Category Archives: Press Release

Marelynn Zipser, 1937-2021

UJGS is sad to report the death of Marelynn Zipser on February 19th.

Marelynn was a founding member of our society, serving as Membership Chair for many years, continuing as an active member until about 2017. She had a regular column in our newsletter, “Zip Tip”, with advice for research, often about the Family History Library. She was featured in the “Member Spotlight” in issue 14 in 2006.

Marelynn was a huge contributor to Jewish genealogy for over 15 years, indexing Hungarian records for the Hungary-SIG of JewishGen after researching her husband’s Austro-Hungarian family. The 1869 Hungarian census indexing project began with her work and she was often the only indexer for entire towns of records in the census or vital records, including indexing all of the Bratislava Jewish vital records in 2011, over 28,000 names.

In 2016, Marelynn received the IAJGS Volunteer of the Year award (nominated by her friends at UJGS), for her contributions to the Hungary-SIG database for so many years.

Her obituary can be found online, detailing her family and some of her life’s adventures.

UJGS sends it condolences to her family and friends.

RootsTech Begins Tonight

For anyone who hasn’t already noticed yet, RootsTech begins tonight. This year, RootsTech is all online and completely free. How can you go wrong?

If you’re not already signed up, you should check it out. There are sessions about all kinds of topics, including a strong list of specifically Jewish sessions. For the adventurous, they also have sessions in other languages, providing captions. Want to see what Poles or Ukrainians are saying about genealogy? They have some interesting sounding topics.

Most RootsTech sessions will be 20 minutes or less (working off the same theory as TED Talks), therefore some sessions have multiple parts.

Streaming begins at 9pm tonight, so go sign up. Many sessions will be available immediately while others will stream live and then can be watched on demand later. The conference will be available on demand for about a year, just before next year’s RootsTech, so you’ll have plenty of time to see everything.

So if you’re not yet signed up, head over to http://rootstech.org/ and see what you might learn.

RootsTech 2021 Is Virtual

FamilySearch recently announced that RootsTech 2021 will be all virtual — and all free.

Dates have been moved to February 25-27 (which coincides with Purim).

You can read more about their plans in a blog post about the virtual experience.

You can register for the free conference to receive any updates direct to your email, and then attend when the time comes.

While you’re on the site, you can check out the video archive to watch sessions from past years that you may have missed or forgotten.

Utah State Historical Society Conference

The Utah State Historical Society is holding its annual conference virtually in September.

The conference is free and open to the public. Each week, they have scheduled a few pre-recorded sessions and one or two livestreamed sessions, culminating in the keynote on September 25th.

The theme is Rights & Responsibilities. With sessions about Utah history, women’s rights and suffrage, and archaeology, the most genealogical topic will be the week of September 14-20, a session called The Right Record: Rights and Responsibilities in Utah Government Records.

Visit the USHS Conference web site to see the full program and to register.

IAJGS Virtual Conference 2020

Sorry that we didn’t send this notice out sooner, but IAJGS is doing its conference virtually this year and it’s this week.

This year, there are some live lectures and there’s an on demand library. So even if you sign up late, all the live lectures ought to be available on demand at some time after they have concluded.

But there’s a bonus free part of the conference. SIG and BOF meetings are free, as well as the JewishGen annual presentation and the IAJGS annual meeting. The SIG and BOF schedule is online here.

What are SIGs and BOFs? Special Interest Groups and Birds of a Feather. This is how we divide ourselves by the regions our families came from. Most Jewish American researchers will find themselves in multiple groups. These groups work to obtain and index records mostly, but may also help with coordinating research trips, recommending local researchers, or more, focusing on just their area of the world. SIGs are bigger geographical areas and BOFs often fit into specific SIGs, but work in smaller areas.

Visit iajgs2020.org to sign up. You will need to register for the free sessions, or you could pay for the full conference. Again, you’ve missed the first day already, but there are three more days to go. The SIG meetings are being recorded, so they may be available on demand at some point too.

One Webinar A Day Extended To May

Last month, we told you that Legacy Family Tree Webinars were offering one webinar a day for free from their catalog. They have extended that to May.

The schedule can be found on their web site.

They provide a list for the month, followed by a list by topic. Each day of the week has a different topic.

Sunday: Methodology
Monday: DNA
Tuesday: Ethnic Genealogy (May 19 and 26 are Jewish)
Wednesday: TechZone
Thursday: Around The Globe
Friday: Beginners
Saturday: Technology

This is your chance to watch some of the older webinars that you missed the first time, or to rewatch and refresh your memory. They also have upcoming live webinars listed on the home page, which are free when they’re live and then for another week. You can also pay for access to their entire webinar library which goes back to 2010.

Free Genealogy Webinars Daily

We hope our members are doing well, staying home, and staying healthy. During this difficult time, a plethora of information and entertainment is being offered online for free and we’d like to tell you about one.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars is releasing for free one webinar from their collection every day of April. Each day of the week has a different theme and there are quite a variety of topics.

Sundays are for methodology, Mondays are DNA topics, Tuesdays are ethnic genealogy, etc.

And we’re just in time to catch tomorrow’s (April 7) webinar on Sephardic Research.

You can view he entire schedule for the rest of month on the Legacy Family Tree web site.

What else have you been doing for the past month? Have you caught any operas at The Met? Seen any musicals or plays? Researched something on JSTOR? Virtually visited a museum? If you’re not using social media, you may be missing out on all the wonderful things now being shared for free online. You can also search on Google for “free things to do online”.

24 Hours of Genealogy Webinars

MyHeritage is hosting a 24 hour marathon of webinars at Legacy Family Tree Webinars, on March 12th and 13th.

The webinars begin at 3pm today, March 12, and conclude the tomorrow.

You can see the list of webinars, the times, and register on their web site. Registration is for the full day, but you can log in for only the webinars you want to see. Additionally, the webinars will be available for free for a week, so if you miss the one at 2am, or even at 2pm, you have a week to catch it before you’ll have to pay to see it.

There are webinars on Swedish, Dutch, Belgian, Australian and New Zealand records, as well as evidence and proof, name-changing ancestors, several on DNA, US census, and more.

Be sure to check out the list to see which ones apply to your own research and don’t miss your chance for more genealogy education.

We meant to send this message out earlier, but even if you don’t make it to the live version, you still have a week to watch.

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.