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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon's Brunch/Steven Morse, Speaker

A brunch was today's last meeting of the season with our Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon. We had Stephen Morse as the speaker. He is one of the world's most outstanding computer geniuses who has done so much to help genealogists in their searches using the computer. His website is If you go to it you will find all kinds of assistance.

One of his interests are calendars. He explained the Jewish calendar, which is based on lunar and solar movements. On his website you can find the Jewish date by inserting the date used today. He also explained the Julian, Gregorian and other calendars. We learned that on the Jewish calendar, one month is defined to be 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 and 1/3 seconds. On the Jewish calendar, the day starts at sundown, but the mathematicians say the day starts at 6pm and then count the hours. Of course, to know if shabbat is over, we look for 3 stars in the sky as most all do in Israel as the sky is so black and the stars are so big and shiny. Here, we just look on our calendars.

What I enjoyed was when he used the names of famous people and found them on the Ellis Island website and showed how to find people when there are many with the same names. As it turns out, Mayor La Guardia of New York had a Jewish orthodox mother who lived in Italy.

His website uses all sorts of other websites for searches such as:,, Now I will just go to his website to do searches. Up to now I've used and haven't searched further. I sure will now.

If you need to know other languages and alphabets, go to his website. He even will show the Russian alphabet in the printed and cursive forms.

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