could not access the Internet for email, blogging or the conference app on any of my electronic devises upstairs in my hotel room. I could use the Internet on the first and second floor conference venues. The upstairs situation was unacceptable.


One for the Books

What's a conference without booksellers?! There were no book sellers as exhibitors. Avotaynu, was represented by the Mokotoffs and Sallyann Sack at the conference, but they were not selling books. I did not speak to them about that, but I assume that transporting inventory to Salt Lake City from the east coast was deemed uneconomical - although I do recall at least two or three booksellers at the Los Angeles IAJGS conference in 2011, including Avotaynu.


IAJGS: Stretching and Building Muscle

IAJGS under Marlis Humphreys' leadership is thinking big - and I like that. They have been taking a cue from other high-profile genealogy organization partnerships by reaching out to people in other organizations who have skills that may benefit IAJGS in both the long- and short-term. Shipley Munson of FamilySearch, for example, has marketing genius. His team at FamilySearch has, in a very short time, turned the Rootstech Conference into a juggernaut that has eclipsed the NGS conference and the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in terms of attendance. In fact, FGS is combining their annual conference with RootsTech in early 2015.

Whether Munson sets his sights on the IAJGS conference or on providing services to member societies, or both, is yet to be seen. Regardless, I think we are in for some exciting times. Moribund societies may be challenged to think differently about defining their audience and developing instruments and methods for sharing and communicating genealogically relevant  information. As a new JGS chair, I am sitting at attention hoping to catch as many words of wisdom as possible.

IAJGS2014 - Success!

I'm not sure why attendance was a bit down this year at the conference. Surely the quality and variety of presentations was excellent. Overall, the conference was quite well done. 

I cannot even imagine the two+ years of obsession that was required to make this event a success. My congratulations to all for providing a wonderful experience in Salt Lake City last week. "Hiccups" aside, I would not have missed it. 

Don't forget to review individual presentations on you app. Most speakers do value your opinions (I know I do).

IAJGS2014: Day 6

Friday morning: the last sessions are always a bit quieter than earlier in the week at IAJGS conferences. Some people are already on their way home. I, for one, always make a point of attending Friday morning sessions. The presenters deserve it and, actually, some of the Friday morning sessions I have attended in the past have been excellent. No exceptions this time. Both sessions I attended were very worthwhile.

Pamela Weisberger: "Austria, Poland & Ukraine: 3 Countries, 5 Archives & 12 Wonderful Days of Discovery"

I had heard Pamela deliver this talk before, but I am always amazed at her world-wide ability to network and ferret out great information at archives. It was good to hear it her presentation again. 

Pamela took this trip with John Diener in 2013. In Austria they visited the Staatsarchiv and the Kriegsarchiv (military records) and the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde where many Jewish community records are housed. They'd requested records ahead of their visit. 

At the BEV (Bundesant fur Eich - und Vermessungswesen) - the cadastral map office, Pamela hoped to acquire more cadastral maps for towns in Galicia. Offcials reported,  however, that all maps for Galicia had been returned to the towns when they left Austrian rule. 

Pamela's personal genealogical interest was her family town of Grzymalow in the former province of Galicia. In her research she had found that her family had worked for the Polish magnate family Pininski who owned the town. She had read a book by a Pininski descendant and arranged to meet him. 

Pamela also reported that Fond 154 in the Warsaw archives contains town records (including some from the 20th Century) for Przemysel. I was pleased to learn the pronuciation of that town's name. It resembles "Shemshil."
 

Oleksiy and Nadia Lipes: "Ukrainian Pogroms 1917-1921: Using the Documentations as Jewish Genealogy Source"

Oleksiy Lipes presented this talk with help from his wife Nadia. They are young, knowledgeable Ukrainians of Jewish descent. They reported on their research in the Kiev Archives, Fond 3050, Opis 1, Delo 51 - a report about pogroms in Kiev Gubernia, 1919-1920. Much of the report is in Yiddish and has been traslated into Russian. The records include lists of people affected in many towns. Apparently, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washinton, D.C. has copies of these records. 

Conference Over!

I spent the afternoon in the Family History Library acquiring some U.S. records  and some records from Chernivtsy, Ukraine where, due to indexing by other Jewish Bukovina researchers, I knew there were vital records for people with some of my family names. My plans included one more day (Saturday) in the Library and then a flight home Saturday night. In all, a very successful visit to Salt Lake City.

IAJGS2014: Day 5

Thursday was a busy day at the conference for those, like me, involved in Ukraine SIG.

Eric Goldman, PhD.: "Cinema as Medium for Jewish-American Identity-Making" and Ukraine SIG luncheon

At 7:30 A.M., Goldman, adjunct professor of cinema at Yeshiva University and Fairleigh Dickinson University and Ukraine SIG's invited conference speaker delivered an interesting talk about how cinema has depicted Jewish people and the development of their comfort with life in the United States. He drew from several films including Young Lions, a 1958 movie with Montgomery Clift, and Barry Levinson's Baltimore series (especially, Avalon and Liberty Heights). 

In the 1950s, the emphasis was on America accepting Jewish people in the society. Jews were unsure if they would be accepted. Goldman holds that Levinson's movies from the 1990s were the first to address Jewish families and their adjustment to the USA. One of the themes is "I belong here." Although, in starting the movie with the young immigrant's first steps into Baltimore, there continued to be no real exploration of our relationship with the old country.

Goldman's luncheon talk focused on the movie Everything is Illuminated as a vehicle not only for writer Jonathan Safron Foer's journey, but also for its director, Liev Schreiber's, exploration of his roots in eastern Europe.

Both talks left one with a great deal to think about as well as a new perspective from which to view the films. I am anxious to see a couple I have not seen before and to re-screen those I had seen previously in light of Goldman's analysis.

Of note: In September, Goldman will be co-host with Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies for the month-long series (23 films) "The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film."

Janette Silverman, PhD.: "Ancient Documents Shed Light on Modern Research" and "Ask a Question or make an Appointment"

I have known Janette Silverman and her excellent genealogical work for several years and it was an honor to introduce both her talks about the Archives and Special Collections one may access at the Jewish Theological Seminary's Library. Janette walked us through the Library's Special Collections website and interesting documents such as ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts that are often quite beautifully decorated) and other community records. I imagine I was not the only one in the room who will plan a pilgrimage to the JTS Library next time I am in New York City. 

03 August 2014

IAJGS2014: Day 3

Since my conference presentation ("Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins") was scheduled for the third morning slot on Tuesday, 29 July, at 10:30, I used the first two slots to prepare. Most of the prep was just prodding my brain (and mouth) to recall a presentation I last gave in January in Florida and making sure that there were no typos or other possible misfires in my updated PowerPoint presentation.

Unfortunately, that meant missing a couple of sessions that I would have liked to have attended. In particular, I was interested in "Sticking to the Union: Using Labor Union Documents for Genealogical research" by Jane Neff Rollins. Nearly all of my father's family and a huge number of others from their little community in Russia  became glaziers when they arrived in the United States. I have been conducting some research into their participation in this profession and the union angle on the story should be a good one. I will listen to the audio recording of her presentation when it becomes available. 

I believe one may still purchase recordings of one or all conference presentations. However, the IAJGS2014 conference webpage has not had any mention of this opportunity (they seem to be stressing LIVE! - the video recordings - to the exclusion of audio). I suggest they fix that problem if they are interested in actually selling any recordings after the conference.

Daniel Jurca: "Jewish Genealogy Research in Romania"

Having now attended three IAJGS conferences, as well as Rootstech and NGS conferences, I believe the hallmark of IAJGS conferences is learning about newly discovered or accessible resources. 

Jurca spoke about resources in formerly Hungarian areas, as well as Moldova and other portions of today's Romania. Among the record collections mentioned: local Jewish community records as well as Translyvanian birth, marriage and death indices; administrative civil status registers at local county archives and more recent versions at city halls; and Citizenship collection, 1924-1945. 

Since I have family from Radauti, Romania, I perked up when he discussed birth, marriage and death records (6 books and 402 files) dating from 1857-1887.


Daniel Horowitz: "Conducting Webinars: Broadcasting lectures around the world"

Most Jewish genealogy societies struggle to find funds to bring in interesting speakers. IAJGS to the rescue!

Daniel Horowitz presented information and a how-to on the GoToWebinars system, which allows societies to broadcast lectures from far-away locations without great expense. The system also allows one to broadcast lectures via the Internet to members who may not be able to travel to meeting venues.

Daniel recommended that each webinar include not only a speaker, but also an additional person to handle the technical issues of the GoToWebinar application during a presentation. 

IAJGS has purchased a license that allows its member societies to use this system for their events. A society reserves the system for a specific time and date. For further information, see the IAJGS Webinars System section of the IAJGS website. If a society wishes, it may record their webinars and store them for future viewing in the IAJGS Webinars Library.

Dr. Ekkehard Hubschmann: "From Germany to North America in the 19th Century - The Bavarian Example"

I don't know much about German Jewish immigrants to America. And, unfortunately, due to a commitment to the Ukraine SIG Board, I had to leave this presentation before it was completed. 

Historian Hubschmann is quite obviously knowledgeable, and has done his own research into the push and pull factors of German Jewish emigration/immigration.

Many Hessian soldiers who's fought in the Revolutionary War stayed in the new United States. A large volcanic eruption in the South Pacific, was a significant cause of the "year without summer" in 1816. Disastrous crop failures ensued as well as famine.

Most of the Jewish population in the Bavaria was in the Franconia Province. Up until about 1840, the Bavarian government did not support Jewish emigration, although they did tolerate it. 

An economic crisis is 1846-7 changed that. Several communities and even some Jewish communities paid the way for people to emigrate. Criminal elements were some of the ones more likely to be sent away. 

The Bavarian Emancipation Edict of 10 June 1813 granted freedom to Jewish subjects. They had to adopt family names and pledge loyalty to Bavaria. Registers of these new names were created and these records may be accessed (although there is no finding aid).


Ron Arons: "What's in a name? Trouble!" 

Ron, always an engaging and amusing speaker, was given a prized schedule slot (8:30 P.M.) within which to make this presentation. He outlined the sordid criminal career of his great-grandfather, Isaac Spier. But then, he went on to document the interesting, and sometimes criminal, careers of several others with the same name (he acknowledge that some of the records found may refer to the same individual, but some are clearly from different people). 

Ron also introduced use of mind-mapping as a technique for data analysis. His new book covers this in depth.