Ted Gostin

P.O. Box 56321
Sherman Oaks, California 91413-1321
USA

Business Phone: 818-501-5852
Email: tedgostin@generationspress.com
URL: www.generationspress.com/research.html

Contact between 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Pacific


Specialties:

  • Jewish genealogy
  • California research
  • Immigration & naturalization records
  • Eastern European records (Russian & Austro-Hungarian empires)
  • Search strategies


  • Lectures:

    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies
    All genealogists eventually run up against a /“brick wall/” in their research; that is, a research problem that they just can’t seem to solve. This lecture reviews three cases studies where brick walls were successfully overcome, and from those experiences draws out a series of research strategies that might be applied to other difficult-to-solve problems. The three case studies involved trying to determine the parents of an early, post-revolutionary American ancestor in New York State (Metcalf); trying to determine Juaneño Indian ancestry (from Mission San Juan Capistrano) in a California Latino family (Mireles); and trying to find any trace of a Polish-Jewish immigrant tailor in England in the mid-1800s (Stargatt/Stargratt).

    What To Do When There Aren’t Any Vital Records
    This lecture reviews the available sources where one might find a record of births, marriages and deaths when public vital records are not available. Sources reviewed include early published newspapers; probate and divorce records; church & synagogue records; cemetery records; local city and county histories and personal memoirs; census records; and voter registration records. While the types of sources used are relevant to all localities, California is used as a case study. California became a state in 1850, but the public recording of vital records (births, marriages and deaths) did not begin right away. In Los Angeles County, for example, the first publicly recorded marriage was in August of 1851. Recording of births and deaths began only in 1873, and wasn’t enforced countywide until 1889. Similar gaps exist in the other Southern California counties.

    Finding Vital Records Online – Beyond Ancestry.com and FamilySearch
    While many genealogists will stop their search for online vital records after reviewing the commercial site Ancestry.com and the Mormons’ FamilySearch website, there are a multitude of other places on the internet where one might find birth, marriage and death information. This lecture reviews and illustrates the breadth of other vital records sources available, including other online genealogy sites; local, county, and state level public agencies; public, university and college libraries; newspaper websites; and historical and genealogical societies.

    Finding Your Jewish Roots - An Introduction to Jewish Genealogy
    An overview of Jewish genealogy. The problems inherent in Jewish genealogy are presented (historical lack of surnames, missing records, eastern European origins), and myths are debunked (“all the records were destroyed;” “the town was wiped off the map.”). The program focuses on solutions to problems, and the wealth of resources still available for Jewish research. Intended for a primarily Jewish audience.

    Jewish Genealogy for Non-Jewish Genealogist
    An overview of Jewish genealogy for the non-Jewish genealogist. Follows the same general structure as “Finding Your Jewish Roots” (described above), but stresses the differences that a non-Jewish genealogist may encounter when searching a Jewish line. Presents some basic facts about Jewish culture & history to help non-Jews understand Jewish genealogical research.

    Finding Anatevka - Using Maps & Gazetteers in Jewish Genealogy
    All genealogists want to see where their families came from on maps, but often look in the wrong places or on the wrong type of maps. Map scales and levels of detail are discussed, along with historical border changes and the history of map-making itself. Sources for useful maps and gazetteers are summarized. While most of the sources and strategies discussed are relevant to all genealogists, the lecture focuses on the problems Jewish genealogists encounter in finding the “shtetls” (such as the fictional Anatevka) in which their ancestors lived.

    Reading Jewish-Russian Vital Records for the Non-Russian Speaker
    Many Jewish genealogists have ancestors from the Russian empire, and will eventually have to deal with vital records in the Russian language. This is a stumbling block for many genealogists, however, not only because of the foreign language, but because of the foreign alphabet as well. There are some relatively simple steps that a Jewish genealogist can take, though, to become familiar with the Russian alphabet and gain familiarity with Russian-Jewish vital records. This includes reviewing the origins of the Cyrillic alphabet, which helps to “de-mystify” it; learning a simple, one-page, 40-word vocabulary for reading Russian-Jewish vital records; becoming familiar with the basic format of the columnar records; and developing a strategy for reading Russian handwriting, using key words that appear in all documents.

    Russian Directories as a Genealogical Resource
    The 19th century Russian empire covered almost all of what is today Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and numerous central Asian republics. While U.S. style city directories were rarely published in Russia, there were other types of directories published for all parts of the empire that provide useful listings of individuals. This lecture reviews three types of Russian directories: the Pamiatnaia Knizhka, or Memorandum Book, a government yearbook for each province with directory listings; business directories, similar to U.S. yellow pages or classified directories, such as the V’sia Rossiia (All Russia) series; and true residential or city directories. The information available from each type of directory is discussed, and a list of repositories is provided. Two versions of this lecture are available: one for general audiences, and one for Jewish audiences.

    Polish State Archives Databases
    Reviews the databases on the website of The Polish State Archives. Four of these databases provide catalog or inventory information on the holdings of the archives: inventories of vital records (PRADZIAD) and census materials (ELA), and fond (record group) descriptions (SEZAM) and deatiled inventories (IZA). The newest database, ZoSIA, is an integrated database that incorporates the descriptions and inventories of the four previous databases, and adds scanned images of the records themselves. Several branch archives also host digitized images, including the AGAD archives in Warsaw, which holds records of historically Polish places no longer in Poland (such as eastern Galicia, and parts of Western Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania). All of these websites are reviewed and illustrated.

    Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor: An Overview of American Passenger Arrival Records
    This lecture presents an overview of American passenger arrival records. It outlines four basic periods of arrival records: the Colonial/Early National Period, 1607 - 1819; the Customs Lists Period, 1820 to about 1891; the Immigrations Lists Period, about 1891 - post WWII; and the Post WWII period. The types of arrival records available from each period are discussed, as well as available finding aids. A short bibliography is provided of key works on passenger arrival records.

    Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor Online
    Since 2000, a variety of immigration and emigration databases have become available over the Internet. These databases have the potential to make searching for immigrant ancestors much easier and quicker than the older microfilm or print databases. A number of such databases are discussed in this lecture, including the Ellis Island Database, Ancestry.com immigration databases, FamilySearch.org immigration databases, the Castle Garden website, and various emigration websites. The limitations of these databases are discussed, and search tips offered for each database.

    Emigration Records: Tracking Immigrants from the Other Side
    U.S. immigration records of the 19th century are often not very informative, and emigration records – those documenting someone leaving Europe – can often provide more information. This lecture reviews and illustrates a number of different types of emigration records, including emigration passenger lists; convict transport records; permissions to emigrate; police registrations; and passports and passport applications, and compare the information they contain to that in U.S. passenger lists.

    They Became Citizens: An Overview of American Naturalization Records
    This lecture presents an overview of United States naturalization records. The first national naturalization law was established in 1790, and therefore this lecture focuses on 19th and 20th century naturalization proceedings. Naturalization procedures and forms during two basic time periods are discussed: from 1790 to September 27, 1906; and from September 27, 1906 forward. Finding aids to naturalization records are discussed, and a short bibliography of key works on naturalization records is provided.


    Speaking Conditions:

    All lectures utilize PowerPoint and a personal computer. A screen and digital projector must be provided by the host society. No home housing for out-of-town engagements.


    Previous Engagements:

    Whittier Area Genealogical Society
    October 15, 2016
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society
    September 25, 2016
    Finding Vital Records Online - Beyond Ancestry & FamilySearch

    South Bay Cities Genealogical Society
    Finding Vital Records Online - Beyond Ancestry & FamilySearch

    47th Annual Genealogical Jamboree, Southern California Genealogical Society
    June 3-5, 2016
    Polish State Archives Databases
    Finding Vital Records Online - Beyond Ancestry & FamilySearch

    Glendora Genealogical Group
    May 24, 2016
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    Ventura County Genealogical Society
    May 21, 2016
    Emigration Records: Tracking Immigrants from the Other Side

    Southern California Genealogical Society - Lunch & Learn
    September 12, 2015
    Using Maps and Gazetteers in Genealogy

    Glendora Genealogy Group
    August 25, 2015
    Emigration Records: Tracking Immigrants from the Other Side

    Ventura County Genealogical Society
    August 15, 2015
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    Orange County California Genealogical Society
    July 11, 2015
    Finding Vital Records Online - Beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch and
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    46th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree
    Southern California Genealogical Society

    June 5-7, 2015
    Polish State Archives Databases
    Finding Anatevka: Maps and Gazetteers in Jewish Genealogy
    Reading Jewish-Russian Vital Records for the Non-Jewish Speaker

    Whittier Area Genealogical Society
    April 18, 2015
    Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor Online

    TRW Genealogy Group
    March 25, 2015
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    South Bay Cities Genealogical Society
    February 18, 2015
    Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor Online

    Los Angeles Westside Genealogial Society
    January 20, 2015
    Emigration Records: Tracking Immigrants from the Other Side

    Questing Heirs Genealogical Society
    January 18, 2015
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society
    December 28, 2014
    Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor Online

    34th Annual Kin-Dig
    Antelope Valley Genealogical Society

    October 18, 2014
    Emigration Records: Tracing Immigrants from the Other Side

    Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
    September 27, 2014
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree
    Southern California Genealogical Society

    June 6-8, 2014
    Russian Directories as Genealogical Resources

    Los Angeles Westside Genealogical Society
    April 15, 2014
    Breaking Down Brick Walls: Three Case Studies

    Brandeis National Committee – Conejo Valley Chapter
    January 24, 2013
    Introduction to Jewish Genealogy

    Los Angeles Family History Library
    December 1, 2012
    Reading Russian-Jewish Vital Records for the Non-Russian Speaker

    Los Angeles Family History Library
    June 7, 2012
    Finding Vital Records Online (Beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch)

    Who Do You Think You Are – BBC Television Series
    August 31, 2011
    Larry Lamb episode – featured researcher

    Los Angeles Westside Genealogical Society
    February 19, 2010
    What To Do When There Are No Vital Records


    Bio:

    Ted Gostin has been conducting genealogical research since 1980, and has worked as a full-time professional genealogist since 1994. He has twice been President of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Los Angeles, and has taught genealogy for several adult school and university extension programs. Ted has helped plan and organize three national genealogical seminars, and has been a featured speaker at a half-dozen such conferences. He lectures widely on Jewish genealogy, Southern California resources and naturalization and immigration records. He is the author of Southern California Vital Statistics: Volume 1, Los Angeles County 1850-1859, and the owner of Generations Press publishing company. He was a featured researcher in the Larry Lamb episode of the BBC version of Who Do You Think You Are? He is very active in the international Jewish genealogical community, and maintains contact with genealogists throughout the world. He is also an active member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

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