Thursday, August 16, 2018

IAJGS2018 - Part 2

This is my second post about my time at IAJGS2018.  You can read other posts I've made from this and other IAJGS conferences here.

Sunday evening, I went to Umschlagplatz, from which over 250,000 Jewish Warsaw residents were deported to death camps.
Umschlagplatz in Warsaw

Monday morning started early, at 8AM.  I was fully armed with a large cup of coffee.  The first two talks were DNA-related.  First, Adam Brown spoke about the huge Avotaynu Project he is doing, concentrating on Y-DNA.

Adam Brown
Adam and his collaborators have compiled a large number of Jewish-specific y lineages.  While many Ashkenazim have tested (he concentrates on Big-Y results), they represent a small percentage of y lineages, while Sephardim have significantly more diversity. His project shows that Jews are a varied group, but that there are connections between unconnected families across the world, including crypto Jewish communities.  If you have taken a Big-Y test, join the project, and Adam can help you understand how you fit into the larger Jewish community genetically.
Right before my endogamy talk.  That's a lot of people!
Next up, I spoke about endogamy.  Large room, lots of people.  It was recorded, and if you buy On-Demand, you can watch this talk and 39 others.

Then I took a genealogy break.  I was waiting for my Uber when someone approached.  It turns out this woman, Irina, was featured in a previous blog of mine (or at least her DNA was)!  Last August, I was looking at one specific large segment shared by several groups of people from geographically disperse locations.  One of the groups I mentioned was a woman and her father, with roots in Berdichev.  That woman was Irina.
Me & Irina

She ended up joining me on my outing, and we went to Łazienki Park & Palace.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful setting.
In Łazienki Park
We rushed back to get to another talk, but the speaker was a no-show, which was very disappointing.  But soon after, I went to a talk by Maciej Wzorek of the POLIN Museum, who talked about Passport Documentation from Interwar Period.
Learning about passport documentation from Maciej Wzorek
The POLIN Museum is digitizing and putting online many passports and associated documentation.  The earliest one they have was issued by German occupational authorities during WWI. These documents generally contain photographs and personal descriptions as well as genealogical information.

The collection continues to intra-war passports. Some of these give a place of immigration as well, when applicable.  Some passports contain reemigration cards. Many have visa stamps. While most passports are for an individual, some passports cover a family and contain family photos.

There are also passport applications, many of which contain photos, sometimes when no passport is found in the archive. Birth certificate abstracts are sometimes found as well to prove a person’s birth information as part of the passport application process. Before issuing the passport, a Qualification Certificate was issued. These have a lot of information and usually a photo as well.

There are also lists of issued passports, even if the archive doesn’t have all the above attachments or photos.  These still have some good information, including date and place of birth and place of travel.

There are other types of documents in the collection, such as certificates for Russian immigrants.  Interrogation transcripts for potential immigrants contain valuable personal (and sometimes genealogical) data.

These types of documents can fill in gaps for missing civil records and give more insight into new directions for archival research. They also give more insight into the lives of these people.

One feature of this year's IAJGS conference was that there were receptions each evening with (kosher!) food.  This evening, there were pierogis and latkas, among other things.
Pierogis and latkas.  Yum!
After that, I went out to dinner with my fifth cousin once removed (yes, you read that right) and his genealogist wife.  The seabass was really good, although it still had its head and tail attached.

More to come; stay tuned!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Putting faces to names in new places & trying tasty kosher foods & seeing new places --- ALL good!

  2. What are sources of information about families in and around Pultusk that are not located on JRI Poland.

    1. You may want to ask that on the JewishGen Poland mailing list.