Jul 22, 2014

Do you have photos to lend Baycrest Museum

The Morris and Sally Justein Heritage Museum at Baycrest is planning an exhibition about the history of medicine in Toronto’s Jewish community.

The exhibition will coincide with Ontario Jewish Heritage Month, May 2015.

If you have objects, documents or photographs relating to the history of medicine in Toronto; the early years of the Toronto Jewish Old Folks’ Home, or medical education, that you would be willing to loan to this exhibition, please contact:

Cassandra Zita
Museum Assistant, Culture, Arts & Innovation, Baycrest
P: 416-785-2500 x 5622 -- E: czita@baycrest.org

Jul 21, 2014

Free Webinar

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is offering a free webinar on “Records Found” on July 24, 2014 at 1:00PM EDT

The focus of the webinar is about women who lost citizenship through marriage, naturalization and repatriation  between 1922-1956.

In 1907, the Expatriation Act mandated that all women acquired their husband’s nationality upon marriage—and between 1907 and 1922 many women lost their US citizenship by marring non-US citizens. This webinar examines citizenship records documenting the resumption of US citizenship by these women’s through the naturalization under the 1922 Married Women’s Act and through an expedited repatriation program that started in 1936.

To attend the webinar go to: http://tinyurl.com/okwzds3
Original url:

This webinar will also be held on Thursday, September 25, 2014 1:00 PM.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

One World - One Family Conference

Fifth Annual One World - One Family Conference
Saturday, August 23, 2014
9:00 am to 4:30 am
at the Brampton Ontario Stake Centre of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
10062 Bramalea Road, Brampton ON

Registration is now open.

Contact Information
Phone: (416) 273-8816
Email: owof.help@gmail.com

Conference link: http://www.oneworldonefamily-theevent.com/?utm_source=OWOF+Complete&utm_campaign=30fc3b297e-OWOF_2014_Anouncement_July_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c922a63535-30fc3b297e-415017805

Jul 10, 2014

South African Jewish BMD Database

For members who have South African connections. 

Louis Zetler will be visiting Toronto and is willing to meet with us on Tuesday evening July 22. "

He is prepared to give a lecture on his South African Jewish births, marriages & deaths databases that he created and has worked on since 2001. 

He has presented this lecture on a number of occasions in Israel, South Africa & Sydney. Basically, he creates the databases daily from online births, marriage & deaths notices in South African newspapers, Jewish cemetery websites, etc. 

He would like to get people in other countries to do the same, e.g. for Canada.

If there is interest in meeting with Louis, please let me know as soon as possible to president@jgstoronto.ca. Also as we have not booked a facility for such a meeting would anyone be willing to host at their home. I anticipate a small group.

Les Kelman,
President, JGS Toronto

Poland Drafting Vital Statistics Law

Poland is drafting a law to regulate its vital records.

See more: http://www.jgstoronto.ca/index.php/announcements-mainmenu-backup-104/1017-new-polish-vital-records-law-being-drafted

Autosomal DNA Boosts DNA Testing

“Because of the power of autosomal DNA, we’ve had a lot of success stories . . . that have made it really apparent to people that a lot of their long-held family mysteries could be solved. People are starting to come out of the woodwork. It’s not just genealogists anymore.”

Bennett Greenspan, CEO of Family Tree DNA said educating customers is his firm’s single largest challenge. “The barrier is making sure [the results] are well understood outside the genealogy world. We’re really in the education business.”

Read the rest: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/40460/title/DNA-Ancestry-for-All/

Jul 7, 2014

Where Did Yiddish Come From

According to the standard view developed by Max Weinreich (1894-1969), Yiddish emerged around 1000 CE when Jews migrating from northern and eastern France settled in the Rhineland of western Germany.

These Jews spoke French with many Hebrew and Aramaic words. When they switched to they kept these words plus some from French, Spanish and Italian.

Judeo-German split into two main dialects: the Western Yiddish of Germany, Holland and Switzerland, and the Eastern Yiddish of Jews who pushed into the Slavic-speaking areas of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. 

Eastern Yiddish incorporated many Slavic words and became the distinct language we know as Yiddish.  Western Yiddish disappeared by the end of the 19th century as social barriers between Jews and gentiles fell.

Now, the problems with this theory.

Linguistically, Yiddish has little in common with the speech of the Rhineland and much more with the German of other regions, such as Bavaria and Austria.  It is hard to square things this with the standard view.

Also, in the year 1000 there were already Slavic-speaking Jewish communities in Eastern Europe that did not come from Germany.

The Jewish population of Germany in the 11th and 12th centuries was no more than 50,000, most of which would have remained where it was. 

The Jewish population of Eastern Europe in 1900, on the other hand, was close to 10 million. There is no way to account for this on the basis of an eastward migration.

Finally, DNA findings indicate that a number of Eastern European Jews are genetically closer to populations in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Iran than to the Jews of Western Europe.

This has led to a revival of the Khazar theory that Eastern European Jewry came from the Turkic tribes of Khazaria, the medieval state between the Black and the Caspian seas which was converted to Judaism.

When Khazaria was destroyed in the 10th century its Jews fled west, multiplying by many times the numbers of Jews in Poland, western Russia and the Baltic states.

And yet, there is no evidence of this. And why should a Turkic-speaking Jewish majority have become Yiddishized any more than a Slavic-speaking one?

Read More: http://forward.com/articles/201243/origins-of-yiddish-are-anything-but-understood/