Speaking at Rootstech Connect

I am speaking at Rootstech Connect (February 25-27), the online conference sponsored by FamilySearch, that has over 500,000 registered attendees. Rootstech started out as a conference focused on the convergence of genealogy and technology, but over the past ten years has become the largest genealogy conference of any kind worldwide. This year’s conference is only online, and will be by far the biggest genealogy conference ever held.

I will be speaking about how best to utilize this site , in particular the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy (the link is available now: Using the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy). Like most of the lectures, mine will be available as video-on-demand, so you can watch it anytime during the 3-day conference, and should also be available for the next year online.

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Ten Year Site Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I posted my first article on this site, then a blog on Google’s Blogger platform. The post itself was thinking aloud about whether to switch genealogy programs from Reunion 9 to Family Tree Maker, which had just been introduced on the Mac for the first time (in case you’re wondering what I decided back then, I’m using Reunion 13 now).

How the first post on this site looked back then (more or less)
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Photos handed down through different family branches

One of the first things I always recommend to those getting started in genealogy is to collect as many family photographs as possible, from the oldest relatives you know, and try to identify everyone in the photographs. There may be a time that you won’t be able to ask who the people in your family photos are, and if you don’t find out who has old family photos, they may end up being thrown out at some point. If you do have a photo, but no way to identify the person or person in the photo, there is an approach you can take that may help you to figure it out.

In one of my earliest posts (Genealogy Basics: Up, Down and Sideways) I describe why it’s important to track down collateral relatives, such as finding all the descendants of your oldest known ancestor. Besides building out your tree, these people may end up knowing more about your common ancestors than you do. Even a small piece of information, such as the town someone was born in, can help break down genealogical brick walls. Similarly, those distant relatives may actually have the same photograph you have, and they may know who is in it.

When I started collecting family photos, my grandfather gave me a set of three large glass slides that his uncle had given him. One slide had two photos on it, of the same family, one with them wearing hats, and one without hats. I had an idea of who was in those family photos, and later confirm it. The other two slides were individual portraits of a man and a woman. I did not know who they were, and neither did my grandfather. This is what the negatives looked like:

The glass negatives
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Updated Immigrant Census Form (1940 added)

For those unaware, this site has a set of genealogy forms that you can fill out on a computer, or print out to be filled out by hand. I find this is a great way to get started with genealogy, and these forms are also helpful for sending out to relatives to be filled out and returned. These forms are designed to work together in useful ways. One form that is particularly useful is the US Immigrant Census Form, which was released all the way back in 2011. This form has fields for the useful genealogy information that you can extract from US Census records during the critical turn-of-the-century period of mass immigration to the US. When the original form was created, the 1940 Census had not yet been released, so it only covered the censuses between 1880 and 1930. This updated form adds a column for 1940.

B&F US Immigrant Census Form v2
B&F US Immigrant Census Form v2
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101 Most Popular Jewish Boys Names in Israel in 2019

After a delay due to COVID-19, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics has released the baby name data for 2019. As I’ve done for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017-2018, I’m posting the top 101 Jewish boys names. These are the most popular names given to Jewish boys born in Israel during 2019. Below you can see the number of boys that were named each name, and the ranking for 2019, as well as 2018 and 2017 for comparison. For number and rankings from earlier years, see the annual posts linked to above. For the parallel girl’s list, see 101 Most Popular Jewish Girls Names in Israel in 2019.

Seven boys names entered the top 101 in 2019, including Aryeh (105 to 81), Asaf (118 to 86), Yaheli (102 to 87), Lenny (131 to 88), Oz (106 to 90), and Tom (103 to 98). The boys names that exited the list were Ophir (81 to 102), Yedidya (87 to 104), Leroi (95 to 108), Yinon (98 to 110), Eyal (74 to 111), Shai (99 to 113), and Adir (97 to 117).

All the columns in the table below can be used to sort the table, so you can sort the table to see the order of ranking for each year, or by the spelling of the name in Hebrew or English. You can also search the table using the search field on the top right of the table.

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