Most people do not know who they are more than a few generations back. Some do know, others suspect, but for the majority of genealogists, it is a surprise when they discover Jewish ancestors. Many of these initial discoveries come from having done a DNA test. What resources are available to those who wish to pursue research in this "new" field? What are the essentials that will help researchers understand their ancestors? What historical events have led to migrations and distance from Jewish ancestry? We will discuss history, migration, essential clues (customs, food, terminology, languages), and much more.
Native New Yorker Schelly Talalay Dardashti has lived in Teheran, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and now New Mexico. A journalist and genealogist, she is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage, and has traced her Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi families across Iran, Spain, Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. She was an early proponent of DNA for genealogy and co-admins several DNA projects at FamilyTreeDNA. The former genealogy columnist for the Jerusalem Post ("It's All Relative," 1999-2005), she created the award-winning "Tracing the Tribe - The Jewish Genealogy Blog" (2006; now on hiatus), and "Tracing the Tribe - Jewish Genealogy on Facebook" (with nearly 18,000 global members). Her articles have appeared on JTA, Reform Judaism, Hadassah, NGS Quarterly, Avotaynu and numerous Jewish and general genealogy publications, newspapers, and more. Affiliations: Social media coordinator, Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies; board member, Casa Sefarad (Albuquerque, NM); founding member, JGS of New Mexico; founding organizer, annual Jewish Genetics Conference (NM).