IAJGS Salutes Susan Edel of the Magen David Adom’s Family Tracing and Reunification Unit. Read more about what Susan does.
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) held its annual Conference in Orlando, FL July 23-28, 2017. More than 900 participated in person and over the Internet. Participants attended more than 300 sessions and workshops with most extensive tracks on DNA and on Converso genealogy. More than 60 sessions were streamed live for those not able to be at the Conference and are available until November 1, 2017 at http://live.iajgs.org. Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. inspired the group
The climax of the Conference is the banquet evening where awards and grants are given out to outstanding individuals and groups. 2017 IAJGS award and grant recipients are:
IAJGS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Jan Meisels Allen
In recognition of many years of service to genealogy, both Jewish and beyond, we are proud to grant the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award to Jan Meisels Allen. Jan is the founding president of the JGS of Conejo Valley, presently its programming chair, and she has been the program chair of the JGS of Los Angeles. She has served as board member and vice president of the IAJGS, and chairs its Public Records Access Monitoring Committee. Jan writes almost daily posts for the IAJGS Leadership List that keep the genealogical community well informed of current items of interest.
As conference Database Chairperson, Jan has been responsible for the resource room at IAJGS conferences for many years. Beyond Jewish genealogy, she has been a regular speaker at FGS and NGS conferences, at the invitation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and US Holocaust Memorial Museum, she spoke on access to Holocaust records, and has spoken on records access at European conferences. Her dedication to the cause of genealogical research and drive to work on its behalf has a continual far reaching effect. We are honored to name her as the recipient of this year’s award.
IAJGS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Rose Avigael Feldman
This year’s IAJGS Volunteer of the Year Award honors Rose Avigael Feldman’s dedication, encouragement, creativity, and achievements in the world of Jewish genealogy. Rose was an active volunteer in the organization of two IAJGS conferences. By contributing her time and energy to a records scanning project, documents from Israeli archives will be accessible to researchers worldwide. Rose has been and continues to be tireless in her efforts to promote Jewish genealogy: training volunteers for database work, writing and publishing articles, answering search queries, lecturing, attending genealogy lectures, and networking between people and organizations. We are grateful for her tremendous efforts and in appreciation we recognize her contributions through this award.
IAJGS OUTSTANDING PROJECT
Reclaim the Records
This year we bestow the IAJGS Outstanding Project Award to Reclaim the Records. As such we recognize the leadership of Brooke Schreier Ganz in organizing a group of concerned individuals and advocating for governmental agencies to release public data into the public domain. Using Freedom of Information laws (FOIL) and Open Data initiatives, in just a short time the organization has secured the release of thousands of vital records indices and voters lists, with continued efforts ongoing for records throughout the U.S. This project has had and will have an important impact in making public records available without charge to the public at large.
RABBI MALCOLM STERN GRANT
JewishGen’s Subcarpathian SIG
The SIG has recently identified over 3000 vital record books in Ukraine’s archives covering the period from 1895-1940 as well as some late registrations dating to 1840. This grant will help them have the records photographed which will allow them to be indexed by volunteers. These records will then be posted online so they can be accessed at no charge.
JOHN STEDMAN MEMORIAL FUND AWARD
Reclaim the Records
Our goal is first and foremost to win the first-ever public access to the Missouri birth and death indices. We would put these records online for free public use, just as we have with every other record set we have won from government agencies and libraries since we began the Reclaim The Records project in 2015. This grant would help with the legal expenses they are incurring and also speed up the availability of the records.
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) awarded two 2015 grants to increase the availability of resources for Jewish genealogical research. The grants were announced at the IAJGS annual conference in Jerusalem, Israel held July 6-10, 2015. The Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant honors Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern, widely considered the dean of American Jewish genealogy with a $3,000 grant being awarded in his name. Additionally, in 2012, the IAJGS received a $15,000 gift from the estate of Jon Stedman to honor his late father, John Stedman, an avid Jewish genealogist. The IAJGS decided that a special $3,000 grant in memory of John Stedman under the Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant be given for a single project for each of the next five years.
An example of how the Stern Grant can stimulate the availability of records to aid Jewish genealogical research is the past Stern Grant award of $2,000 to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal for the project to scan, in conjunction with McGill University, the “Canadian Naturalization Indexes” published in the Canada Gazette. With matching funds of an additional $2,000, 4,000 pages were scanned resulting in 456,000 records being indexed and available online at the Library and Archives Canada.
The grant recipients for 2015 are:
The Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland– to document Jewish cemeteries in Poland
To create a freely accessible database containing documentation of all available monuments in Jewish cemeteries in Poland, preserving the information before the ravages of time destroy much of it.
Nominee Organization: Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland. Lead person of Nominee Organization: Witold Wrzosinski
A partnership of Jewish Galicia & Bukovina Association, Gesher Galicia, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Herzl Institute of the University of Haifa, to index Stanislawow records
To index 20th century census and passport records (the 1939 Stanislawow census and the Stanisalawow District Passport Applications). The records were located with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and have already been provided to the project. Digitization has already been paid. The grant will provide funds needed for indexing the materials and preparing it for online access.
Nominee Organization: A partnership of Jewish Galicia & Bukovina Association, Gesher Galicia, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Herzl Institute of the University of Haifa. Lead person of Nominee Organization: Pamela Weisberger (Project Coordinator).
A list of past Stern Grant recipients (starting in 1991) can be found here: http://www.iajgs.org/blog/awards/rabbi-malcolm-stern-grant/. For more information on the IAJGS and where you can find the closest Jewish Genealogical Society visit www.iajgs.org. Visit https://www.facebook.com/IAJGSConference to see many photos and postings from this year’s conference. The next annual IAJGS conference will be held in Seattle, Washington August 7-12, 2016 www.iajgs2016.org.
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) held its annual conference in Jerusalem, Israel from July 6-10, 2015. Attendance peaked at 1,000 with more than 21 countries represented. More than 60 video-recorded sessions are available for on-demand viewing for those not able to be at the conference (visit www.iajgs2015.org to subscribe) and include the opening event keynote by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and Chairman of Yad Vashem, and address by Gilad Japhet, CEO of MyHeritage.
This conference is unique in the quality of resources available, the depth and diversity of experts available, the importance of making use of modern technology alongside the basics of genealogy research, and the truly international interest and cooperation. For the first time, a Family Fun Day, filled with multigenerational hands-on family history activities, was held in conjunction with the conference.
The climax of the conference was the banquet evening where awards were given out to outstanding individuals and groups. The following distinguished award recipients for 2015 were recognized (photos of the recipients are posted at https://www.facebook.com/IAJGSConference/posts/843233539063800):
Lifetime Achievement Award:
In recognition of Judy’s tireless work as: a LitvakSIG board member; moderator of the LitvakSIG Discussion Group; membership of the JRI Poland Board; Lomza Archive Coordinator; and moderator of the Lodz Area Research Group and BialyGen discussion groups. Judy was also involved in editing/proofreading Yizkor Book translations for Ciechanowiec, Eisiskes and Ostrow Mazowiecka, and is a sought-after speaker.
JGS of Greater Boston – JewishGen Memorial Plaque Database Contribution
In recognition of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston being the leading contributor to the JewishGen Memorial Plaque Database, accounting for 52% of the entries. JGSGB has submitted 37,628 entries from 62 Massachusetts synagogues/Jewish organizations. When gravestone and burial records are not available, memorial plaques are an invaluable source of vital information. It is likely that these plaques and their information would have remained hidden and eventually lost but for the initiative and diligence of the Society’s members.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island You Tube Channel
In recognition of JGS of Long Island work to increase its membership and attract younger members. Using social media creatively with a relevant, informative message, and getting to the point quickly; JGSLI created a series of short, informative videos available to its members and the greater genealogical community through its new YouTube channel. This unique program includes 10 videos with a goal of adding a new one monthly. This innovative project can be replicated by other IAJGS members.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland, Newsletter L’Dor V’Dor
In recognition of the very comprehensive and outstanding Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland newsletter, L’Dor V’Dor, published by a society that is not yet two years old. This attractive newsletter under the leadership of Publication Chair, Susan Steeble, compares favorably to publications of much more mature organizations. L’Dor V’Dor includes a variety of articles, from research methodologies to success stories to brick walls. Its breadth and depth are unique.
IAJGS Member of the Year:
Israel Genealogy Research Association
In recognition of the work of the Israel Genealogy Research Association, which reorganized 3.5 years ago. IGRA has created the All Israel Database (AID), which currently includes over 420,000 records, searchable by name in Hebrew and English. IGRA is working with more than thirty different archives in Israel, including collaborating with the Israel State Archives to index marriage and divorce records from the British Mandate Period of Palestine. IGRA’s innovative programming includes their online databases, journal and video conferencing.
Volunteer of the Year:
Jan Meisels Allen
In recognition of the work of Jan Meisels Allen, President of Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County and Chair of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee. A former IAJGS Vice-President who strives to keep Jewish genealogists aware of opportunities and records access issues through her messages to the IAJGS leadership and JewishGen. A regular volunteer for IAJGS International Conferences, she has coordinated access to a huge variety of online databases supporting the attendees’ research experiences.
Past recipients (starting in 1998)of IAJGS Achievement Awards can be found at http://www.iajgs.org/blog/awards/achievement-awards/. For more information on the IAJGS and where you can find the closest Jewish Genealogical Society visit www.iajgs.org. Visit https://www.facebook.com/IAJGSConference to see many photos and postings from this year’s conference. The next annual IAJGS conference will be held in Seattle, Washington August 7-12, 2016 www.iajgs2016.org.