In 1882 three Blumenthal brothers, Sam, Philip and Barney, left the Duchy of Courland, today part of western Latvia, bound for the United States. Michigan became the place they called home. Initially working as traveling peddlers, the three brothers eventually settled in Western Branch, Michigan, where they opened the first dry goods store. By 1895, brother Sam had moved with his wife to Standish in Arenac County. There Sam established another dry goods store. By 1920, Sam and his family had moved to the Detroit area, and within a generation, his descendants no longer had any contact with the Blumenthals of West Branch and Standish. Within two generations, Sam’s grandchildren did not know that the family had ever been in West Branch.
How do we explore the history of this family and what resources are available to reconnect the Blumenthals of Detroit with those who remained in Standish and West Branch? These are the type of questions that are raised by those who undertake genealogical research at the Library of Congress and elsewhere. America is a country of immigrants, and therefore, it should come as no surprise to note the popularity of genealogical research as both a hobby and a profession. On Monday, May 16, in celebration of Jewish-American Heritage Month, the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and the Hebraic Section, African and Middle Eastern Division, will jointly sponsor a talk on “The Blumenthals of the Upper-Lower Peninsula of Michigan,” by Dr. Janette Silverman, a genealogist. The talk will take place from noon – 1 p.m. in the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room, LJ-220 on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.
Silverman’s presentation will discuss methodology and resources for doing genealogical research. She will be sharing her own family research as a case study and answer questions from the audience. Silverman has been involved in Jewish genealogical research for 35 years. In August 2015, she joined ancestry Pro Genealogists as a Senior Research Manager. She is a moderator for the JewishGen Discussion Group and coordinator of JewishGen’s Ukraine SIG. She speaks on a variety of subjects, including: personalizing Jewish history, using archival and digital databases for research, Ellis Island mythology, and using mohel books and ketubot as genealogical resources.
This program will be recorded for broadcast in the coming months on the African and Middle Eastern Division homepage, under the heading: Webcasts: Hebraic Section.
If you would like to be notified when the webcast is available, please email Sharon Horowitz ([email protected]) with your request.
Request ADA accommodations for this event at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 (Voice/TTY) or [email protected]