IAJGS

The Eastern European Mutt is going to…

…nowhere! I’m going nowhere. But will be speaking at 41st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, August 1-5, 2021. Check out my live panel presentation, Know Your USCIS Records, with Rich Venezia and Marian Smith, taking place on 3 August from 11:15am – 1:30pm EDT.

The two-hour panel session will introduce researchers to Certificate Files (C-Files), Visa Files and Registry Files, Alien Registration Forms and A-files. We will work to untangle the misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding the records created by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The session will help participants understand the fee-based USCIS Genealogy Program, what might be found duplicated in court records, and what might be at the National Archives. We’ll discuss the content of the records, value to genealogical research, and unclear status regarding preservation and future researcher access. Despite the interest in these records, and advocacy for them, future access to USCIS records remains in jeopardy if the community does not continue to work to protect the records.    

I also have an on-demand talk, Three is Not the Magic Number: Better Ways to Add Up Evidence and Improve Analysis. Finding three examples of a piece of information equals a fact is a genealogy myth. This presentation breaks apart the notion of three, and replaces it with using documents to learn definitions of primary and secondary information, original and derivative source documents, and direct and indirect evidence – all part of using the Evidence Analysis Process Map to weigh and analyze the evidence before making a conclusion.

Examples of how the “rule of three” can result in incorrect conclusions will be discussed in case studies, which will also help participants understand how to build research plans, equaling better research, better conclusions and fewer genealogy “do-overs.” The records discussed in this presentation will focus on those easily available for a newer researcher: vital records (birth, marriage, death), headstones, Census records, immigration and naturalization records, Social Security number applications, and military draft cards.

Will I see you online?

The Eastern European Mutt is going to…

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…Cleveland! I’ll be speaking at the 39th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, July 28 – August 2, 2019.*

My talk, titled Why Cleveland? Finding Answers in the Industrial Removal Office Records starts with the question many of us ask. Why did our immigrant ancestor chose to live in Cleveland over Pittsburgh? Little Rock over Los Angeles? Memphis over Miami? The answers might lie in the records of the Industrial Removal Office, a scary name for a good organization. The IRO, founded in 1901, assisted immigrants in finding employment and better living conditions, and helped assimilate them into American society. IRO agents, often working in partnership with B’nai B’rith or other Jewish fraternal groups, spread around the USA securing jobs, and then immigrants would be sent to those locations to establish a new life.

The session will examine the records of the IRO, housed at the American Jewish Historical Society, including ledger books, case files and correspondence, as well as reports by local agents on the newly settled immigrants. Using case studies, the presentation will demonstrate how to use the online index, and how to navigate to find immigrant case files, correspondence, and reports. The talk builds off a previous blog post, New York Minute.

I’ll also have a few minutes during the LatviaSIG meeting to speak about the records of the U.S. Consulate in Riga, housed at the National Archives in College Park.

Will I see you in Cleveland? Early Bird Registration ends 30 April 2019.

The Eastern European Mutt is going to…

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…Eastern Europe! I’ll be speaking at the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Warsaw, Poland, August 5–10, 2018.*

Did You Know Your Grandfather was a Twin? and Other Questions I’ve Asked My Mother is my talk on how the translation of the 1897 Census of Dvinsk sent me on a quest to learn about my great-grandfather’s previously unknown twin sister and her family. The story winds through many different record sets in the US and Latvia, as well as Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. It also looks at how oral history can help, and how sometimes the brickwalls we encounter are of our own making.

The talk builds off a previous blog post, titled Pages of Testimony. Will I see you there? Early Bird Registration ends 28 April 2018.

*Date and time of talk TBD