Category Archives: Press Release

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!

The 1940 US Census Is Indexed

In the race to finish indexing the 1940 US Census, Ancestry has won. It was announced today that they have completed their index.

FamilySearch is still at 99%, with most remaining states at 100% and just awaiting arbitration or uploading.

I have seen other people blog about the inaccuracies in both indexes. From what I’ve read, even with the double entry, FamilySearch still has some errors. The biggest difference is that, if you can find an error in Ancestry, you can send in a correction (but you still have to find it). FamilySearch still has no way to submit corrections (but I think they’re working on that).

So if you haven’t found all of your people yet in the census, maybe it’s about time for you to give it a try. If you have trouble finding people, try to remember the usual search tricks: use wild cards, try to imagine the name written messy and how someone else might interpret the letters, imagine it spoken with an accent and how someone unfamiliar with the name and the accent might write it, use more details or fewer, leave surname or given name blank and fill in other fields.

And check on both sites if you’re still having trouble, because the indexes are different. Remember, FamilySearch will be at 100% any day now, so if you still need a state that’s not finished there, and you’re having trouble finding your people on Ancestry, it won’t be long until you have that other option.


A few hours after publishing this article, FamilySearch announced that their census index was completed. Just before 2pm, the last batch was arbitrated. With 160,000 volunteers, the indexing was completed in 124 days, two months ahead of what they originally predicted. Of course, they still have some behind-the-scenes things to do before the last states are online, so it will be a few more weeks until they’re all searchable on that site. But there you go. Both major indexing projects completed on the same day!

IAJGS Conference Wrap-Up

Last week was the 32nd annual IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Paris, France.

During the Tuesday night gala, the following awards were announced:

The IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award went to Dr. Jeffrey S. Malka for his pioneering work in Sephardic genealogical studies. The award for Outstanding Contribution via Internet went to Logan Kleinwaks for his Genealogy Indexer web site. ViewMate was given the award for Outstanding Program or Project, conceived and initiated by Bernard Kouchel. The award for Outstanding Publication went to Shemot, the journal of the JGS of Great Britain.

The Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant was awarded to two organizations: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to continue digitizing and indexing of records in their archives, and the Israel Genealogy Research Association, to complete a search engine that can handle both English and Hebrew for the data they have been collecting in Israeli archives.

Congratulations to all the winners!

In addition to the awards, the Annual Meeting attendees re-elected the current Board of Directors for another term. The meeting was also broadcast via webinar for the first time.

Future conference locations were announced and speculated: 2013 in Boston, 2014 in Salt Lake City, 2015 in Jerusalem, 2016 in the Pacific Northwest (likely Seattle, Portland, or Vancouver), 2017 on the east coast of the US, and 2018 in Eastern Europe, most likely Warsaw.

UJGS members in attendance this year included Banai Feldstein, Todd Knowles, Kahlile Mehr, and Robert Neu.

1940 US Census and More – New York Indexes has just released the index to New York state for the 1940 US Census.

You can access the 1940 census on Ancestry at this link, or go right to their new 1940 census page. (Use the first link to browse images of the states not yet indexed.)

Additionally, they have just added the New York State Censuses for 1892, 1915, and 1925. They are also offering a special membership to New York residents to access all three of these databases plus other New York related databases for free. There is no indication for how long the special access is good.

Editor’s Note: The first step to the NY resident membership is to enter a NY zip code, so I tried it. Instructions suggest that you have to set up a free account. I was already logged in and gained access to the databases immediately. Again, no idea how long the access will last, but I’m sure it’s available at the Family History Library at any time.

Jamboree – Streaming Sessions

The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) hosts an annual conference called Jamboree, which takes place this weekend, June 8-10, in Burbank, California.

SCGS has just announced which sessions from this year’s Jamboree will be streamed live online. The sessions, descriptions, times, and links to the webinar registration pages are on their blog. If you’ve got some time this weekend, you can attend even if you can’t go to Burbank.

Beginning in March 2011, SCGS launched the Jamboree Extension Series, genealogy webinars presented throughout the year. These webinars, two per month, are free to attend live and archived for members for later viewing. The 2012 schedule can be found online.

Many of the topics offered, both during Jamboree and in the Extension Series, are appropriate to Jewish genealogists, such as the various methodology and technology courses. The Extension Series finishes off 2012 in December with Sharing and Preserving Memories in a Digital Era presented by Daniel Horowitz followed by Jewish Genealogy 101 by Schelly Dardashti. You can sign up for these well in advance from the 2012 schedule page (link above).

Sessions are limited to the first 1000 attendees, so be ready to log in early (especially for this weekend) because they might fill up quickly.

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.

Who Do You Think You Are? – Cancelled

It was announced today that NBC is cancelling Who Do You Think You Are? This Friday’s episode featuring Paula Deen will be the last new one for the US show on NBC.

In a press release from, they will be “exploring other avenues of distribution”. In social networking discussions, some genealogists have suggested they look to cable networks, specifically the History Channel, TLC, or Discovery.

Let’s hope Ancestry finds a new home for this show.

The original version of WDYTYA? began in 2004 on the BBC and has had eight series so far. BBC episodes have aired in many countries, sometimes leading to local versions. The international adaptations include the US, Canada (1 season, 2007-8), Australia (3 seasons aired, renewed for 4th and 5th), Israel (2010), Poland (2006-7), Russia, Germany (4 episodes, 2008), Ireland (2 seasons, 2008-9), South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands.

IJGM Poster Competition

International Jewish Genealogy Month runs from October 17th to November 14th this year, during the Hebrew month of Cheshvan.

As in previous years, IAJGS is holding a poster/flyer competition. Entries are due by June 3rd and must be submitted by a member organization. There is no age requirement and the creator is not required to be a member of the submitting organization.

The winner receives a free registration to the 2012 conference and will be acknowledged at the conference, on the IAJGS web site, and their name can appear on the poster which will be given electronically to all conference participants and used by JGSes around the world.

Previous IJGM posters can be seen at the IAJGS web site.

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.