Free Events June 8-22: “Family History Today” at the Center for Jewish History

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From June 8 to June 18, the Center for Jewish History is hosting a myriad of workshops and events for everyone interested in tracing their roots and capturing family memories. All programs are free of charge and open to the public.

We also invite visitors to help us celebrate the newly renovated Ackman & Ziff Genealogy Institute, which provides limitless access to cutting-edge research tools and a comfortable environment for collaboration, study and learning. There will be a full tour of the space on Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m.

Full schedule of events:

Sunday, June 8:

2:00 p.m.
Talk and How-To: Adam Brown on Geni.com Projects

The website Geni.com lets people delving into family histories collaborate and share their challenges and discoveries. Researcher Adam Brown, who has overseen many Geni.com Jewish-themed projects, will demonstrate the huge potential of the site to advance research with examples from Jewish projects currently on Geni.com, such as “Jewish Communities of Krakow, Poland.” He’ll also provide step-by-step instructions in creating and editing Geni projects.

RSVPs recommended. Click here to RSVP via email.

Tuesday, June 10:

7:00 p.m.
Book Conversation at the 16th Street Book Club
My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Family’s Past
Cosponsored by the American Sephardi Federation

The 16th Street Book Club is a lively group that meets to discuss modern Jewish literature. All are welcome to join us for a special genealogy-themed selection, the memoir My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Family’s Past, in which author Ariel Sabar wrestles with his family’s origins in an obscure enclave of Kurdish Jews. RSVP not required but helpful (Mhaier@cjh.org).

This book-club meeting will include an exploration of the Diarna online exhibit that marks the first time that the places and memories of Iraqi-Kurdistan’s Jews are being put on the map. Ezyara: A Journey to Jewish Iraqi-Kurdistan is an homage to the elaborate pilgrimage that Kurdistan’s Jews once made to the al-Qosh shrine of the Prophet Nachum.

In addition to photographs, the exhibit presents an array of virtual documentation—summaries, video tours and interviews, immersive 360-degree panoramas, Google Earth tours—to provide an exclusive window onto a life that is now forever lost. Over 60 years since the last pilgrimage we invite you to experience something of the happiness of Ezyara—made possible with the generous support of the Cahnman Foundation. Learn more at www.JewishKurdistan.org

Wednesday, June 11:

10 a.m-5 p.m
StoryCorps recording sessions

As part of Family History Today, the Center for Jewish History will partner with the renowned national oral-history project StoryCorps to record and preserve visitors’ own family histories.

On June 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., StoryCorps staff will record participants’ personal family memories. These 40-minute recordings will be preserved both at the Center and at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Each interviewee will receive a free CD recording of the conversation. (StoryCorps interviews are typically conversations between two people who know each other. You can bring a friend or family member to participate.)

While space in the StoryCorps sessions is limited to six per day, visitors who are not able to enroll will have the opportunity for a one-on-on consultation with an expert genealogist, free of charge. The Center’s newly opened Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute makes conducting family-history research more accessible than ever.

To submit a request to be a participant in the StoryCorps sessions, please email gievents@cjh.org with your name, contact information, and availability during both June 11 and June 12.

6 p.m.
Meet the Artist: Diane Samuels

Diane Samuels will discuss both of her installations housed permanently at the Center: the celebrated piece that graces the Center’s Great Hall, Luminous Manuscript¸ and the new artwork The Written World.

The Ackman & Ziff Genealogy Institute is home to the spectacular new installation by Diane Samuels, The Written World. Created for the Genealogy Institute, the piece is a wall-sized paper mosaic that forms a global map. Each “tile” of the mosaic is inscribed with a handwritten letter or character from one of dozens of languages collected from users of the Center and represented in its holdings.

7 p.m.
Tour of the Genealogy Institute
Take a full tour of the Center’s newly opened Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute, a comfortable and cutting-edge facility for family history research.

Thursday, June 12:

10 a.m-5 p.m
StoryCorps recording sessions

Please see listing under June 11 for full description. For registered participants. Genealogy experts also available all day for one-on-one consultations with visitors interested in researching their family history.

3:00 p.m.
Genealogy in the collections of the Center’s partner organizations

Discussion led by Moriah Amit, Reference Services Librarian, Genealogy Specialist.

Learn about the enormous wealth of genealogical resources that the Center and its five partners have to offer. These resources are a treasure trove of information about individuals, families and towns. They include family histories, memoirs, newspapers, Jewish community records, records of immigrant aid societies and much more.

Sunday, June 15:

2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Centuries of Surnames: What Names Can Tell Us
Cosponsored by the American Sephardi Federation

Dr. Jeffrey S. Malka, author of the award-winning website SephardicGen, sheds light on the fascinating origins of many Jewish and Sephardic last names, which can be traced directly to the 12th century. These connections tell the story not just of names, but of Jewish history itself.

RSVPs recommended. Click here to RSVP via email.

Monday, June 16:

11:00 a.m.
Our Experts, Your Roots: Consultations with Miriam Weiner and Avrum Geller

Miriam Weiner, a renowned scholar of Jewish genealogy and Holocaust research, and noted genealogical researcher Avrum Geller will consult one-on-one with selected visitors. Email to register to be eligible for this professional family-history consultation.

2:00 p.m. 
Film screening and How-To: The New “Big Bang" In Genealogical Research: Universal Matching of Databases and Family Trees.

How do all those family histories get online? Filmmakers Adam Brown and E. Randol Schoenberg explore the ways digital tools have completely transformed our access to genealogical treasures, and predict what’s next for this exciting technology. They’ll also recommend ways for beginning and advanced genealogists, content providers, and software and web developers to take advantage of these transformative tools.

Tuesday, June 17: 

11:00 a.m.
Our Experts, Your Roots: Consultations with Miriam Weiner and Avrum Geller

Miriam Weiner, a renowned scholar of Jewish genealogy and Holocaust research, and noted genealogical researcher Avrum Geller will consult one-on-one with selected visitors. Email to register to be eligible for this professional family-history consultation.

3:00 p.m.
Be Your Own Archivist: Preserving Family Treasures

How can you save and store irreplaceable artifacts from your own family history? Our highly specialized archivists will take participants through the essential steps of safely storing family photos, multimedia objects, and other precious artifacts—tips they previewed in our series of Preservation Week blog posts.

Wednesday, June 18:

6:30 p.m.
Panel: Ancestors from All Over the World

Want to start diving into your own ancestry? Representatives from the Center’s Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute join the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York, the German Genealogy Group, and the Italian Genealogical Group to provide behind-the-scenes insights into the processes that allow people of any ancestry to quickly and easily search thousands of records. These organizations will also give audience members a sneak peek into their upcoming projects—and how you can take part in them. Moderated by Moriah Amit, Reference Services Librarian and Genealogy Specialist at the Center.

RSVPs recommended. Click here to RSVP via email.

Sunday, June 22nd

11:00 am
Places You May Not Have Looked: Researching Roots in NYC and Beyond
Renowned genealogists Miriam Weiner and Avrum Geller reveal important–but relatively unknown–resources for family-history research. Mr. Geller will focus on lesser-known research tools that focus on the New York area; he’ll also highlight some of his other favorites. Ms. Weiner will talk about a number of websites based in the “old country,” including archival resources, Holocaust institutions and others.

RSVPs recommended. Click here to RSVP via email.

For more information on these events and the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute, please email us at gievents@cjh.org.

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