May I Introduce To You . . . Schelly Talalay Dardashti

Schelly Talalay Dardashti

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Schelly Talalay Dardashti from Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog.

In 1989, Schelly’s daughter came home from Hebrew school with a one-sheet homework assignment, and that assignment launched Schelly’s interest in genealogy and her family history.

Starting with her husband’s very large Persian family line was fairly easy. With several “walking encyclopedias,” Schelly and her daughter were able to interview relatives extensively, and they were able to add hundreds of relatives’ information to the family tree.  The information was basically oral history as few Iranian Jewish records are available outside the country.  Schelly and her daughter were fortunate to reach back to about 1740 or so.  As mother and daughter completed this family line, Schelly’s daughter turned to her and said; “Now we have to do yours!”

Schelly did just that and continued on to research her Belarus family line with origins in Spain. This family line took more time due to the fact there were a small number of individuals who had very little information of use.

Using archival documents, records and interviews, and with the help of a wonderful friend and researcher in Barcelona, several probable family documents have been located for Schelly’s extremely rare name.  Schelly has one document in particular that is dated in 1358 from the city of Lerida in Cataluñya, a contract signed by a Jewish winemaker, Mosse (Moshe) Talaya (Talalla, Talalya) along with the leaders of the Jewish community and the city government detailing how much kosher wine could be brought into the city and from where.

Schelly holds two more 14th century documents and hopes to track down more. With all of this information, Schelly has been able to reach back at about the same time frame as her husband’s line.

Schelly’s Family and Her Blog

“Tracing the Tribe” is a widely read news and resource-based blog.  Schelly is happy that so many readers find it relevant and useful to their research. Her blog occasionally covers the family, but it is not a personal blog.  At times, she will write about the family for various genealogy blog carnivals or on resources that help her research.

Family and relatives do subscribe and also read her blog via Facebook but as it is not a personal blog, they don’t rely on the blog to gain more information about the family in particular.

How Schelly Follows the Rest of Us

Schelly reads her original favorite blogs via email subscriptions; she feels it would be impossible to keep up with the many blogs out there by way of email alone, so she uses Google Reader and Bloglines for reading newer blogs.

Schelly also feels that Google Alerts can be your best friend – she receives a multitude each and every day. She tries to read them immediately to find out what’s happened and what’s going on to let readers know. On media lists for many Jewish organizations, genealogy (Jewish and general), she receives relevant breaking news that way, as well.

Schelly’s Thoughts on Blogging

Schelly had never really given blogging a thought until one fateful day in 2006. She was a journalist who focused on Jewish genealogy, food and travel for the Jerusalem Post and other media. Schelly had written a very popular bi-monthly Jewish genealogy column for the paper for more than five years – “It’s All Relative” – that appeared in print and in the Jerusalem Post’s online edition, with global readership. She still writes occasionally for the paper, mostly genealogy articles.

Schelly received a call from a new digital media editor from a century-old international Jewish news agency, JTA, for whom she had written periodically. JTA was starting blogs and wanted Schelly to write the first one – on Jewish genealogy. That was the beginning of Schelly’s blogging journey. She felt that learning and keeping up with technology was the steepest part of the learning curve. Says Schelly, “If I can do it, and I did, then I don’t think anyone should be afraid of the technological aspects of blogging.”

When JTA reorganized and dropped non-staffer blogs, Schelly already had quite a following and she felt that the responsibility to continue as an independent blogger was important to her followers. In August 2010, Tracing the Tribe will celebrate its fourth blogiversary.

Schelly never had hesitations about blogging but she did receive advice via a note from George C. Morgan reading, “Don’t let it take over your life.” Schelly replied, “It already has!”

ProGenealogists named Tracing the Tribe as #10 of the top 25 most popular blogs. Schelly was excited, as this was a major accomplishment for a Jewish-focused blog among the majority of general genealogy blogs. Even better was when Family Tree Magazine named her blog as one of only three “Best for Jewish Researchers” resources in its 101 Best Websites of 2008. The blog was also recently included in the heritage category in Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs.

* * *

Please head on over to Schelly’s blog Tracing the Tribe and leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by.  Welcome, Schelly, and congratulations!

© 2010, copyright Gini Webb

Gini Webb lives in San Diego, California and manages her own blog, Ginisology, while also researching her own German heritage, recently retired, enjoying life with wonderful husband Steve and visiting with her now seven grandchildren!

Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Gini Webb via e-mail.

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