All posts by Banai Lynn Feldstein

Banai is the Treasurer, Webmaster, and Past President of UJGS. She is a professional genealogist living in Salt Lake City, Utah specializing in Jewish and European research.

USCIS Fee Hike

If you have a certain number of genea-friends on social media, you may have already seen this, but we want to inform you about something that is currently going on in the genealogy world.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the INS) has proposed an outrageous fee increase, raising the fees for a $65 search and the follow-up $65 record retrieval to $240 and $385 — a 492% increase.

What files does the USCIS have?

  • Naturalization Certificate Files (C-Files), September 27, 1906 to March 31, 1956
  • Alien Registration Forms (Form AR-2), August 1940 to March 1944
  • Visa Files, July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944
  • Registry Files, March 1929 to March 31, 1944
  • A-Files, April 1, 1944 to May 1, 1951

These are records that cannot be found anywhere else. NARA should have already received some of these files, which would make them easier for genealogists to access, but they have not been passed along as they should have been. And no genealogy organization has access to them or even to the indexes.

The USCIS has provided an opportunity for us to comment on the proposed rule that dramatically impacts the USCIS Genealogy Records Program.

You can read more about the rule proposal at https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/ as well as see samples of some documents you may get from USCIS.

We encourage all of our members and friends to then follow through and comment on how you feel about this fee increase at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=USCIS-2019-0010-0001. They have already received over 11,000 comments and you can leave a comment until the end of December.

Movie Screening – October 2

Announcing a screening of the award-winning film, Children of the Inquisition, followed by a discussion with the film’s director, Joseph Lovett.  The film follows people in their journey of self-discovery through genealogy research and the stories of their ancestors who survived the Inquisition.  Children of the Inquisition won the Grand Prize for the “Hearts, Minds, Souls Award:  Celebrating Films that Reflect the Jewish Experience” from the Flicker’s Rhode Island International Film Festival.

The event will take place at the Gould Auditorium, Marriott Library, at the University of Utah from 5:30 – 8:00pm on October 2nd. It is being sponsored by Friends of the Marriott Library, the Marriott Library Special Collections, and the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. Free refreshments will be provided.

More about the film and the trailer can be found at: https://childrenoftheinquisition.com/.

There is a parking lot west of the library for $2 per hour, or several TRAX or UTA bus stops on campus. The library provides directions and more information.

Robert Neu, 1940-2019

UJGS is sad to report we’ve just learned about the death of Robert Neu on 16 March 2019.

Robert was the founder of our society in 2002, serving as president from that time until he left for an LDS mission in 2007. Upon his return in 2008, he remained an active member until about 2012. He continued to attend sporadically until his last meeting in 2015. He moved to Minnesota soon after.

Robert contributed regularly to Atsmi Uvsari, our newsletter (2003-2010), including as the editor for about a year. His book reviews can be found in many of the old issues, along with other stories.

In 2005 (Issue 10, page 7), Robert gave the following still-relevant advice to our members:

“Don’t give up. Get to know ALL the records from the area you are researching. Help others as you gain knowledge.”

Robert was buried at Fair View Cemetery in Middletown, New Jersey, where he has other family members. He was 78 years old. His obituary can be read online.

UJGS sends its condolences to his many family members and friends.

Call to Meeting – May 21

It’s time for another Utah JGS meeting.

As usual, it will be on Tuesday night, May 21st, at 6:30pm in one of the main floor classrooms along the back wall of the Family History Library.

This month, we’ll be learning from our own Josh Perlman and Banai Feldstein as they teach us about Jewish Gravestones: What To Look For And How To Understand Them.

Need help with some gravestones? Bring along your pictures. We always have some time after the meeting to help out our members with their genealogy research, and this month would be appropriate to help with gravestones. Or if you have some other brick wall in your research, we’ll be happy to help you try to bust through it. Just bring whatever details you already have and we’ll give it a go.

See you there!

Call to Meeting – March 19

Hello geneafriends.

We have a whole bunch of new people joining our UJGS mailing list from RootsTech. Thank you for stopping by the IAJGS booth and signing up.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 19th, at 6:30pm. We meet at the Family History Library in the main floor classroom B or C — we’ll be in one and the other is usually empty.

Parking is free behind the museum next door beginning at 4pm. The entrance is accessible when heading East on North Temple between 200 West and West Temple. (If you’re driving West, there’s a median so you’ll have to U-turn.)

Many of you had questions about your research and DNA results. Bring your genealogy problems and we’ll try to help.

See you then!

Call to Meeting Reminder – February 26

Just a reminder that our first meeting of the year is next Tuesday at the FHL at 6:30pm in our usual place, the classrooms on the main floor.

Daniel Horowitz will be telling us about 10 Things You May Not Want to Know About MyHeritage. This is a great opportunity to learn about some of the features that site has to offer.

As always, since we meet at the library, you are free to do research before and after the meeting, and if you need some help with your research, we’ll do what we can to help you.

We’re also taking this opportunity to remind you that, since it’s the first meeting of the year, dues is due. It’s just $10 per person or $15 per couple. You can pay at the meeting by cash, check, or credit card, or pay online by credit card at our Square Store.

See you next week.

Call to Meeting – February 26

It’s almost time for our first meeting of the year for the Utah JGS.

As we’ve done for the past several years, our February schedule has been bumped up a week to take place the day before RootsTech, when we can take advantage of the speakers coming to town for the conference, and to get some extra attendance from the conference-goers.

This year we will have a returning favorite speaker, Daniel Horowitz, who will be telling us 10 Things You May Not Want to Know About MyHeritage.

MyHeritage is constantly adding new features to their website. Why do you not want to know about them? Because you will get addicted to all the amazing features available that will advance your family research. Come hear Daniel tell you all about: Pedigree Tree, Pedigree Map, Tree Consistency Checker, Charts, Calendar Events, Statistics, and many more.

Come join us on February 26th at 6:30pm in the main floor classrooms B & C at the Family History Library.

We will also have representatives at the IAJGS booth at RootsTech. If you’re interested in volunteering, just let us know by replying to this message.

See you there!

Happy Valentine’s Day from MyHeritage

While our members can access the site whenever they visit the Family History Library, MyHeritage is offering an early Valentine’s Day gift.

Free access to all marriage records on their site. This includes US, European, and all international collections they have.

So if you have some marriages in your family still to find, take a look and see what they have from the convenience of your home.

This offer runs from February 10 – 17 at myheritage.com.

FindMyPast Free Weekend – September 7 – 10

FindMyPast is offering free access to 2.7 billion records this weekend. Included in the offer is birth, marriage, and death records, census, military, immigration, directories, the 1939 Register, and more.

Most of these collections are British but also include ship lists going to and from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America and more; the Catholic Heritage Archive of North American, British, and Irish records. It appears that FindMyPast is offering access to almost all of their collections (except for newspapers, PERSI, and UK Electoral Registers).

The offer ends at midnight on September 10th (BST?), so don’t miss out on the opportunity to search these records from the comfort of your own home. FindMyPast is available for free access at the Family History Library, but some collections are not always available in the library versions.

I know what I’ll be doing for some of this weekend. What will you be doing?

Call to Meeting – July 17

The next UJGS meeting will be July 17th at 6:30pm in classroom B on the main floor of the Family History Library (our usual place).

Our speaker this month is Marek Koblanski. We don’t have the title but he will be talking about Polish research.

This is our last meeting until October, so don’t miss it!