Monthly Archives: March 2013

Society Saturday: Introducing the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB)

One of today’s really useful blogging prompts from Geneabloggers – who will be recognising my blog later today (thanks Thomas! I’m already wearing my Geneabloggers badge with pride!) is Society Saturday. I want to use this post to introduce you to JGSGB.

I spend a great deal of my time doing JGSGB things, because I am the JGSGB Education & Mentoring lead.

JGSGB is the UK’s Jewish Genealogical society and seeks to help people tracing their Jewish ancestors. We’re proud to be a member of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, IAJGS.

Our members are those who live here and are tracing their Jewish ancestors in the UK and anywhere else in the world, and those living outside the UK with Jewish ancestors who were here.

If you’re researching your own Jewish Ancestors, please do take a look at the JGSGB website and consider joining us.

So what do I do with JGSGB?

My JGSGB activity involves me in:

• Answering genealogical queries signposted to me from our enquiries team
• Running a monthly education webinar – see the education programme
• Running the JGSGGB Mentoring Programme, matching JGSGB members needing help from a more experienced genealogist to someone who can provide that guidance and assistance.
• Helping to guide the JGSGB Facebook Group
• Tweeting on behalf of JGSGB, you can follow me at @ettenaeJRR
• Helping out behind the scenes with the JGSGB Jewish Ancestors Blog
• Writing a range of genealogy education handouts and other materials which are available in the Members Area of the JGSGB website.
• Sorting out and updating the software on the JGSGB laptop computers

I also write occasional articles for the award winning journal – Shemot and a tutorial for each issue of our quarterly newsletter.

As well as this, I convene JGSGB’s German Special Interest Group, for those researching their families from German-speaking areas, I’m stand manager, leading our presence at WDYTYA-Live! and I represent JGSGB on the oversight group for the International Tracing Service Archive at The Wiener Library.

In addition, I can often be found doing outreach work for JGSGB by giving talks and running workshops, both internally to and externally on behalf of the society. April is going to be a particularly busy month in that respect. Tomorrow afternoon I will be speaking to the JGSGB Midlands Group and my topic is The JewishGen Family Finder – a gateway to worldwide travel? Next week I will be speaking to a synagogue group in Milton Keynes, and the week after that I will speak both to our South East Essex group and I’ll be running another workshop at the Wiener Library. At the end of the month I’ll be speaking to members of the New West End Synagogue.

… and when I have time, I also, very occasionally, spend some time researching my own family tree!

This blog post was published on 30 March 2013 and is © Jeanette R. Rosenberg


Reflections on Rootstech – Rootstech One Week On

Was that ever a busy time? Rootstech was great, and many of the Geneabloggers who were there have written in depth about there visits. I didn’t, my head was quite simply spinning with all that there was to see and do as a genealogist on their first visit to Salt Lake City, and to Rootstech. Now we’ve been home again for almost a week, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on where I’ve been, what I saw, who I met and what I did.

I didn’t spend enough time in the Family History Library. Next time I visit I must spend more time there with my research.

My visit was clearly much to short to spend too much time researching in the library, but nevertheless, I managed to make some significant genealogy research breakthroughs in the part of my family that I know the least about. My research successes were all in the part of my family that didn’t come from Germany, but from Chernivtsi, Ukraine. My paternal grandfather, whom I knew as Opa Markus, was born in Czernowitz, Rumania, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I know very little about his part of my family because records access has, until recently, been much more limited. So I had decided as part of my preparation for the visit to concentrate my research time on the records from there, because they have fairly recently become available after filming by the LDS. I’m still sorting through the copies of records that I located, but I know that my family tree will have grown significantly. Much more importantly, I have now got a few more lastnames to search for than before my visit, this is important, because three of my four Czernowitz Great Great grandparents were born with the lastname Rosenberg!

I should have attended more Rootstech talks, but I didn’t, I spent my time talking to people in the exhibitor hall.

It’s funny, every year that I’ve been to Who Do You Think You Are? Live (WDYTYA-Live!) I’ve always been there as JGSGB’s stand manager, and so have been “tied” to the stand, which has tended to mean that I’ve not been able to attend any of the talks, so being “off duty” and on “on holiday” should have meant that I could go to all (as many) of the talks as I wanted to. In the end, I went to a few of the talks, but spent much of my time taking to exhibitors, many of whom were not the same people as I would meet in London. Next time, I will reverse this and spend more of my time in talks.

Retail therapy – I’d expected to buy more genealogy “stuff”

I was glad to browse my way through the bookstore at the back of the exhibitor hall, but somehow I’d expected more things to buy at the show – books and info-wise. I’d even left space in my suitcase for more purchases, but in the end, my purchases were quite restrained. We didn’t even have excess baggage on the flight home!

This blog post was published on 29 March 2013 and is © Jeanette R. Rosenberg

Rootstech 2013 – My First Impressions


So we’ve reached the end of the first day of Rootstech 2013 and I’m back in my hotel room (briefly) to drop off some of the heavier things from my bag, before heading out again. My head is spinning – there’s been quite a lot to take in today. Overnight we heard that there are 6,700 people registered, and this morning we heard that this figure will grow, because about 2,000 children are coming to join in on the geneafun on Saturday.

I won’t make this blog post a blow-by-blow account of the day, but instead will talk about two sessions that I found particularly interesting.

First, the keynote. I guess before today I’d not consciously appreciated the power of story telling to the extent that I do now. This morning’s keynote session by Syd Lieberman has given me great brain food. Syd told us stories from his own life experience that resonated for me, and have given me lots of ideas for ways that I can do things differently using my own family’s stories.

In my role as a genealogy educator, I invariably use examples drawn from my own experience as illustrations of what can be found in different kinds of records, and to illustrate how genealogy is so much more than names and dates and places. Only having listened to Syd earlier today, do I appreciate the greater power that storytelling can bring in a wider context. My resolution therefore is to go home and to tell some more of the stories from my own family that haven’t yet been told, and to use them and to encourage other people to share their stories also. There are already several stories that are calling out to me to be shared, but of course I recognise the need to do so with great tact, and that there are also some stories where I will need to work sensitively with family members to help and encourage them to share their story.

The other session that I really enjoyed today was the panel session led by Geniaus, aka Australian geneablogger Jill Ball. Jill’s international panel comprised Marie Dougan from Scotland, and Heather Rojo and A.C. Ivory from the USA. Jill led her panel on a journey through “The Genealogist’s Gadget Bag”. The session was an entertaining show and tell about what resources each of the panelists would take with them on a variety of different kinds of geneajourneys. The discussion dealt mainly, but not exclusively with the technology they would use, and provided me with some good ideas for some forthcoming education sessions that I can write. I think that when I have time, the Rootstech syllabus, which can be downloaded free from the Rootstech website, may provide a lot more useful ideas for further education activities once I’m back home again next week, and beyond.

Other highlights of my day at Rootstech were – getting to do a bit of book retail therapy in the exhibitors’ hall, being interviewed by Rosemary Morgan of London Roots Research and finally meeting Dear Myrtle and Mr Myrt, and picking up my blogger beads. Thanks for the beads, I’m wearing them with pride!

This blog post was published on 22 March 2013 and is © Jeanette R. Rosenberg

Planning GerSIG Content for the IAJGS Conference in Boston

One of the many genealogy things I get up to is that I am actively involved with GerSIG, the German-Jewish Special Interest Group at JewishGen. My role is to lead on our group’s arrangements at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ Conference which takes place each summer.

This summer the IAJGS Conference will be held in Boston, from 4 to 9 August. Although the draft programme is not yet up on the Boston conference website, the conference team have been working very hard, and news about which talks have been selected for delivery at then conference is just coming through.

I’m delighted and excited to be able to announce here, as well as via the GerSIG mailing list that our sponsored guest speaker this summer will be Dr Joachim Hahn. Dr Hahn is webmaster of the amazing Alemannia Judaica website. I’ll be posting more about our arrangements for conference soon, but in the meantime, more information about Dr Hahn can be read from his citation on the Obermayer German Jewish History Award website. Dr Hahn was one of the first worty winners of the award, back in 2000, and the citation about him from that time can be read at this link

This blog post was published on 21 March 2013 and is © Jeanette R. Rosenberg

If not now, when?

Ok so there’s never a good time to start writing a blog, and let’s face it, I’ve probably waited longer than I should have done to start this one. I’d promised that I would, when I got the time to do so, after all, I read lots of blogs, and I’m frequently found on Facebook, and I also tweet, so why not a blog?

So I finally got around to it, (yes, I know that’s the name of the blog…). When? right in the crazy-busy week just before the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! genealogy show, during the busiest genealogy week of the year in London. Could there ever have been a crazier time for me to start the blog than then? Probably not.

Anyway, I started, very quietly, because my plan was to have it all up and running in time for well – just about now, and WDYTYA-Live! came, and went again, and then life got a bit overtaken by events, and well here I am sitting in a hotel in Salt Lake City, just about a month later not having posted anything else.

So here we go – in at the deep end with another first – this is my first visit to Salt Lake City. I arrived here a few days ago and have spent a little time in the Family History Library, (more about that another time), but the main purpose of my visit here this week is to attend Rootstech which starts tomorrow.

After registration earlier today we spent the rest of the evening in the company of Geneablogger royalty, (You all know who you are!) and I promised you, perhaps rather rashly, that I would go back to my hotel and blog a bit more and then unleash the blog to the masses. Geneabloggers, here I come. I can only hope that this blog will be a worthy addition to your number!

I also promise not to use too many more partial Rabbinic quotations in my blog.


This blog post was published on 21 March 2013 and is © Jeanette R. Rosenberg

Fearless Females – Who I am named for

I am named Jeanette Rosa. How could I have been called anything other than Jeanette?
One of my Dad’s Grandmothers was called Jeanette, and one of my Mum’s Grandmothers was called Jeanette.
Somehow being named after a great grandmother from either side of the family seems well, just right.

I was always told when I was a child that, if I had been a boy, I would have been called David. To me, that’s weird, because there is nobody called David anywhere in my close family.

My Grandmother Rosa died in the Holocaust. My middle name is Rosa in honour of her. Oma Rosa has no known grave. Instead, she has a Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem.

The link below goes direct to the page of testimony about Oma Rosa which was submitted by my uncle. I remember being shocked when I first found the POT, because before seeing it, I had never seen Oma Rosa’s photo. Link to POT for Oma Rosa

This blog post was published on 3 March 2013 and is © Jeanette R. Rosenberg

Neugarten One-Name Study

A particular area of interest for me as far as my genealogy goes is my research into the Neugarten family. I have a One-Name Study for this research which is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies. If your lastname is Neugarten or you are a descendant of someone with that last name, please visit my Neugarten Guild profile page.


The Neugarten family so far…

10 Generations in the main family tree, with 974 descendants from our Stammvater Samuel, who lived in the 1700s.
We live in 25 different countries around the world and in 21 different states of the USA.
Descendants of Stammvater Samuel now hold 282 different surnames.
I am a descendant in this family tree.

There is another Neugarten family tree who come from the same location in Germany as our Neugarten family.
So far I have traced 276 of them over 8 generations, and into 5 different countries.
I’ve not yet found any link between the two families, but I’m pretty sure that I will, eventually!

There are also a number of smaller Neugarten family trees that I am still working on, and which I know will join up with one or other of the two trees already mentioned.

Neugarten Surname Varieties:

Sometimes Neugarten family members change their name, this can be for a variety of reasons. Neugarten varieties found so far are:

Neugarten – Nagan – Newgard – Nugan – Najgarten

We also differ in pronunciation: New-Garten and Noi-Garten, but these differences in pronunciation are mainly a factor of geography.

This blog post was published on 3 March 2013 and is © Jeanette R. Rosenberg