Category Archives: Featured Web Site

Jewish American History Month

May is Jewish American History Month (JAHM). This year’s theme is American Jews in Entertainment.

Resources are available at the web site, the most interesting found under the Education & Resources, including a Historical Timeline of Jews in America, Stories about prominent Jews, a Teacher Curriculum with some content that is interesting reading for anyone, and information about Jewish American entertainers, linked to the BIO channel and their programs.

President Obama issued a Proclamation for 2013 and there is also an official JAHM government web site. This site also provides Stories, Audio/Video, and Exhibits & Collections, many pages featuring links to collections at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other informational sources.

UJGS encourages our members to learn more about Jewish American History by perusing these web sites. What new information can you learn that might further your genealogy pursuits?

Genealogy Webinars – Online Learning

If you’re looking to learn more about genealogy, then the Internet is a great place to be. There are a plethora of genealogy groups broadcasting webinars on a variety of subjects and all for free!

What’s a webinar? It’s a web seminar, a presentation broadcast over the Internet. The webinar interface also allows for a question and answer session at the end. These webinars allow speakers to share their knowledge with people all over the world, and no one has to travel.

The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) has their Jamboree Extension Webinar Series throughout the year. They are held twice a month, on the first Saturday and third Wednesday. Last year, they also broadcast from live sessions at their Jamboree genealogy conference in June.

The Illinois State Genealogical Society has one webinar each month. Most of the topics are about general genealogical methodology and apply to all genealogy research.

The Utah Genealogical Association Virtual Chapter (UGA) also meets online in webinar format once a month. This year, they have switched to GoToWebinar, like most of the other genealogy webinars already use.

All of these societies allow anyone to attend the webinars live, but only members can view the recordings later. Some other societies have broadcast webinars, including the Georgia Genealogical Society, the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA), and of course, UJGS.

Legacy Family Tree has been hosting a webinar series for a few years and has just revamped it with a new web site. Their webinars are free to attend live and to view for seven days following the broadcast. The rest can be purchased on CD or watched online by purchasing their new monthly or yearly memberships.

Another place to check is GeneaWebinars. Created by Dear Myrtle, who hosts Mondays with Myrt webinars (they’re listed on her site), individuals who broadcast on their own and societies can post their scheduled webinars to make them easier to find. Myrt has recently switched to using Google Hangouts On Air, which can be viewed using Google+ or YouTube.

And don’t forget to watch the videos of the keynote presentations and some of the sessions from RootsTech 2013. (This site will automatically playing the videos when it loads.)

Most genealogy webinars last about an hour, but some have been known to go on for longer, especially while taking questions from the attendees.

So take a look at what’s coming up and you might find some great information on the Internet. What do you want to learn today to help you with your genealogy research? Free Access Databases is offering free access to some of its 2012 collections until December 29th.

Just a few of the databases in the free collection include:

  • 1940 US Federal Census
  • 1892 New York State Census
  • Massachusetts Town and Vital Records 1620-1988
  • Galveston, Texas Jewish Immigration Records 1901-1917
  • London, England Land Tax Records 1692-1932
  • Canada Voters Lists 1935-1980
  • Washington Marriage Records 1865-2004
  • Border Crossings from Canada to US 1895-1954
  • New York Naturalization Records 1897-1944

You can visit their web site to see a list of all of the free collections available until Saturday to search them specifically. Click on “See What’s Free” on the right side for the complete list.

Online Cookbook from JGS Montreal

Who isn’t always on the look-out for new recipes to try? If you’re interested in some traditional Jewish recipes, then the JGS of Montreal has you covered. Their members have contributed some of their favorite recipes, and sometimes included stories about them too.

Beginning with the traditional cure-all food of chicken soup, they have compiled many dishes that would be familiar to anyone who grew up with Jewish cooking, including kugels, chopped liver, challah, bagels, gefilte fish, and cholent, to name just a few. They also have some lesser known and regional foods, so not everyone will be familiar with them all. There are a variety of main courses including several chicken and turkey dishes and they didn’t forget about the desserts either.

The cookbook is available online in a PDF file, linked from their home page, so anyone can try out their Jewish cooking skills or discover some new flavors. Bon appetit!

1940 US Census – Indexing Update

Indexing continues on the 1940 US Census.

FamilySearch now has 14 states searchable: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming. has added Maine to their searchable states, which also include Delaware, Nevada, and Washington DC. (I recommend searching even if you don’t need these states, just to see their new census viewer.)

MyHeritage has been adding to their searchable records. They still list only Rhode Island and New York, and still don’t specify which counties are finished. (It was verified to me that Rhode Island is complete). New York is still incomplete, but they have made progress since the last update. A search today includes results from the Bronx! Also seen in the results were the counties of Erie, Monroe, Chemung, and even a few results for Queens. (I must be searching the wrong names for Queens results, but I did see a few.) Another blog post indicated a couple of counties starting with A were complete, but there were so many Bronx results, I did not see them.

Have you been helping to index the census? It’s still not too late to sign up. Just visit and click on the Get Started button to download the software, sign up if you don’t already have an account (choose UJGS as your group), and help index. And when the census is finished, you can help index other records too. Remember that every searchable index on is contributed by volunteers — more people indexing means more searchable databases.

1940 US Census – Update On Indexing

FamilySearch and it’s partners ( and and volunteers (us!) have completed the indexing of six states: Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia, and New Hampshire. They are all searchable by name.

At the time of this blog post, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming are all showing 100% completion. Sometimes a complete state gets reverted to less than 100% for various reasons, but this group of states should be the next ones available. After the indexing and arbitration is complete, it still takes a bit more time to prepare the indexes for searching; they say about 10-14 days. Currently, about 30% of the census is indexed. At this rate, they are predicting a complete census by July or August. has Delaware, Nevada, and Washington DC completed. They have integrated Steve Morse’s one step tool for finding the Enumeration District (ED) into their site for browsing the images.

MyHeritage was the first site to give us a searchable index. Their site says that you can search New York and Rhode Island by name, but a search there clearly reveals that they have not completed all of New York, so it is unclear exactly how much is available. Unlike the other sites that are uploading only by completed states, MyHeritage appears to be uploading each county as it becomes available, but they do not state which counties are finished.

Happy Census Searching!

Jewish Sites at Arlington National Cemetery

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW), in partnership with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW), is raising funds to design, print, and distribute a new brochure about Jewish history in Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). It will include information about prominent Jews buried in the cemetery and discuss Jewish burial rites in relation to the cemetery with touches of the history of Jews in the military. Special monuments like for those for Space Shuttle astronauts, Confederate soldiers, and the new Jewish Chaplains Memorial will be included.

In 2008, JGSGW embarked on a project to index the Jews at rest in Arlington National Cemetery. The team of volunteers walked the grounds of the cemetery and photographed all markers bearing a Magen Dovid (a Jewish star). A database was created and is searchable at The data and photos were also donated to JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). They currently have entries for 5,219 Jews buried in ANC.

In March 2012, JGSGW donated $3,000 to the effort to create a new brochure about the highlights of the tour the JHSGW has hosted for years of the Jewish sites and history at ANC. They are asking for donations to reach the goal of $10,000.

Donations may be sent to: ANC Fund, c/o JGSGW, PO Box 1614, Rockville, MD 20849.

This message was sent to us last month from JGSGW, with a photo of the new Jewish Chaplains Memorial. That picture can also be seen on their web site here.


Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is back!

Begun in 1999, RAOGK was online for just over a decade, providing genealogists a list of volunteers in the US and internationally who could help with things like quick look-ups and cemetery photos. The site grew to have 4300 volunteers all over the world, helping genealogists reach local records that they otherwise could not obtain. Volunteers did the work for free, only asking for reimbursement for actual costs involved, such as photocopies or postage.

RAOGK’s creator, Bridgette Schneider, passed away in November 2011. Shortly before her death, the site experienced some problems and was taken offline. Facebook groups quickly emerged to try to take the place of this powerful resource.

But now it’s back, in the form of a wiki. (A wiki is a user-generated site; anyone can contribute to the content of a wiki, like Wikipedia.) The information from the web site was able to be saved and set up on the new wiki. Unfortunately, all the contact information for the volunteers was not publicly available and therefore is not on the new site.

Those who used the site in the past, or anyone who wants to be a new volunteer, is welcome to sign up for an account and become a RAOGK volunteer.

1940 Census – First Index Online at MyHeritage

MyHeritage has just announced that they have two million 1940 US Census images online, and the first searchable index.

From their press release:

MyHeritage, the most popular family network on the web today, announced the availability of the first indexed records from the 1940 US Census, searchable for free by names, facts, and other criteria, on In addition, MyHeritage has published two million images of the 1940 US Federal Census out of the total 3.8 million, with complete availability of all images expected in less than 24 hours.

The highly anticipated searchable indexed records and images are amongst the very first to appear on the Internet as millions of people rush to satisfy their curiosity and access one of the most significant and meaningful sets of historical records ever to be released. The first indexed records come from Bristol County in Rhode Island, with a deluge of additional records to be added by MyHeritage each day. The images currently available … cover all of New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island, Missouri, Wyoming, and Nevada. Images for additional states are added every hour.

MyHeritage is the only provider to make the 1940 US census searchable in 38 languages. … The census images are also currently available on the additional historical content sites owned by MyHeritage on and – with initial searchable indexes expected to be live soon on these web sites, and to grow throughout 2012.

While genealogists around the world are searching for their relatives by using addresses to look up enumeration districts, then scanning through pages of records, previous US censuses have been indexed by several genealogy sites, including MyHeritage and WorldVitalRecords. MyHeritage is the first site to provide an online searchable name index of any 1940 US census records.

What this particular press release didn’t mention is the search technology available at MyHeritage. As records are indexed, they will automatically match up the names to the people found in users’ trees on their web site, alerting users to the census listings even before they may know the location has been indexed. The first states that MyHeritage made available for browsing on April 2nd were New York and Rhode Island.

More News for the 1940 Census

It seems that Feedburner didn’t send out the email this morning from the just-after-midnight blog post, so you’ll likely get two posts on April 3rd. Either way, the NARA site, though running through Amazon’s cloud server, is overloaded and causing great frustrations among genealogists.

NARA has the entire census online, but as already stated, the Amazon cloud is not handling the load very well this first morning.

As of this blog post, FamilySearch has Delaware available for browsing. That link will take you to their general 1940 page, so other states will show up in the same place eventually. No word yet on when the indexing will be ready to go, but it should be later today.

As posted earlier, Ancestry already has a couple of states and territories up. They have a status list of their progress, but it’s not quite correct.

The New York Public Library has put the 1940 telephone directories for New York City online.

The Online Historical Directories sites may also help you with directories for other locations.

And tooting my own horn a little, you can read about the first family members I found in the census over on my personal genealogy blog.