Friday, November 3, 2017

Reflecting on Finding Family, Retracing my Genealogy Journey on Social Media

I started exploring social media with bevmargo accounts on Facebook (FB), YouTube, Twitter,.... Now, I am reflecting back on my genealogy quest, trying to remember how it started, the twists and turns, surprises, discoveries, over the years. Here is my list broken down into 5 major areas to reconstruct my searches and successes.  I've come a long way.
Tracking my Genealogy Journey:
1.  JewishGen: Family Finder bulletin board - posted surnames & towns, since ~2000
  • 2011 triple success story published JewishGen testimonials page Jan. 2011
    • Marc Ast photo of Abramowitz family matches my Henry Abramowitz
    • Marc Gelkopf - found him by revisiting old JewishGen emails for missed clues.
    • Yael Michaeli  - finds me in her first week on JewishGen - She sends me a photo, which unbelievably was my brother's Bar Mitzvah picture.
  • 2015 - Mary Fay Emanuel contacted me - another Gelkopf in Australia 
  • 2017 - Recently: Stephane Gehlkopf  found me through JewishGen, his first week, like Yael, July 2017. He connected me to Sylvie who lives between NYC, Florida & Paris.&  I met her for lunch in NYC.
2.  Sharing & Gaining Followers on Social Media - since 2008
  • Facebook:  added photos, videos, documents to genealogy albums. (> dozen albums).
    My niece Danielle reconnected with Larry Bugaisky.
  •  added videos: ~20 videos, including a dozen digitized and extracted from the 4-hour Steven Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah VCR tapes for my mom, dad & uncle.
  • Followers on YouTube, Twitter, Blogspot - at IAJGS Tammy Hepps referred to this as cousin bait, posting content that attracts cousins.
    • Twitter - Remy Binsztok from Paris 9/17/2014 - random follower
    • Blog & YouTube - Erwan Grandais  - 3/30/2015 Erwan found my TonTon videos and subscribed to my Youtube channel & also commented on my Blog - DNA started with Y-test & Mt  11/2011 - added autosomal FF 2016.
I suspected Marilyn Binstock was a cousin.  We share personality traits and our dads look like brothers in photos!  Marilyn's dad & my brother Claude took the Y test to confirm our connection with a distance of 0, which means that our grandfathers or great grandfathers were brothers.
4. Family Tree Smart Matching - joining other family trees & networking with other genies who share common branches,  since 2011.  Be wary, any wrong info will get propagated to many other Trees.
5. Traditional Classic Research Methods
  • Conversations 
    • 1/2013 confirmed cousins with Diane - based on my brother Claude remembering visiting Konkowski from Canada.
    • discovered Liliane Stzrausberg based on conversations with Diane.  Diane kept talking about "asking her cousin Liliane". One day I asked who she was & discovered she was the Strausberg cousin I had been seeking, on Diane's tree....just waiting for me to pay attention.
  • Research & Records
    • BMD records - found on Jri-Poland & Jewishgen - ordered from PSA- 2008-09 Gielkop marriage, ggpa Kiva Dawidiowicz marriage, gpa Shmul Dawidowicz birth
    • USHMM onsite visit 8/2011 - searched ITS & DP archive records
      • discovered my dad's cousin Maurice as Mordka Binsztock -  I recognized the  Paris address as my dad's apartment! My dad documented dates, names, places. However, could not locate living kin.....
      • until REMY !!!!  a Binsztok from Paris follows me on Twitter 9/2014
      • Red Cross ITS Tracing - provided me with Robert Binsztock birth record, son of Mordka. He was deported and murdered at age 8.
      • Columbia U - onsite visit to view shoah videos in  usc archive   8/2011- discovered Israel Binsztok from Bedzin - with 3 sons in Florida
  •  Meetings in-person and Face-Time 
    • FB face-time / video-chats with Yael, Stephanne, Quentin Schneigeiger
    • my sister Simone & niece Danielle went to Israel to meet Gelkopf cousins, Rosalyn & MarcSimone also went to Australia to meet other Gelkopfs - Mary Emanuel
    • met Sylvie in NYC

Monday, October 2, 2017

"Boot-up....Now" has been accepted as a member of GeneaBloggersTRIBE

So excited to be featured as a new member of GeneaBloggersTRIBE 

I am now listed among the ~3,000  blogs on their members page:
To find me in the list just enter Shoah, Holocaust, or Facebook as search terms. Mine is the only Blog that is returned. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

My FACEBOOK Presentation at IAJGS 2017

I recently received the recording of my session from the June 2017 International Association of Jewish Genealogy (IAJGS) conference   In my Facebook for Collaborative Family History Research presentation I share the Facebook albums I created, the photos, documents, videos I posted and the discussions and discoveries they generated.

The recording is 55 minutes long, too big to upload to YouTube. I will be extracting and sharing 1-minute portions here.   So, please check back to this post.  I will post excerpts like I did with the 3 hour Steven Spielberg videos on my youtube/bevmargo channel.

1-Minute Video clips extracted from my Facebook presentation:

  1. This video clip describes connecting with my cousin Yael through  and a photo.

    2. In this next Facebook video clip, my mom describes seeing her little sister Henny for the first time after 7 years. She describes how confused my Tata Henny was, just learning that she was Jewish in 1945. She was 2 years old when she was sent to Switzerland. She grew up with the name Evi and parents who loved her.  She only discovered the truth of who she really was after liberation and a 1-year custody battle.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Kaplan's 105th Reunion in upstate NY

August 2017 was the 105th Kaplan's Farm cousins reunion in Fleischmans NY.    It's nice to have a central place in the country for the great-grandchildren of Israel Isaac and Leah Kaplan to gather on Little Red Kill Road, Fleischmanns, NY. My mother-in-law was Elaine Kaplan. Cousin Ellis Tobin wrote an article 5 years ago for the 100th anniversary reunion in

I wonder if I had a reunion to meet my cousins found in diaspora..... Australia, France, Israel, Belgium, London, US, Canada... where would we hold it, what would be an easily accessible central location?  Israel & France are central to US and Australia. Some day ...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

IAJGS 2017 - International Assoc of Jewish Genealogy Annual Conference -

This was my 2nd time attending the IAJGS conference, my first time as a presenter. My Facebook for Collaborative Family History Research  was well attended. One attendee asked me why I did not use Facebook groups for storing my albums. I wish I knew about them when I started with Facebook back in 2008. 

Some highlights from IAJGS sessions I attended:

Tammy Hepp's session, Cousin Bait, described ways to lure & respond to family with social media. I have been successful with this, since this blog & my YouTube channel were both instrumental in allowing unknown cousins to find me: Erwan Grandais found my video of TonTon.  Tammy found photos of her family on Flicker, with Google. I googled "Bienstock family" and discovered  Another Google search format to try: " keyword ". 

Linda Levy presented on Jewish Joint Distribution Committee;  holds 80,000 index cards for 1945 Displaced Persons camps.  1914-74 is searchable online. I learned that the Dominican Republic accepted 700 Jewish refugees during the Shoah.  Alaska Airlines was responsible for airlifting of 50,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel, in Operation Magic Carpet. Operation Salomon, May 1991, rescued 14,500 Ethiopian Jews.

In How to Preserve your Research – Merle Kastner described how anecdotes and photos bring dry historical details to life. She creates spiral-bound family tree books, to give as gifts at family reunions, baby namings, unveilings.  I took  Emily Garber's advice from her talk on BLOGs & submitted my blog to her genealogy blog list on . Now my blog is listed on .

In Keys to Involving Students, Jeff Schrager discussed how he motivates teenagers in a 3-week Genealogy program. He uses storytelling to connect events & to tie genealogy to any subject – inherited disease, history, writing. Because genealogy has a start, but no end he teaches students context and focus. The earlier they start the more ancestors are alive to interview.   

Friday, July 7, 2017

Stephane: Another lost cousin finds me

Yesterday I got an unexpected email inquiry from Stephane of Paris.  He described his grandfather Wilhelm Gehlkopf from Elberfeld. His great grandfather Abel had a brother Schelemen and  a sister Maryjem.  Maryjem is my great grandmother: my mothers paternal grandfather Kiva was married to Maryjem Gielkop.  I knew immediately from what Stephane shared in his email that we were related. I confirmed the relationship. It was Stephan's 2nd week researching his tree.  I 've been searching for decades!  He found me through an email I sent his grandfather more than a year ago, 2/2016.

I made the first connection to my mom's Gehlkopf cousins in 2011. Thankfully my mom was still alive to discover I found the Gelkop cousin she was searching for since she left France in 1950's.

Today I met Stephane and his wife Valerie via Video chat through Facebook.  I am hoping to add him as a Facebook friend so I can introduce him to the other Gehlkopf family and share photos

Saturday, May 13, 2017

My 1st Yom HaShoah Speech at local high school

Last April,  I launched the Speaker's Bureau  at BCC's Center for Peace, Justice, Reconciliation.  My main motivation was to give a voice to the 2nd & 3rd generation of genocide survivors as the original survivors age and dwindle.  Only descendants of survivors can tell the stories with the same passion as their elders, having lived it through their parents/ grandparents. Telling survivor stories captivates the students' attention. A lecture given by a professor will not share the same energy.

Although I have spoken to students at BCC a couple times,  this year was the first time we had an outside request from a local high school. I had the honor of presenting for Yom HaShoah  (4/24/2017) at Passaic County Tech for ~50 students.   During my 90-minute presentation, I showed my mom's video testimonial about her escape from Germany and also told stories from my dad, and uncle;   about their survival, from Paris to Ceyroux.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Anti-Israel Propaganda prevents Peace

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Martin Luther King.

To read some useful articles on Israel & the Palestinians:
These sites describe the myths & lies propagated by Pro-Palestinian / Anti-Israel hate groups such as SJP, BDS, & JVP.
SJP, Students for Justice in Palestine, their motto is From the river to the sea Palestine will be free - their goal is the same as that of the Nazis during the Holocaust, a land that is Judenfree -free of Jews.   BDS, Boycott, Divest, Sanctions, it promotes the boycott of Israeli goods. This was a Nazi tactic, Jewish business were boycotted during the Shoah!
To understand Palestinian PROPAGANDA Warfare, we need to expose their deceitful Language: 
PALESTINE - There is no such country.  Palestine was the name for the land of Israel prior to 1948 British Mandate of Palestine.   The mandate divided the land between Israel & Jordan, 2 states, with Jordan getting 77%.  
Original flag of Palestine 1939 (re. ) :

The current Arab Palestinian flag is nearly identical to Jordan's flag.  Can you tell the difference?
Arab Palestinians use the terms  "occupation" & "settlers" to describe the Jews of Israel /Palestine.  The truth is that Israel is the Jewish birthright and Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel.   There is scientific evidence to back this up: DNA and archeological artifacts.   Arab Palestinians have even accused Israel of Apartheid.  This is so absurd, since Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East. Arabs citizens of Israel have full rights.   

When Israel became a state in 1948
700,00 Arabs living in Israel were instructed by their Arab leadership to flee, since the Arab states were planning a military attack.  These Arabs were told by their leaders that they would have the "right of return" after Israel was destroyed.   At the same time 800,000 Jews living in Arab countries were forced to flee as their homes & property was forcefully confiscated.  Those Jewish refugees  became Israeli citizens.  The Arabs who chose to leave Israel became refugees and are still living as refugees to this day! 

Here is a NEW Term:
PALLYWOOD - a term for the orchestrated Palestinian-Hamas propaganda theatrical campaign by the Arab media.  Here is an example
To learn more, watch some of the PRAGER University education videos on YouTube.  

Here is a sample:

You could also read the book by Brigitte Gabriel, "Because They Hate", or listen to Alan Dershowitz, author of "The Case for Israel".


Thursday, March 9, 2017

my Facebook for Genealogy workshop -past, present, future - IAJGS '17

My proposal to present Facebook for Genealogy was accepted, again. This time I will be presenting at the International Assoc for Jewish Genealogy in July.  I have presented this workshop several times before, for Bergen Community, NJEdge, and my local genealogy group In searching for materials to reuse I found a video online of my first 45-minute session for NJEdge 2013.

This 1-minute video clip describes how finding a single document from US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) helped me discover a key missing piece of my family tree.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Delivering my Speech in French - a feat for sore ears

Luce Petitjean sent me the DVD of the ceremony. Luce, who works in the mayor's office in Ceyroux, was instrumental in the planning of the event in the Ceyroux town hall on 12/4.   In the midst of all the chaos on that day, with all the last-minute details as people were arriving, within minutes of the ceremony starting,.... she took the time to help me translate my speech. This was especially difficult since some of my English phrases were complicated and did not translate well into French. 

For example I planned to say "the story of Ceyroux was ingrained in my brain". I don't think the French use that expression. Some of what I was trying to express, was confusing to Luce, to understand what I meant.  My sentences were a disordered mess. There was no elegant 1-for-1 translation.  The last-minute nature of this exasperated both of us. Luce was in a hurried state, putting out the champagne, posting the photos on display,,... etc...  While I was panicked because my yet-to-be-translated speech was locked in the office.   The only calm one was the Scottish Simonnet son who was also helping us.

The French words and phrases I was comfortable with & could easily pronounce were sometimes traded for a more proper version.  I was prepared to say "my dad told me the story of Ceyroux" as "mon pere m'a dit....". Luce changed this familiar, easy to pronounce phrase to "mon pere m'a parler".  Were those extra syllables really necessary? LOL. I do not know the subtleties of the language.  What was the difference between "dad told me" vs. "dad talked to me". 

In the end, I did not have time to practice using these French phrases. So it was clumsy and my accent was painful to listen to.  I should have apologized to the audience.  Luckily, Luce & Mr. Benguigui were at my side to help when I got stuck midway.

The DVD allowed me to replay the ceremony.  I played a portion of my speech for my family. When my son heard it he agreed it was really bad,....  & he heard the good part.    Although I regret not being better prepared, I did say most of what I intended. I thanked the families: the Simonnet, Parcelier, & Daquet families. I thanked my niece Danielle for making the visit 5 years ago which  facilitated the submission process with Yad Vashem.  I was grateful to Yad Vashem for recognizing Ceyroux and the role they played.   I regret not mentioning the person who especially helped me with my speech. I hope Luce will forgive me.

From this 1-hour DVD, I can extract key speeches. So far I have created a version with just Monique's speech. Next, I will separate mine, Luce's, & Mayor Daquet's.  I hope to upload to my YouTube channel & put CC (Closed Captions) in English & French.  Is there an APP to translate audio from a DVD into text?   Google? SIRI? anyone?