How to run the next #Scanfest on #Twitter  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , ,

Warning: This has nothing to do with family history except for the fact I propose an interesting way to use Twitter for the next scanfest.

Since I still think that Twitter is just a big single-channel chat room, I thought it might be a great way to run scanfest. For those who don't know, scanfest is the once-a-month multi-user chat event that brings genealogists together as they go through the mundane task of scanning old photos and documents. It's on the last Sunday of every month and usually hosted by @kidmiff (Miriam Robins Midkiff of the Ancestories blog).

In the past scanfest has been run on several platforms with varying success. And here's why I think Twitter will be very successful:

  1. Anyone can join.
  2. No limitation on number of particpants.
  3. Get genealogists more involved in Twitter.
  4. Twitter is searchable and might lead to new relative connections somewhere down the road.
  5. Immediately archived, so if someone is late and want to catch up they can.
  6. People can get updates on their mobile devices even if they can't participate.

Now some of you might think I've lost my mind because the standard Twitter web site is static and requries constant refreshing. But there are some excellent tools out there that will allow for really easy chatting:

  1. Twitterfall - This site really turns twitter into a chat client. The beauty is in the filtering capabilities. If you just add #scanfest to your filter n the left you will only see tweets about scanfest! You can control how quickly the tweets fall down the screen by setting the speed on the right as well as animation effect, theme and other settings. You can retweet, reply, favorite, direct message and follow new users!
  2. Twitpic - A simple photo sharing site for Twitter users. If you want to share one of your recently scanned images, just twitpic it and add the #scanfest tag and everyone can see it!
  3. TweetDeck - Tweetdeck is an Adobe Air Twitter desktop application that lets you monitor several columns of info and apply filters and setting to each one. You can open up a @relpies column to see if someone was replying to you specifically. You can also submit an image to Twitpic right out of TweetDeck as well.

I'm sure there are other methods that can be used, but these are just my initial thoughts. I'm sure Thomas will have something to say about this topic :-)

Well that's it. That was my idea. I have never actually participated in scanfest, because it's on a weekend and during time I usually spend with family, but I thought this would be a great way to do it. And basically this could be a way to do any sort of group chat. The only drawback is that people who post their tweets to facebook might annoy their followers there. But one way to get over that is to use @scanfest at the start of your tweet or some other method to avoid it from updating facebook. I'm just thinking out loud at this point.

What do you think?

BTW, you can follow me on Twitter here: @abba_dad.

7 Generation Surname Wordle  

Posted by Abba-Dad in

I finally got around to doing my Wordle. I started with my daughter and went up 7 generations. I added all the surnames I knew and where there was only a first name I wrote "Unknown". It became a dominant part of the resulting image. There are also a couple of surname changes: Kilchevsky to Dekel and Hytowitz to Hyde.

Here's the result:

It's a very unique mixture of origins in my opinion. Can you tell where my daughter's ancestors are from?

My Paternal Grandmother's Patrilineal Line  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , ,

I guess the one thing that gets me out of a genealogy posting funk is Randy Seaver's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun."

This time we're on a quest to find my paternal grandmother's patrilineal line. That's not only hard to read and say, but kind of confusing to understand. What we're looking for are male ancestors of my dad's grandma. Boy genealogy would be so much easier if we just used regular 4-year old English, wouldn't it?

The challenge is this:

Provide a list of your paternal grandmother's patrilineal line. Answer these questions:

* What was your father's mother's maiden name?

Answer: Hey I know this! My grandmother's maiden name was Zipora Smorgonski - born between 1913-1916 (whenever we asked her when she was born she would say "in the spring") and I just saw that I have no idea when she passed away. It was around 10 years ago on Yom Kippur. I have to ask my dad/uncles.

* What was your father's mother's father's name?

Answer: I know this one as well! My great-grandfather was Avraham Smorgonski - born about 1881, died (murdered during the holocaust) on 29 April 1942. That date unfortunately shows up several times in my family's history.

* What is your father's mother's father's patrilineal line? That is, his father's father's father's ... back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

Answer: This is a little harder to answer but I am happy to say I did the research on this with some help from other JewishGen researchers and have a few great-greats:
2nd great-grandfather: Shlomo Smorgonski - born about 1836 (I still have some work to do to understand the 20 year gap between Shlomo's children - I may have missed a generation?)
3rd great-grandfather: Ruvin Smorgonski - born about 1793, died about 1836.
4th great-grandfather: Movsha Smorgonski

* Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father's mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.

Answer: My grandmother had two sisters, Hanna and Pesia. Her mother, Esther Segalchik died after Pesia was born and her father, Avraham, married her sister, Henia Segalchik. This was quite common back then. They had 4 children (2 boys, 2 girls), but only one son, my grand uncle, Sholomo Shamgar (changed from Smorgonski) survived the holocaust. Shlomo passed away in 2005, but he has a son and a grandson to continue the male Y-DNA paterilinial line.

Result: I have candidates! But I don't know what testing them would give me. There are a lot of "other" Smorgonski's out there that we have not been able to connect with my branch, so maybe that would give us the answer. I'll discuss it on my next trip to Israel.

Thanks again Randy, for your terrific genea-challenge!

Saturday Night Fun - True Confessions of a Dreaming Genealogy Junkie  

Posted by Abba-Dad in ,

Randy Seaver always comes up with something fun to do on Saturday nights. This time it's a list of ten questions for a quick genealogical confession:

1. When did you start genealogy research? (2008 - I am a true newbie but already have a database of almost 10K names. Obviously most are unsourced and not verified - there's a lot of work to do)

2. Why did you start doing research? (I took my daughter on a vacation to Israel and read through a roots project that my sister did over 20 years ago. I always regreted not knowing more about my family history. I thought it would be great if I could put together a family tree for my kid(s) that consisted of both sides of the family. Little did I know that my wife's side would turn out to be GIGANTIC)

3. What was your first big success in research? (Figuring out all the amazing resources out there and using them to build a 16-generation lineage for my kids)

4. What is your biggest genealogy regret? (My grandparents NEVER talked to me about their lives and families before the escaped from Europe. I grew up knowing that everyone was killed by the nazis and I never asked more questions. I wish I had asked, especially on my Dombek side. I plan to interview my grandmother in depth on my next visit)

5. What are you best known for in the genealogy world? (I believe I am a complete unknown at this point)

6. What is your professional status in genealogy? (Not certified but perhaps certifiable. Maybe one day, but I don't see this as a career options for the next couple of decades. I like talking about it with friends and getting them interested)

7. What is your biggest genealogy achievement? (Finding a big network of cousins on both sides and getting them to talk to each other, either after many years of losing touch or never even knowing they existed)

8. What is the most FUN you've had doing genealogy? (Taking my family on a genealogical field trip through the city of Atlanta, tracing my wife's ancestors and seeing the places they lived. I wrote about it in this post)

9. What is your favorite genealogy how-to book? (I don't really read the how-to variety of books. But I am very happy that genealogy has turned me back on to the historical non-fiction genre. Currently reading "The Lost" and on deck are "Defiance" and "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee")

10. What notable genealogist would you like to meet someday? (Randy Seaver, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Deborah Lipstadt and many others)

Well that's it for my confession. Thanks again for the challenging questions, Randy!

"The Hebrew Mamita" Vanessa Hidary (Def Poetry)  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , ,

Part of the reason I started this genealogy quest into understanding and learning about my family history was to try to reconnect with my ancestors who I know nothing about. I know many of them lived through terrible pogroms and hardship and most of them were eventually murdered by their neighbors or the Nazis just because they were Jewish.

Some of my new relatives, who I discovered during my research, send me interesting e-mails from time to time. I found this one to be especially interesting and on point in light of the global resurgence of antisemitism, soft-core holocaust denial as well as full blown denial (to read more on these topics you should definitely go read Deborah Lipstadt's blog).

Well said Vanessa!