Heading speedily back to their roots

In the Facebook age, long-lost family can be traced in seconds, Northern Jewish Genealogical Conference delegates were told in Manchester on Sunday.

The 90 participants - including visitors from Yorkshire, Wales and London - heard from renowned authority Schelly Talalay Dardashti, who had travelled from America. She explained that online social media enabled the instant sharing of hundreds of years of genealogical history, pictures and records.

"Within four days of joining Facebook, I had made contact with four Russian cousins. If I can do it, anyone can," said the 63-year-old, who has traced her own roots back to 1358.

Genealogist Jeanette Rosenberg spoke about accessing Jewish newspaper information as an aid to family searches.

Young people are attracted to genealogy by new technology

Manchester Masonic Museum curator Ivan Goldberg was forthcoming on Masonic records widely misconceived as being secret.

Event organiser Lorna Kay revealed previously unseen Manchester Jewish marriage records.

Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain chairman Mark Nicholls said the conference had attracted one-tenth of its membership and illustrated "a definite trend of young people attracted to genealogy by new technology and popular television programmes".

Among the participants, Rochelle Benson from Bury had traced family as far afield as Chicago and as far back as 1840.

    Last updated: 8:48am, May 13 2011