Category Archives: Press Release

International Jewish Genealogy Month is Coming

Cheshvan is approaching, and that means International Jewish Genealogy Month (IJGM) will soon be here. This year, IJGM is from October 17th to November 14th.

UJGS will be kicking off the month with a Library Research Night on October 16th and ending with a meeting on November 13th. Both events are at the Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City.

This Library Research Night (LRN) will be open to anyone, members and non-members. From 5-9pm, we will find a place at the FHL to do our research together. Our more advanced members have volunteered to help the others to do their research. Have a brick wall you need help busting down? Need to move into new research territory — a new country, a new language? Are you a beginner and need to know where to start your family history? We want to help.

If you plan to be there for LRN, we’d prefer to hear from you in advance. Let us know what you want help with so we have a chance to prepare, and so we know how many people to expect.

See you at the library!

Free MyHeritage Webinar

MyHeritage recently introduced Record Matches on their web site. If you’ve uploaded your family tree to their web site, it will automatically search for records related to the people in your family.

With help from its acquisition of WorldVitalRecords, MyHeritage has a growing collection of more than four billion historical records including census, birth and death records, newspaper articles, books, and more.

Even if you have only the free account, some of the record matches are still accessible, while others require you to have a data subscription.

This Wednesday, October 3rd, at 10am Utah time, MyHeritage is hosting a webinar to introduce Record Matches, show you how to check the matches, and how to use the information to discover more relatives.

The webinar is free but advanced registration is required.

Free US Census Records from Ancestry is offering access to its US Federal Census collection, 1790-1940, for free until September 3rd.

Are you still missing some of your relatives’ census records? This is a great opportunity to search for them again.

Thanks to Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings, we can also see a PDF from Ancestry called “Follow your family using census records“. It contains details about what is in each census, including a chart showing the main questions that were asked year by year, as well as some instructions for how to trace your family once you’ve located them in the most recent census.

Part of this celebration includes their release of the Time Machine, which is supposed to create a personal video of your life if you lived 72 years ago. (Unfortunately, after answering all of the questions, it gets stuck on the “loading” screen for me. If it works for you, visit this blog and leave a message about what it produced.)

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.