An Open Letter #ukraine
OPEN LETTER TO U-SIG MEMBERS
At the Salt Lake City conference in 2000, there were 4 people at the Birds of
a Feather meeting interested in research in the Ukraine, and Florence Elman was
the one who stepped forward into this new and unknown venture, creating a Ukraine
SIG. >from the four people at that meeting, she soon had 50. Our membership,
as we just finish our 2005 conference in Las Vegas, stands at 1,680. Flo did
that, and she did it in just five years!
Flo organized a steering committee to find documents, property lists, tax records,
yiskor books, historical documents, and anything related to the Jewish Ukraine
that we could eventually get translated, proofed, uploaded and made available
through our website on JewishGen. She then reached out and found volunteers –
to work on each project, to investigate record holding archives, to coordinate
research by the Ukraine’s guberniyas, to investigate what resources were available
or could be made available for each guberniya.
At the Ukraine Birds-of-a-feather meeting in Las Vegas 2005, Florence Elman,
Coordinator extraordinaire, announced her resignation as our Ukraine-SIG
Florence has done so much to make this SIG what is is today that it will take
two to "fill her shoes," so Deborah Glassman of Elkins Park, PA and I, Freya
Blitstein Maslov of Morton Grove, IL have agreed to be Co-Coordinators of the SIG.
Flo had put together a steering committee consisting of some extremely dedicated
and knowledgable volunteers that included. Ron Doctor, Art Hoffman, Sharon Hogarth,
Michael Jaron, Mindie Kaplan, Aviva Langenauer, Andrea Massion, Lorri Miller, Judy
Tarail and Joanne Saltman, as well as Deborah and myself. (If I omitted anyone, my
sincere apologies) We are pleased that this group will continue to work together
and that we are going to be receiving their ongoing support. We have also found
that the many volunteers that Flo had drafted along the way are still willing to
be very committed but there are a number of projects which could use additional
assistance and new project organization. For instance, we still need guberniya
coordinators to organize research projects in Kiev, Poltava, and Kharkov and we
need many more volunteers for Volhynia, Chernigov, Podolia, Ekaterinoslav, Kherson,
and Taurida. And we also need volunteers to translate Hebrew and Cyrillic documents.
Flo finishes her term with a great group of projects to her credit:
· The Kiev Duma Voter's List and the All Ukraine Database were finally completed
and uploaded to our website http://www.jewishgen.org/Ukraine/index.htm.
· 3 projects have been completed but not yet uploaded to our site:
The Geographical Dictionary Project (GDP); the Index to Subscribers >from the
Ukraine in Kagan's book; the list of Russian Military Regiments that are
available in libraries – all have been completed - but not yet uploaded.
· The index to the Ekaterinoslav Yiskor book has been completed
· The LiRaMa translations (Russian Consul records >from Canada) 1862-1922. are
Another great feature that Florence created on our website is the
Photo Album showing Photos of our Heritage, Faces of our Forebears
(pre 1900 - ca 1925), photos of towns and shtetls >from the old country
and the "Most Wanted" (missing identities - do you recognize anyone here?)
Florence placed a photo that she had on that page of some people she did
not know - and a few weeks later, received an e-mail and the writer wanted
to know how she obtained that "photo of my mother." Please do submit any
photos you might have. This will give us all a much better understanding of
life in the shtetls.
There are two good ways you can honor Florence Ellman.
1. Get involved – locate records, share digital images, type entries for
the database, write letters, write articles, share your family photos,
share your research, join our hard-working group of volunteers!
2. Make a donation to JewishGen in her honor. Each of those donations
makes Jewish records more immediately available, what a great tribute
to Flo’s hard-work! If you would like to join me in that honor, please
go to the JewishGen-erosity page at
Thank you all, and on behalf of my co-coordinator, Deborah
Glassman, I hope we can continue in the same fine tradition.
Thank YOU, Florence!
Freya Blitstein Maslov