Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Win a Free Trip to Your Family's Homeland

I don't post a lot of commercial links in my blog, except if it is to an offer for a discount I think would benefit my readers. I'm making an exception here, because, well, I think its pretty cool. Many people who research their own genealogy would love to go visit the countries where their families came from, but cannot afford to do so. However, if someone paid for your trip, you'd probably go, right?

The TV show Who Do You Think You Are? is coming back for a third season this week, and Ancestry.com (who is a sponsor of the show) is launching a sweepstakes offering free trips to three winners to go back to their ancestral homelands and uncover their family's histories. United States residents only, sorry to my many readers in other countries. They value this prize at $10,000 for each winner. The prize includes a trip for two to the winner's homeland, hotels and $2,000 cash, a six-month World Explorer membership to Ancestry.com and an Ancestry.com  DNA test. No mention of any professional help when you get to your ancestral homeland - that would have been a nice touch...

One thing I need to say. Six months, really? Sorry, as much as I like the idea of the trip, what's with the six month membership? You're giving away a $10,000 prize and you can't spring for a full year membership which costs you nothing? They don't even offer six month subscriptions on their web site - a year costs $300/year and a month-to-month subscription costs $35/month.

In addition, 20 other people will win six-month World Explorer subscriptions. I guess that's valued at $150? ($149.70 according to the rules I just looked at...)

Anyways, to enter the contest, you can click on the image below. I think you need to sign up for a free Ancestry.com account, which means they can e-mail you, etc. as part of the deal, but it doesn't cost any money to enter.

Oh, and if you win, I expect a write-up of your trip to post here on this blog. That's fair, right?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Genealogy Society in Israel (and major new website)

Earlier this month a new genealogy society launched in Israel, called the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). They are taking a new approach, with a large focus on their online presence, genealogy.org.il, which they are positioning to become a major hub of both Israeli and Jewish genealogy. In these days where so much genealogy research happens online, this new society is starting with the idea that their online presence is the center of the society's work, and is working to make their site useful not only for those in Israel researching their families, but for people around the world who have connections to Israel, or even those who can take advantage of the many unique archives in Israel that have records of interest to Jewish genealogists worldwide.

The Israel Genealogy Research Association was founded by some of the leading genealogists in Israel (including three past presidents of the Israel Genealogical Society, current and past members of the IAJGS board, and contributors to the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy), and you can expect that there will be a lot of great content on the site as time goes on (in addition to the great stuff already there). There are resource guides for different countries, videos of lectures, and live webinars are coming soon.

Some of the founders of the new society include, in alphabetical order:
  • Rose Lerer Cohen, co-author of The Holocaust in Lithuania 1941–1945: A Book of Remembrance, past editor of Sharsheret Hadorot and professional genealogist.
  • Rose Feldman, who ran the IGS website for nine years. She has lectured at IAJGS conferences, annual seminars of the IGS and their branch meetings. She will be responsible for developing databases for the new society.
  • Daniel Horowitz, chief genealogist of MyHeritage.com and member of the IAJGS Board of Directors. See his Resource Guide on Jewish Research in Latin America (free registration required).
  • Martha Lev-Zion, past member of the IAJGS Board of Directors, founder and president of the Negev Genealogical Society and past president of the Latvia SIG of JewishGen.
  • Esther Ramon, founding president of the Israel Genealogical Society and first editor of Sharsheret Hadorot.
  • Garri Regev, past president of the Israel Genealogical Society.
  • Jean-Pierre Stroweis, past president of the Israel Genealogical Society and member of the academic committee of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy. See his Resource Guide for researching Jewish Ancestors in Poland (free registration required), as well as a video of him being interviewed (in French) about genealogy in Israel on the web site.
  • Mathilde Tagger, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), member of Founding Committee of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy, author and lecturer on Sephardic genealogy.
  • H. Daniel Wagner, co-chair of the 2004 IAJGS conference held in Jerusalem, member of Academic Committee of International Institute for Jewish Genealogy. See his new article Passover Break - Fifth Episode (free registration required) on the web site.
This is only a partial list of the founding members of the new society. I have also been involved in the creation of the society's web site, genealogy.org.il, which explains a bit while my posts to this blog have slowed down lately.

If you have any interest in Israeli genealogy, or even just Jewish genealogy, I suggest checking out the new site (genealogy.org.il) and registering to insure you receive updates on what is going on on the site.

If you use Facebook (facebook.com/israelgenealogy) and/or Twitter (twitter.com/israelgenealogy) I also recommend you follow the new society through those services as well. The new group tries its best to answer questions on the Facebook page, and sents out links to interesting resources through its Twitter account on a regular basis.

So do me a favor and go to genealogy.org.il, register for the site, take a look around, and let me know what you think in the comments below. Think the site needs to be improved? How? Think it's great? awful? groundbreaking? boring? Let me know.

Want to contribute something to the site? Send me an e-mail, or send a note through the site's Contact Us page.