SOUL SEARCHING: Navigating the JMM Collections

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by

Part 3 of a 3 part series on using the JMM On-line Database

Let’s pretend that you’ve been convinced you to join the 21st century the social media craze. Now that you understand that #tbt stands for Throwback Thursday and means posting an old photo on your Facebook page so people write nostalgic messages, you want to find an image of your high school sweetheart. Since you’ve been following the “Once Upon a Time” feature on the JMM blog, you know that we have a ton of photographs from Jewish Maryland in the collection. You go directly to the JMM online database jmm.pastperfect-online.com and enter a keyword such as “sweetheart” and see what you find…

Unidentified couple being introduced at the AZA Sweetheart dance, 1964. 1995.128.001.026.004

Unidentified couple being introduced at the AZA Sweetheart dance, 1964. 1995.128.001.026.004

While it was a bit surprising that “sweetheart” actually yielded images, perhaps “dance” would’ve been a better choice, since you distinctly remember smiling for the camera at the spring formal.

A great TBT photo! Black and white photo of a Tau Beta Sigma sorority dance at Hotel Sterling. 1984.211.037

A great TBT photo! Black and white photo of a Tau Beta Sigma sorority dance at Hotel Sterling. 1984.211.037

If your sweetheart is from Maryland, you can try entering his or her name in the search box. If you don’t know if she would be catalogued as “Daisy Mae” or “Daisy Duke” “Daisy” will pull up all records with her maiden or married name… and possibly some pictures of pretty flowers. The People record should also indicate alternate names and associated records!

Daisy D. Carawan (Mrs. Barnett) is in the photograph of the 1937 graduating class of the Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. 2010.020.070

Daisy D. Carawan (Mrs. Barnett) is in the photograph of the 1937 graduating class of the Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. 2010.020.070

Finally, you find the perfect #TBT! You can right click and save image as on your desktop, then attach it to your Facebook page. While the photo should have a light watermark on it, please make sure you tag the Jewish Museum of Maryland in your caption and include the accession number (that long string of numbers starting with a 4-digit year). That what we know when someone has benefited from all our hard work (which always makes us smile!) and folks know where you found the photo—after all, they may be looking some #tbt pictures of their own.

#TBT in action

#TBT in action

Just a note of caution: If you “share” an image from the JMM Facebook or twitter, the accession number will be embedded into it. Be prepared to explain to your friends that although the photo is from 1903 and Jewish Museum accession number is 1994.111.3 (meaning that it was brought in to the museum collection in 1994)! You will impress everyone with your knowledge of the JMM and our numbering system!

JobiA blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts from Jobi, click here.

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THE SEARCH IS ON!

Posted on April 14th, 2014 by

Part 1 of a 3 part series on using the JMM On-line Database!

Q: What is the first step in conducting research on Jewish history in Maryland?

A: Checking out our free, searchable on-line database, of course! With 74,753 collections records on-line, you can get a good sense of what we have in our collection. Members and non-members currently have access to the database at jmm.pastperfect-online.com or from the collections-research page on our website.

We have just shy of 11,000 three-dimensional objects in the database, ranging from archaeological sherds in the Lloyd Street Synagogue mikveh, to stained glass windows, track trophies, National Bohemian advertising ephemera, beautiful dresses and military uniforms. I am delighted that nearly 89% of the objects in our collection have been photographed!

One of two stained glass skylights from the Komar Building, Baltimore. The skylights were removed from the balcony of the old theater and from the main stairwell of the building. The design of each skylight contains a central medallion featuring a Star of David. The lights are made of opalescent and cathedral glass. The theater skylight has a cartouche and fan motif surrounding the central medallion, the other skylight medallion is flanked by stylized floral emblems set in a geometric field; both lights c. 1915. 1993.038.002

One of two stained glass skylights from the Komar Building, Baltimore. The skylights were removed from the balcony of the old theater and from the main stairwell of the building. The design of each skylight contains a central medallion featuring a Star of David. The lights are made of opalescent and cathedral glass. The theater skylight has a cartouche and fan motif surrounding the central medallion, the other skylight medallion is flanked by stylized floral emblems set in a geometric field; both lights c. 1915. 1993.038.002

In just one year we have added 11,851 photograph records to our database, bringing us to 60,692 cataloged photographs!  With images attached to 73% of these photographs it’s like going through a gigantic photo album. Hopefully, you will find the images you are looking for.  I would like to thank volunteers Marvin Spector and Dana Willan who have scanned and cataloged the lion’s share of those new photos.

Volunteer Marvin Spector scans photos faster than we can attach them!

Volunteer Marvin Spector scans photos faster than we can attach them!

Our 20,459 archival records, however, pose a little bit more of a challenge to researchers looking for immediate (and complete visual) results. That is because our archival records are not digitized. Further, a single catalog record might describe one piece of paper or an entire manuscript collection filled with hundreds of folders filled with information. Don’t despair!  Our finding aids can help you narrow down your archival search. Once you’ve identified which records you are interested in looking at in person, you can contact research@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 ext.213 and set up a research appointment. Researching at the JMM is free for members and $8/visit for non-members.

Some of our collections are rather extensive! Become a member of the JMM and your research fees are waived.

Some of our collections are rather extensive! Become a member of the JMM and your research fees are waived.

Q: What if the first step of your research project hasn’t yielded the results you were hoping for?

A: This doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have what you are looking for, especially if you are searching for specialized biographical information.  While they aren’t in our collections database, we do have birth and death records, cemetery records, ship manifests, genealogies (family trees) and vertical files for many Jewish Marylanders who are not listed in our database.

A researcher works in our library.

A researcher works in our library.

The family history resource page of the JMM website has many sources that can help you out. We’ve just updated the links to the spreadsheets, so the information is current.  You can also contact our volunteer genealogist at familyhistory@jewishmuseummd.org  or call 410-732-6402 ext.224. Please have patience as it may take up to two weeks for someone to respond to your inquiry (remember, they are volunteers)!

 

Q: Still having trouble finding what you are looking for?

A:  Think about the specific question you are looking to answer. Write it down and read it to yourself.  If the question doesn’t make sense when you read it aloud, try to refine the question.  Once you’ve formulated your question – or maybe broken down your question into several components—give it a try. You can always send the question to research@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 ext.213, but it may take us a while to get back to you.

 

Happy searching!

A blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts from Jobi, click here.

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Volunteer Spotlight: Edie Shlian

Posted on January 6th, 2014 by

photo of Edie Shlian

Edie

Edie Shlian has been volunteering in the genealogy department at the JMM since summer 2013.  She was interested in researching her own family history and once she learned that we no longer had staff on hand to assist with her pursuit, she determined it was something she could help others with.  She is a member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland and is hoping to bring some co-members in as volunteers as well.  In her position, she takes requests from people who are interested in finding out more information about their families – the history of their family in Baltimore.  She was surprised that people think we would know everything about family histories, when basically we cover Baltimore Jewish history records.

Before she began volunteering, she was a registered nurse.  She began in medical-surgical nursing then switched to cardiology.  She worked as a critical care nurse at Union Memorial Hospital, in the cardiac catheterization lab at Sinai Hospital, and in cardiac research at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  She became interested in nursing as a result of her father passing away at a young age, due to heart disease.  Edie is the mother of three children and grandmother of six.  Her youngest daughter and two of her grandchildren live in Seattle, her other daughter, son and grandchildren live in the Baltimore area.  She loves to travel, some of her favorite destinations have been Israel, Greece, the Caribbean Islands and across the United States.  She’s now at a point where she enjoys returning to a destination, rent an apartment, and live amongst the locals.  She has plans in the next year to do this in Florence and Venice.

She sees helping preserve family history as an important mission and looks forward to continuing to do so while at the JMM.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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