Home About Us Membership Meetings Projects Chronicles Library Resources What's New Links


CONTACT MEMBERSHIP AT membership@jgsgp.org



Previous Meetings -- April 2007



April 2007

Steve Morse

Recipient of 2006 IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award

Creator of a Multitude of One-Step WebPages






Jewish Calendar Demystified

for a copy of the handout, click here


The Jewish calendar is important to genealogists because Jewish vital records use the Jewish dates. This includes not only birth, marriage, and death certificates, but tombstone engravings as well.

The Jewish calendar is both a solar and lunar calendar, with the months being synchronized to the moon and years to the sun.  As such, the rules governing the calendar can be a bit daunting. The aim is not to make you an expert in computing Jewish dates (we have programs that do that) but rather to give you an appreciation for what's involved in such calculations.

Steve Morse's presentation started:

In the beginning God created the universe in 6 days.  And on the 7th day He rested.

On the 8th day Adam looked at Eve and said, “We need a calendar”.  And Eve said “A what?”  And Adam replied, “Let me explain.  One day we are going to have children.  Don’t ask me how we’ll do that – I’ll surprise you one night.  But the important thing is that our children will have children and that will be the first family tree.”

And Eve said, “What’s a tree?”

And Adam replied, “That’s not important.  What’s important is that one of our children’s children will become a genealogist.”  And Eve said “Oh, is he going to help us when we have the children?”  Adam said “No, that’s a gynecologist.”

And Adam added, “We’re not going to live forever.  I probably won’t make it much past my 930th birthday.  It will be up to our genealogist grandchild to record the years that we lived, so that future generations will know.  In order to do that, he’ll need a way of counting years and months.  That’s what the calendar is all about.”  

Steve's One-Step website has many tools to help including ones relating to Calendars and Time as follows:  

* Jewish Calendar Conversion: Jewish Calendar Conversions in One Step
* Printable Jewish Calendar: Displaying Yearly Jewish Calendar in One Step
* Tombstone Dates: Deciphering Hebrew Tombstone Dates in One Step
* Molads and Torah Portions: Determining Molads and Torah Portions of Jewish Year in One Step
* Easter Calculator: Calculating Easter using the Jewish Calendar in One Step
* Sunrise, Sunset: Computing Sunrise and Sunset in One Step
* Template (Jewish date): Template for adding Jewish date to your website
* Template (Sunrise/Sunset): Template for adding time of sunrise and sunset to your website

What Color Ellis Island Search Form Should I Use?

In April 2001 the Ellis Island ship manifests and passenger records went on-line.  A few weeks later the One-Step Ellis Island website (White Form) was created to make this resource easier to use.  Since that time the One-Step site has been greatly expanded to include new search capabilities and an array of color-coded search forms.

June 2001 -- Missing Manifest Search Form online (EIDB bad links)

August 2001 -- Blue Search Form online (Hebrew ethnicity passengers)

June 2002 -- Ship List Form online  

August 2002 -- Gray Search Form  online (Short Form)

November 2006 -- Gold Search Form online (supplants Blue and Gray Search Forms)

White Form -- Ellis Island Database 1892-1924 (Main Search)

Searches all New York passengers from 1892 to 1924 using basic search options.  Uses the database and search engine at ellisisland.org, but has its own search form which provides features not found at the ellisisland.org website

Gold Form -- Ellis Island Database 1892-1924 (Enhanced Search) 

Searches all New York passengers from 1892 to 1924 using enhanced search options.  Uses the database at ellisisland.org but has its own search form and search engine which provides the enhanced features.

The Gray and Blue Ellis Island One-Step forms have been replaced by the Gold Form.

The Gray Form allowed you to search all 25 million passengers but using only four of the transcribed parameters. The Blue Form allowed you to search using any of the transcribed parameters but only for the 1 million Jewish passengers.

The Gold Form allows you to search all 25 million passengers using any of the transcribed parameters.

When searching the Ellis Island years (1892 to 1924), the Gold Form should always be the form of choice.  The White Form should be used only when you cannot find a passenger using the Gold Form and you'd like to try a fresh perspective on the search using a different search engine.

All New York Arrivals 1820-1957 (Ancestry.com database)

Searches all New York passengers from 1820 to 1957.  Includes the Ellis Island years as well as many other years.  Uses the database and search engine at Ancestry.com, but has its own search form which provides features not found at the Ancestry.com website. This search requires membership to Ancestry, a pay for service website. 

When searching for arrivals outside of the Ellis Island years, you must use  the All New York Arrivals search form.  It can be useful for the Ellis Island years as well because it provides an independent name index as well as a third search engine that might give yet another perspective on finding elusive passengers.


Tracing the Tribe - The Jewish Genealogy Blog

Send your comments,
questions, and problems to webmaster@jgsgp.org

Last updated July 30, 2011

Copyright 2013 The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia

Hosts of our Meetings