Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tracking Family from the 1620's to the Present

Martin Van Buren
The New York Times of July 22, 2011 published an interesting article on the Van Dusen family in the United States, which began with a Dutch immigrant to Manhattan in the 1620's and now has more than 200,000 far-flung members all over the country.  Variations of the name include Van Deusen, Van Deursen, and Van Duzer.  Descendants include the famous (Presidents Martin Van Buren and Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and the not-so-famous, and even the president of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  There was even a town named Van Deusenville.  Family artifacts mentioned include photos, family Bibles, and a hymnbook from the Civil War.  For me, one of the best aspects of this story is that many of these people are in communication with each other in context of being descendants of the same person.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dedication Ceremony at Angel Island

The new Immigrant Heritage Wall at the Angel Island Immigration Station will be dedicated on Saturday, July 23, 2011.  The ceremony will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey will be the keynote speaker for the event.  The ceremony will be held outdoors.  Please bring lawn chairs or blankets for festival seating.

The Immigrant Heritage Wall was created through the donations of more than 600 individuals.  More than 350 immigrants are honored on the plaques.

Following the ceremony, cultural programs will take place throughout the afternoon.  The Immigration Station will be open for free self-guided tours from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.  Food will be available at the Cove Café by Ayala Cove.

For more details on the event, visit or call (415) 262-4429.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 18, 2011

Learn Mah Jongg in San Francisco

The American Jewish Committee San Francisco office and Asian Week Foundation at the American Legion Cathay Post #384 are cosponsoring a free mah jongg event in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 27, from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the War Memorial Herbst Theater.  All levels of mah jongg players are welcome, and teachers will be available to instruct beginners (like me!).  Play Chinese and American versions of mah jongg and see The Tiles That Bind, a short documentary with Chinese and Jewish women reminiscing about their mothers playing mah jongg.  Sign up on the AJC Web site by 5:00 p.m. on July 22.  The event is filling up fast, so don't wait until the last minute.  If you are coming with a group, include your friends' names in the notes.

I remember when I saw Driving Miss Daisy and realized that the little old ladies were Jewish when they were all sitting around playing mah jongg.  My grandmother used to play mah jongg also.  I actually bought a mah jongg set intending to learn so I could play the game with her, but it was one of those things I never got around to.  It's too late for that now, but I'll be thinking about her while I learn.