Recent Posts

06 March 2021

Online genealogy, March 8-14

Our weekly roundup of upcoming genealogy events. Numerous associations offer online genealogy classes every week. Most are free. To register for one of the events below, click on the name of the host organization.

CGS Events:

March 13: Monthly Board Meeting. All welcome.
March 14
:
"The Story Behind Shanghai Angel (Love, Detention, Lies)" by Heather and Jeff Klein

Conferences & Workshops 

March 11: DNA Bootcamp (Family Tree Academy UK)

March 12-13: 2021 Winter Virtual Genealogy Conference (Family Tree Magazine University)

March 13: 15th Annual Family History Seminar featuring Nicka Smith (Greater Sacramento African American Genealogy Society)

March 13: Swiss and German Research: 2021 Virtual Spring Seminar with Daniel Jones (Ohio Chapter of the Palatines to America German Genealogical Society) 

American Ancestors

March 11: "Kitchen Explorations: Favorite Passover Recipes" by Michael Leviton

March 12: "Old House Do's and Don'ts" by Carissa Demore

BYU Family History Library

March 10: "The Following Feature in FamilySearch Family Tree" by Kathryn Grant

Legacy Family Tree

March 9: "Using different family tree views for your research" by Uri Gonen
March
10 & 11:
"
Researching Ancestral Locations in Prussian Genealogy Records" by Nancy E. Loe

Other Listings

Sutro Library's Bay Area Genealogy Calendar
lists a wealth of Bay Area events and exhibits, including regular genealogical group meetings. This week's highlights:

March 8: "The Records Behind the WWI Draft Registrations" by Susan Goss Johnston (Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society)

March 10: "Nuestra America: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation" by Claudio Lomnitz (San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society)

March 13: "Three Coins: A True Story about Kidnappings, Slavery, and Romance in San Francisco's Chinatown" by Russell Low (Oakland Asian Cultural Center)

March 13: "The Sonoma County Archives: One of the Most Important and Endangered Repositories of Local History" by Katherine Rinehart

March 14: "Street Names and Numbers: Grid Changes, Renaming, and More" by Thomas MacEntee (San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society)

Conference Keeper has a large calendar of classes (too many to list) hosted by genealogical organizations around the country and abroad. Lots to explore, and new events are added often, so be sure to browse the entire calendar. Here's a sampling of the coming week's offerings:

March 8: "Family Tree DNA Family Matching Tool" (North of Ireland Family History Society)

March 9: "The fate of Holocaust victims in Yad Vashem's documentation and projects" (JewishGen)

March 9: "Using Your DNA to Connect to Your Irish Roots" (New York Genealogical and Biographical Society)

March 10: "The Queer History of the Suffrage Movement" (Connecticut Historical Society)

March 11: "We're Related to George Washington? Proving (or Disproving) Family Stories" by Gena Philibert-Ortega (Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society)

March 13: "Melancholia or Mania: Researching the Mental Health of Our Ancestors" (Victoria Genealogical Society, British Columbia)

March 13: "Irish Famines and Emigration - Before, During and After the Great Hunger" (Irish Genealogical Society International)

March 14: "Research Jewish Genealogical Resources on the Internet" (Santa Cruz Jewish Genealogy Society)


See our post "Genealogy Learning in the Time of Coronavirus" for links to classes archived online at Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsTech, and more. Be well, stay safe, and happy learning!

Copyright © 2021 by California Genealogical Society

27 February 2021

Online genealogy, week of March 1-7


Our weekly roundup of upcoming genealogy events. Numerous associations offer online genealogy classes every week. Most are free. To register for one of the events below, click on the name of the host organization.

CGS Events:

March 2-30: "19th-Century Irish Records" with Maureen Hanlon
March 6: "Intro to Genealogy" Series. This month: Vital Records

Conferences & Workshops 

March 2-23: Freedoms and Challenges: America’s Earliest Jewish Communities, 1650–1840 (American Ancestors)

March 3-31: History for Genealogists (American Ancestors)

March 6: 8th Annual Genealogy Bash (Orange County California Genealogy Society)

March 6: Alabama Genealogical Society 2021 Spring Webinar: The Rencher System


American Ancestors

March 2: "Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob" by Russell Shorto

BYU Family History Library (Sunday Classes)

March 7: "Duplicates in Family Tree," "DNA Testing," and "Finding Your Ancestors in Denmark"

Legacy Family Tree 

 

March 2 & 3:  "British Genealogy Online: The Top English & Welsh Family History Sites" by Rick Crume
March 3
:
"
La Madre Chiesa - Italian Catholic Parish Records" by Suzanne Russo Adams

March 5: “The Ten Percent: Free People of Color” by Nicka Smith

Southern California Genealogical Society

March 6: "Alcoholics and Teetotalers: Finding Yours in America’s Temperance" by Michael Brophy

Other Listings

The San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar lists a wealth of Bay Area events and exhibits. This week:

March 6: “Reclaim the Records: How Genealogists Can Use Freedom of Information Laws” with Brooke Schreier Ganz (Solano County Genealogical Society)

Conference Keeper has a large calendar of classes (too many to list) from beginning to advanced, hosted by various genealogical organizations. Lots to explore, and new events are added often, so be sure to browse the entire calendar. Here's a sampling of the coming week's offerings:

March 1: "Researching Your Irish Ancestors" (Kentucky Genealogical Society)

March 2: "Roots of Jews in Italy: Names and History" (JewishGen)

March 3: "Finding Dirk: Insanity in the 19th Century" (Minnesota Genealogical Society)

March 4: "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." (WCNY/Onondaga Historical Association)

March 5: "Scottish Research Basics" (Wales-Ireland-Scotland-England Family History Society)

March 6: "How Old Did He Have To Be?" (Bucks County PA Genealogical Society)

March 7: "Black Genealogy: Where Am I From" (Ancestry Talks UK)

 

See our post "Genealogy Learning in the Time of Coronavirus" for links to classes archived online at Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsTech, and more. Be well, stay safe, and happy learning!

Copyright © 2021 by California Genealogical Society

26 February 2021

Reanimating the past - or the present - or the future?

If you wander around social media, you may have seen in the last few days a couple of viral videos posted on a TikTok account called @deeptomcruise. They have gained attention because the manipulated video really does look and sound like Tom Cruise, at least enough so that it could easily pass muster with those not looking too deeply. 

Fake Tom Cruise does a magic trick

No word yet on who's making these videos--although the "deeptomcruise" name seems intended both to acknowledge and to warn viewers that this is what is called a "deepfake" video, which uses a form of artificial intelligence to create what seem to be real videos, depicting real people doing and saying things they never said or did

A few years ago, a Slovakian citizen living in the Czech Republic set up a YouTube channel called "Ctrl Shift Face" where he posted a series of manipulated videos he said were meant to demonstrate the potential and the danger of faked videos. They included swapping Jim Carrey in for Jack Nicholson in "The Shining," or superimposing Sylvester Stallone as the kid in "Home Alone." What gained the most attention was a video that showed actor Bill Hader slowly morphing into Tom Cruise as he chatted with a late-night talk show host.

An old photo and its animation via MyHeritage

So what does this have to do with genealogy? Well, coincidentally a few days ago MyHeritage released a new app called Deep Nostalgia™, which uses technology to animate the faces in still photos. Last year MyHeritage introduced a technology for colorizing old black & white family photos. Now you can make the people in those photos smile, blink, and move their heads. 

Results are mixed, with users describing the effect as anything from "amazing" to "creepy." (Apparently it's most creepy when seen on photos of people you knew in life.) 

Is this a good thing? A bad thing? While many pundits have sounded dire warnings about the potential for  deepfake technology being used to defraud or manipulate, it's possible that this will just become another effect we're accustomed to. The special effects of earlier movies are obviously fake to modern eyes. Meanwhile, historically-minded filmmakers already have enhanced old film clips by slowing frame speed, colorizing them, and adding sound, as in the famous "A Trip Down Market Street" from 1906, or Peter Jackson's 2018 documentary "They Shall Not Grow Old," made using film clips from World War I. As genealogists, we are always looking for ways to reanimate the past. Perhaps this is just the newest technology in our toolkit.

Copyright © 2021 by California Genealogical Society


23 February 2021

An extraordinary find for Jewish records

A memorial register of Jewish burials turned up for auction in Brooklyn

The New York Times
this week reported that several rare documents scheduled for auction were withdrawn after being spotted by a genealogy researcher. They included bound burial records for the Romanian towns of Cluj-Napoca and Oradea, whose Jewish residents were nearly all murdered by Nazis during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jews perished in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during the Holocaust.

The Cluj-Napoca register, handwritten in Hebrew and Yiddish, was spotted online by a genealogy researcher who alerted Robert Schwartz, president of the Jewish Community of Cluj.

“Usually if a person dies, he is remembered by his community and his family,” University of Cluj professor Zoltan Tibori Szabo told the Times. “But in the case of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Eastern Europe, there was nothing left of them — even their documents were robbed and disappeared. You cannot reconstitute the history of a community without documents. We don’t even have a list of their names.” Thanks to the genealogist who noticed the records for sale in the online auction catalogue, a bit of this history may be reclaimed.

You can read the original New York Times article HERE

Copyright © 2021 by California Genealogical Society

22 February 2021

Personalized Zoom Tutorials available!


Have you been missing out on our online classes? (Or other online events?) If you feel you need a bit of extra help getting started with all that CGS has to offer online, we are available for personalized tutorial sessions. We can talk by phone, walk you through Eventbrite registration, a Zoom practice session, and provide support during your first event if needed. Email events@californiaancestors.org 



Copyright © 2021 by California Genealogical Society