Tuesday, May 31, 2011

JewishGen Basics: The JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF)

We are pleased to announce that blogger and family historian Philip Trauring has joined the JewishGen blog.

Many of you already know Philip as the author of the Blood and Frogs: Jewish Genealogy and More (http://www.bloodandfrogs.com) web site, which looks to teach general genealogical techniques with a focus on applying them to Jewish genealogy. He is also the Gesher Galicia town historian for Kanczuga, and is the founder of a new branch (in formation) of the Israel Genealogical Society in Modi'in.

His first series of articles, “JewishGen Basics,” will describe the various tools and resources on JewishGen (many of them recently updated) and how they can best be used to perform research.

Enjoy!
If you're seriously researching your Jewish roots then you probably already know about the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF), but for those who are just getting started or for those who may not know how to fully utilize it, I wanted to point out this critical resource and explain what it can and cannot do.

The JGFF is a database on JewishGen, and what it does it simple – it lets you find other researchers searching for the same surnames and towns as you. This is particularly important if you have a very common last name (try researching Cohen without knowing which town your family came from) or if you have a unique surname but don't yet know from which town your family originated.

The JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) web site entrance
Let's say you're researching the name Silberman. You know your family lived at one point in Tyszowce and in Vienna. You go to the JGFF web site, log in (with your JewishGen identity) and from the page shown in the screenshot above, you select Enter/Modify.

On the next screen you add the name Silberman and the town Tyszowce, Poland. When you enter a town that is in JewishGen's database, a small icon should show up next to the town name indicating it has been found. You can enter a town that is not in their system, but chances are if you're entering a town where there was a Jewish community, then it's in there and you should double-check your spelling (and that you're using the post-WWII name and country). As with all resources on the JewishGen site, all towns are referred to by their post WWII names and countries. Thus even though the Yiddish spelling of the town name of Tyszowce might be Tishevitz, and the town was once part of the Russian Empire, it is always referred to by the current name and country, so you should enter Tyszowce, Poland.

The JGFF system can also sometimes correct the names you enter, so pay attention once you've added a town name and country. For example, let's say the second town you want to enter is Vienna. By accident you select Vienna, Australia. JGFF will actually correct this entry to Wien, Austria, which is the modern name of the city (used in Austria) and the correct country.

Adding one surname to two towns in JGFF
Note that in both of the above entries the JewishGen logo appears next to the name indicating that the town has been found in the JewishGen Communities database. This prevents multiple lists, for Wien and Vienna for example.

It's also important to recognize what the JGFF cannot do. It doesn't list individual relative names, so there's no way to immediately know when searching if the person who has listed a particular name/town combo is related to you. The JGFF is also reliant on the individuals who make up its members to update their information, and sometimes people change their e-mail addresses and forget to update the JGFF. If that's the case and you try to send them an e-mail, you will not reach them. You will also find that some of the members are deceased, and when a particular member dies, if you know the person, you can tell the people who run the JGFF and they will mark that account as deceased, so the information doesn't go away, but people will know not to try to contact the person.

JGFF has several levels of privacy, so you can show you name, your address, etc. or you can just show your researcher number and make the people send you an e-mail to find out who you are. This sounds great, unless the person who didn't show their name changes their e-mail address or dies, and there is no way to know that they have an account on JGFF to change. In general, I would suggest when setting up your JewishGen account to show your name, so in case someone wants to reach you, they can Google you as well if necessary. This isn't an official policy of JewishGen obviously, just my personal recommendation to make it easier for researchers to contact you. Another reason to include your name is that when presented with many results, researchers will in many cases contact only a small portion of the researchers in their search results, and it may be that they choose to contact the people with names attached to their accounts first, or only contact people with the same last name as they are researching. My point is that you will increase your chances of being contacted by including your name in your listing.

Different people have different strategies on how to use JGFF. You can put up to 100 name/town combos into the system, so you have some flexibility. You can stay minimal and just put the names and towns you know relatives were born into, or you can add many different variations for the names, and you can choose to add towns that may be wrong, but you think your family may have lived. If you find a reference in your research to a town you didn't know about, you can add the name/town combo in case someone comes across the same piece of information, even if you have no real proof that your family lived there. Remember that the JGFF is not a definitive listing of where families lived, it is only a list of where people are researching their families. This is an important distinction.

In the same vein, I recommend putting in as many variations of the last name as you're comfortable with, as it seems some people are very strict with spellings or they may search using 'exact' spelling instead of 'sounds like' and thus like Cohn and Cohen might be the same family, if you wrote Cohen and they searched for Cohn, they wouldn't find anything. In order to take into consideration these types of searchers, I recommend adding variations to the names.

For example, using Silberman as an example again, a common variation is Silverman. In addition, in Poland the name may have been Zylberman. You don't know what piece of information a researcher might have when doing their search. They may know the name was Zylberman in Poland but not know it later changed to Silberman. Thus, putting in surname variations can help insure your entry is found by everyone searching for your family.

Adding surname variations to JGFF
In the above example note that each surname/town pair is entered individually, so for each town there are three surname variations entered.

As you research your family and find new names and towns, you should be constantly updating your listings on the JGFF. You never know when someone is going to search the JGFF and if you don't post a connection (like you find your great-grandmother's last name and birth town) you may miss someone else searching for the same combination. In my own experience, I added a name and town of a relative that I had known about for a long time but had forgotten to post to the JGFF, and within a couple of months I received an inquiry from someone who turned out to be my fourth cousin, and who lived just two minutes away from me!

In short, if you're researching your Jewish family members, use JGFF and use it often.

Philip Trauring is the author of Blood and Frogs: Jewish Genealogy and More, a site where you can find out about general genealogy techniques and how to apply them to your Jewish genealogy. Philip can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/bloodandfrogs.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Since the Revolutionary War, more than 1.3 Million American men and women have sacrificed their lives in defense of this great nation.

JewishGen remembers all our fallen heroes. May their memory be for a blessing.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jewish American Heritage Month

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen


The month of May is Jewish American Heritage Month. This recognition was first initiated by President George W. Bush in 2006, and has been continued by President Barack Obama. To find out more about Jewish American Heritage Month, visit /www.jahm.us/index.aspx


The part of the website devoted to "tell me a story" has stories of a number of famous Jewish Americans: http://www.jahm.us/stories.aspx Stories may be submitted for consideration.


Another part of the website is entitled 50 stories from 50 States about unknown famous Jews in history from each State. Did you know that Jewish Americans invented the Master Lock? The shopping cart, Frank's Red Hot Sauce? http://www.jahm.us/statestories.aspx You can submit your story of about a Jewish American contribution.


There are events throughout May and beyond celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month...see http://www.jahm.us/view_events.aspx


Thank you to Phil Goldfarb, President of the JGS of Tulsa for reminding me of this important recognition.


Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Friday, May 27, 2011

Interested in DNA Testing? Ponder this

How do Ashkenazim live long, despite bad eating habits? According to the Jerusalem Post, a new study will be conducted to figure it out.

Click here for the entire article.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jews of Kaifeng, China

Jews of Kaifeng, late nineteenth or early twentieth century. (Source: Wikipedia)


Chef Dennis Wasko, writing for the Jerusalem Post, explores how Jews lived in Kaifeng, China.


Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Update: Hungarian Vital Records Project

Posted by Sam Schleman

I am pleased to announce a major update to the JewishGen Hungarian Database.

This update, of approximately 150,000 records, brings the total number of vital records (births, marriages and deaths) to over a half million, and the total database, which also includes census and other type of records, to over 1.1 million records.

The current update includes:
  • All remaining records for Szeged, for a total of 23,000.
  • 57,000 Pest death records. This completes all vital records for Pest, about 155,000 records.
  • 32,000 records for Bihar county (now in Romania). The majority are for Nagyvarad / Oradea.
  • 5,000 records for Nagy-Mihaly / Michalovce, believed to be the only vital records available from this town.
  • Lackenbach, Mako, Baja, and Trencin. 
  • Homonna records not available from LDS.
  • As a result of the incredible efforts of Marelynn Zipser, 21,000 Poszony / Bratislava records, bringing the total for this town to 28,000.
These accomplishments are due to a group of people who have dedicated themselves to preserving our heritage. They include:

Eva Abraham, Miry Abramovich, Susan Ades, Roger Adler, Tomas Adler, Ann Armoza, Peter Bakos, Mary Blumenstein, Jenny Brichta, Anne Buchanan, Shari and Asher Buxbaum, Martin Cohn, Gizella Czene, Wolf-Erich Eckstein, Marlene Elster, Jackie Erdos, Sylvia Fenton, Sarah Feuerstein, Bob Fisch, Catarina Fischer, Yaacov Fried, George Gelb, Susan Geroe, Sam Glaser, Ava Gorkin, Ivan Greenhut, Imre Grosz, Peter Gyrenes, Tamas  Hajdu, Bob Hanscom, Pamela Hayter, Andrew Hegedus, Agi Herman, Andreas Hirschler, Sara Israeli, Susan Kalish, Gary Katz, Gene Katz, Karen Katz, Yocheved Klausner, Larry Kohn, Ilan Kozma, Vera Kwait, Margarita Lacko, Miriam Laska, David Laufer, Esther Levinson, Diane Lazaar, Lois Levick, Julie Lockwood, Marianne Lods, Yohanan Loeffler, Susan Martin, Alex Miller, Ron Miller, Judi Gyori Missel, Laszlo Oberlander, Jackie  Pataki, Judy Petersen, Susie Phillips, Andy Roth, Andrew & Judith Sanders, Charlene Segot, Anne Selikov, Pat Shaw, Lynne Steensma, Steve Stein, Peter Stern, Judith Steuer, Jennifer Strike, Mark Suss, George Urban, Susana Vendel, Barbara Wasser, Karen Weinberg, Judy Kloogman Weinstein, Ruben Weiser, Henry Wellisch, Marelynn Zipser, Daniel Zur

If you would like to express your appreciation to the transcribers, you could do so by sending an email to the subject of "The Transcribers" on the H-SIG email list. If you would like to make a more concrete expression of your appreciation, a donation to JewishGen at http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/ would be both welcome and help JewishGen continue to provide these important services.

Everyone should be reminded that these are index records and omit what can be crucial information. You should always go to the source image record if possible.

Approximately 50,000 records are not readily available publicly, if at all.
These records can be identified by the Source indicating the record is from the "SA Ujhely Archives" or the "Bihar Archives" or similar. The source images for those records can be obtained for a nominal fee from the H-SIG "Records Librarian," a new position held by Bobby Furst at bobby1st@gmail.com.

I frequently get questions about which towns are in the database.
If you go to the search page for the Hungarian database at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Hungary/ and scroll down, you will find a list of the component databases. Each database name is a link which will take you to a table listing the contents of the database.

If we rank Hungarian and Slovak communities according to the number of researchers interested in each town, as per the JGFF, we have now transcribed 21 of the 25 largest communities in pre-Trianon Hungary.
That excludes communities now in the Ukraine or Romania.

Some time ago, I indicated my intention to step down as Coordinator of the Hungarian Vital Records project, but committed to complete all the work that was in progress. With this update to the database, all work outstanding at the time of my announcement has been completed and I am now stepping down. I expect to provide assistance to those people who will be assuming my former responsibilities, but this brings to an end my five-year tenure.

This project has been a wonderful experience for me, primarily due to the great people I have met, worked with and with whom I have formed, what I hope to be, lasting friendships.

In the future, the transcription of vital records will employ a new methodology in which FHL places all the images on-line and provides a customized template (not Excel). This system is termed Family Search Indexing (FSI) and has begun already. An initial project has been created including the vital records for Buda, Obuda, Ujpest, Bekescsaba, Szkesfehervar, Balassagyarmat and Niytra. In order for the vital record's project to continue, we *must* have volunteers step forward to help manage part of these efforts. Unlike in the past, we expect the coordination effort to be divided into multiple, smaller assignments.

If you would be interested in volunteering, or would like to help transcribe these records, contact Vivian Kahn at viviankahn@comcast.net.

Without volunteers, this project will cease to move forward.

Happy Hunting!!!

Sam Schleman
Project Coordinator
Hungarian Vital Records Project

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Did Lenin have Jewish Ancestry?


From the Jerusalem Post


Documents apparently confirming rumors that Vladimir Lenin had Jewish ancestors can now be seen at Russia's State History Museum, AP reported on Monday.


Among the newly released documents on display at the museum is a letter written by Lenin's sister, Anna Ulyanova, claiming that their maternal grandfather was a Jew from the Ukraine who converted to Christianity to escape persecution in the Pale of Settlement and have access to higher education, the report said.


Click here for here full article.

National memorial for fallen rabbi nears in Arlington National Cemetery

From the Daily Record / Sunday News
By MIKE ARGENTO and TERESA ANN BOECKEL


Congress has moved a step closer to honoring Alexander D. Goode, a York rabbi who was one of the immortal "Four Chaplains." On Monday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would allow a monument at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the memory of Jewish chaplains who died during active duty.

Congressman Todd Platts, R-York County, who co-sponsored the bill, said in a statement that, while Chaplains' Hill at the Arlington National Cemetery contains memorials to chaplains of several different faiths who died while serving their country, it lacks a memorial to honor the 13 Jewish chaplains who gave their lives in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.


"It's long overdue recognition of true American heroes," Platts said during a telephone interview.


These chaplains served in uniform and made the ultimate sacrifice, he said.


"As a life-long resident of York, I am extremely proud that Rabbi  Alexander D. Goode, one of the heroic 'Four Chaplains' who gave their lives saving others aboard the torpedoed USS Dorchester in World War II, was once a Rabbi at Beth Israel Synagogue and an active member of the York community," Platts said in a statement.


It's unfortunate that it has taken such a long time for the Jewish chaplains to be recognized, Platts said, but it's better late than never. It's important that their service be remembered by future generations.


Click here to read the entire article.

Ron Arons Speaker at June 5 JGS Conejo Valley and Ventura County Meeting

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will be meeting on Sunday, June 5, 2011 1:30-3:30 pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA.

The Topic: Wrongful [Jewish] Wrascals of the West And you thought Jewish criminals were just on the East Coast (mainly New York), the Midwest (Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit) and Las Vegas! Well, Jewish criminals have made their mark in the state of California for nearly 150 years. Above and beyond Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, Ron has found them - in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and elsewhere in the Golden State. Along the way, he shows the large variety of genealogical sources available to research these characters. Ron will show you how to track down your black sheep ancestors! Following his presentation, you may purchase Ron's books & 'Black Sheep' products-including ties, toys, jewelry and t-shirts. To pre-order, go to www.ronarons.com Print out your order receipt, he will hand deliver the products to the meeting. Cash or checks only.

Speaker: Ron has researched his roots for more than a dozen years. In the process of doing so, Ron learned that one of his ancestors served time "up the river" at Sing Sing Prison. Along the way, Ron has become an expert on how to research historical criminals. Ron has given numerous presentations across the country and internationally on conducting genealogical research, especially research on criminals.

Our "Schmoozing Corner" will be facilitated by JGSCV founding member accomplished genealogist, and JewishGen Managing Director Warren Blatt. The "Corner" is available for 15 minutes before the meeting to answer questions attendees may have about their genealogy.

Our monthly book report will be given by Sara Hyman, JGSCV treasurer on mystery novels that involved family history by Dan Waddell "The Blood Detective" and "Blood Atonement".

Our rotating traveling library will have Categories A and D To see which books are listed under which category, please go to our website, www.JGSCV.org and look under traveling library. The books are available starting 30 minutes before the program to shortly after the program.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history. (www.jgscv.org). There is no charge to attend the meeting and all are welcome to attend.

For more information including directions to the meeting, see our website www.jgscv.org

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fallen champions: Story of '28 Dutch women gymnastics team

Five of the gymnasts, as well as their coach Gerrit Kleerekoper, were Jewish. Only one of those six survived the Holocaust.
It was known that Kleerekoper died at Sobibor on July 2, 1943, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the fortunes of Estella Agsteribbe, Helena Nordheim, Anna Polak, Elka de Levie, and Judikje Simons were finally established. 
The Netherlands Olympic Committee found no trace of them – despite many years of searching – due to the fact that the Nazis, who kept very systematic records, did not bother to include the maiden names of their female victims.
 
The gymnasts had all likely married after 1928, and without their maiden names, it seemed to be almost impossible to track them down.
 
However, thanks to one relentless Dutch engineer, Fred A. Lobatto, who as a schoolboy saw the 1928 Games, the fates of the five Jewish members of the women’s 1928 Dutch gymnastics team were finally brought to light.

Click here to read the entire article

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

National Archives (USA) Will Hold Genealogy Related Programs In June; Postings from Genealogy Fair

The National Archives (USA) will hold a series of genealogy-related programs in June at both Archives I ( Washington DC) and Archives II (College Park, MD). The programs will highlight records from its holdings. The programs are free and open to the public. For those living in or visiting the Greater Washington DC area in June this is a wonderful opportunity!

The programs start on June 1st with an Introduction to Genealogy and continue throughout the month with topics including: Lafayette: Lessons in Leadership from the Idealist General; Department of State Records, National Archives National Declassification Center, Beyond the Basics: Researching the 1940 Census; Help: I'm Stuck!; Online Resources: Military Casualty Records on Access to Archival Database and more!

To see the full list of programs and a write-up on each program go to:
http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2011/nr11-129.html
In addition the National Archives has posted some of the materials from their genealogy fair: Become Your Family Detective that was held in April 2-21, 2011.
They may be accessed at:
http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/know-your-records/genealogy-fair/2011/handouts/

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) Federal Courts Working With National Archives to Reduce Judicial Record Storage Costs

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The US federal judiciary is working with the National Archives and Records Administration to reduce the costs of storing court records--estimated to save $35 million over the next 15 years... Justices are being asked to make certain that historically significant case documents are retained. To read more go to:
http://tinyurl.com/3wl38s7
original url:
http://www.uscourts.gov/News/NewsView/11-05-16/Federal_Courts_Saving_History_While_Saving_Money.aspx

Thank you to Stephanie Weiner, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee member for bringing this to our attention.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Dispute Over Chabad Archive Lead Russia to Stop Art Loans

Posted by:Jan Meisels Allen

For decades there has been a dispute between Russia and the Chabad over holy texts collected for centuries by influential rabbis and seized by the Soviet Union. The Schneerson Collection is comprised of two distinct sets: the "Library," which was seized by Russia's Bolshevik government during the October Revolution of 1917; and the "Archive," which scholars say was "twice plundered" because it was looted by the Nazis in 1939 and then taken by the Red Army to the Soviet Union in 1945 as "trophy" documents.

Other documents taken by Soviet trophy brigades from the Nazis that could help to reconstruct how Jews lived before and during the Holocaust have not been returned, as demonstrated by the newly published English-language guide to collections at the Russian State Military Archive, "Nazi-Looted Jewish Archives in Moscow." The book, which includes a description of the Schneerson texts captured during World War II, was published in association with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Jewish Theological Seminary, with funding for the research coming from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. (See:
http://tinyurl.com/3esj5yx
original url:
http://www.ushmm.org/research/center/publications/details.php?content=2011-03)

Russia has already frozen art loans to major American institutions, fearing that its cultural property could be seized after the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement won a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2010 compelling the return of its texts.

To read more go to: http://yhoo.it/lhs99d
original url:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110516/ap_on_en_ot/us_russia_jewish_archive_4

Thank you to Randy Herschaft, AP, one of the authors of the article who brought this to my attention.

I have no relationship to the book published by the USHMM on "Nazi-Looted Jewish Archives in Moscow" and is mentioned here on a one-time basis as it was referred to in the article.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Monday, May 16, 2011

Maine Legislation LD 258 Signed Into Law

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Maine Governor has signed into law LD 258 which is now PL 58 of the laws of 2011. This bill has been reported on previously to this forum. This amended the restrictions on access to vital records that was a result of the 2010 legislation enacted PL 601. In summary this bill: clarifies that informational copies of vital records are noncertified copies; shortens the time period for access to vital records; opens to inspection and allows for purchase of noncertified copies of vital records created prior to 1892; requires custodians of vital records to permit inspection of the records by a person who has a direct and legitimate interest and by a researcher engaged in genealogical research who holds a researcher identification card.

To read PL 58 (2011) see
http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/chappdfs/PUBLIC58.pdf

It becomes effective 90 days after the adjournment of the Maine Legislature--adjournment is scheduled for June 15, 2011.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Friday, May 6, 2011

Global Catalogue of Nazi Looted Art Records Published Online in World

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

On May 5th at the US National Archives in Washington DC leading national archives and museums, signed a global agreement to provide an international online catalogue of documentation on looted cultural artifacts. The project will enable families to research their losses, provenance, researchers to locate important documentation, and historians to study newly accessible materials on the history of objects taken by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. The catalogue was created through collaboration between national archives and expert organizations in Belgium, France, Germany, Ukraine, the UK and USA.

The purpose of the project is to extend public access to all records related to looted cultural artifacts by cataloguing and digitizing the archival materials and making them available through a single international web portal hosted by the US National Archives and Records Administration. To view the web portal go to: http://tinyurl.com/3hytzz4
original url:
http://www.archives.gov/research/holocaust/international-resources/index.html

A list of the international participating institutions is on the website.

The records date from 1939 to 1961 and range from seizure orders, inventories and images of looted works of art, field reports and claim forms for seized property to interrogation reports of art dealers and reports of the transfer of looted art works to neutral countries. The portal page is:
http://tinyurl.com/3s9uev7
[Original url:
http://www.archives.gov/research/holocaust/international-resources/navigate.html ]
and serves as the project's navigational hub. Each link directs users to the search interface for the finding aids and records available from each participating institution.

The Portal members plan to launch a wiki to serve as a place to share information about and research into archival resources related to Nazi-era cultural property throughout the world.

Press release from the National Archives (USA) may be found at:
http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2011/nr11-111.html

Thank you to Saul Issroff for alerting me to this agreement.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

US Archivist Appoints New Chief Information Officer

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

US Archivist, David Ferriero, announced on May 4 that he appointed Michael Wash as the new National Archives Open Government Executive/Chief Information Officer. Mr. Wash will be responsible for leading innovative projects and programs and developing information systems and tools. Prior to this appointment,for seven years Mr. Wash was the CIO of the U.S. Government Printing Office. Before joining the federal government Mr. Wash worked at Eastman Kodak Company for 26 years. To read more about this appointment go to:
http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2011/nr11-124.html

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

US Archivist Ferriero Testifies on Improving Electronic Records Preservation

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

US Archivist David Ferrerio testified on May 3, 2011 before the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. While the focus of the hearing was on "Presidential Records In the New Millennium", Archivist Ferriero's testimony touched on other items of interest to genealogists- such as electronic records. You can read his statement at:
http://oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Testimony/5-3-11_Ferriero_Testimony.pdf

Other hearing documents are available at: http://tinyurl.com/3qzkv9f
Original url:
http://oversight.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1264%3A5-3-2011-qpresidential-records-in-the-new-millenium-updating-the-presidential-records-act-a-other-federal-recordkeeping-statutes-to-improve-electronic-records-preservationq&catid=12&Itemid=20

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Footnote.com Holocaust Records Free for May

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Footnote.com has announced that their holocaust records from the US National Archives are free for the month of May. Go to:
http://go.footnote.com/holocaust_records/

These records are part of the partnership Footnote.com has with the US National Archives to digitize and place online their archival records.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vermont (USA) HB 454 on Vital Records Passes House

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The state of Vermont (USA) has legislation introduced that would affect how vital records are accessed. The bill, H 454, permits informational and certified copies. Under the current process anyone, without identification may obtain a copy of a birth or death record. If this bill is passed and signed into law it includes protections that establish who may and may not obtain certified copies of vital records and permits anyone to review an informational copy of a vital record. To prevent fraudulent use of birth of records of deceased persons, the bill requires the state department of health to match birth and death certificates. The State Department of Health advocated the changes in the process and supported the bill.

The bill passed the Vermont House of Representatives on April 26 and still has to be heard in the Senate. It has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee to be referred to the appropriate committee to be heard.

The bill may be accessed at:
http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2012/bills/House/H-454.pdf

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Canada Prepares for its 2011 Census

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The 2011 Canada census will be conducted on May 10. Canada does a census of all persons--including infants-- whose main residence is Canada every 5 years. These persons will receive a census questionnaire- which may be completed either on-line or on paper. Information will become available after 92 years--in 2103.

I have posted on this forum previously that in 2006 a change occurred, requiring Canadian's to affirmatively respond to an "informed consent" question asking the respondent if they want their information released to the public after 92 years-- the waiting time after which Canada releases their every 5-year census. Prior to 2006, the Canadian census information was released for all respondents after 92 years. In 2006 only 56% of Canadians gave an affirmative response to the informed consent question, meaning that 44% of the census information will not be released in 2098. If the question is left blank it will be counted as a "no" for release of
information. Hopefully a greater percentage will respond affirmatively in
2011.For more information go to: http://census2011.gc.ca/ccr_r000-eng.htm

Canada is also starting a new program: a National Household Survey which will be conducted 4 weeks after the census to 4.5 million households. Similar to the census, there will be a question requesting permission to release the individual information after 92 years. If there is no response to the question, it will be considered a "no" for releasing the individual information after 92 years. For more information on the National Household Survey go to: http://nhs.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm_r000-eng.htm

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Washington State (USA) HB 2033 Update

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

It was recently reported on this forum about Washington State (USA) HB 2033 which creates a new Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture which would include the State Library but not the Archives resulting in a concern about future funding for the archives. On April 6, a substitute bill was heard where inclusion of the State Library was removed from the proposed new department leaving the State Library and State Archives as they were within the state hierarchy before the bill was introduced.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

USHMM and Ancestry.com Launch World Memory Project

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com announced on May 3 that they launched the World Memory Project creating the largest online resource of information on victims of holocaust and Nazi persecution. The world memory project ( www.WorldMemoryProject.org) will recruit the public to help build the online resource for information on Jewish victims of the holocaust and the millions of non-Jews who were targeted for persecution by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Individuals world wide are encouraged to register and become a contributor. Ancestry.com contributors have already indexed over 30,000 Museum archival documents that will soon be searchable at no cost by users around the globe.

The World Memory Project will utilize proprietary software and project management donated by Ancestry.com, which hosts its own online archival project to expand its transcribed records collections. Once transcribed, the indices will be hosted exclusively on Ancestry.com and permanently free to search. The Museum will also provide copies of documents to survivors and their families at no cost. The original documentation will remain in the Museum's archival collection.

For more information see the press release available
at:http://tinyurl.com/3q3jjwk
original url:
http://corporate.ancestry.com/press/press-releases/2011/05/united-states-holocaust-memorial-museum-and-ancestry.com-launch-world-memory-project-to-create-largest-online-resource-of-information-on-victims-of-holocaust-and-nazi-persecution/
Also more about the project is posted at:
http://www.worldmemoryproject.org/pages/about-the-project/

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Holocaust Database from the JDC

The JDC has put online a new Holocaust database containing more than 500,000 names and 1000 photographs.

Click here to view the database. 

(Hat Tip: Ann Rabinowitz & Randy Herschaft)


Project Update: Yizkor Books

Posted by Lance Ackerfeld
It seems to me to be significant that this monthly report comes in conjunction with Yom Hashoa [Holocaust Day]. The Yizkor Book Project continues, throughout the year, to ensure that our loved ones and communities that were destroyed in the Holocaust are not forgotten. The wide scope of the project, as shown in this report, is certainly testimony to this fact.
Now, if it so happens that the community close to your heart doesn't appear in our Translations Index http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/translations.html
or the existing translation is only partial, and you feel you can help organizing or translating or financially supporting a project, I'm waiting to hear from you. I will certainly do what I can to see that "your"
community Yizkor Book joins the many hundreds already appearing online.
Note, that it is possible to financially support our translation projects
and we are grateful for any sum you are able to donate.
One Yizkor Book that has now been completely translated is the Sokoly Yizkor Book - and Avigdor and Laia Ben-Dov, who have behind this project for many years are to be highly commended for seeing this through to its successful completion. This month also, we have gratefully received a full translation for the Khmelnytskyy, Ukraine (Proskurov) book and the complete English version of the Ostrolenka Yizkor book and the first sections of these books have already been put online. I can also tell you that other full translations are on their way in the near future and so, as always, keep watching this space.
Also this month, I'm pleased to announce that in the last quarter, some 3,400 names have been added to the Yizkor Book necrology database at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Yizkor/  This unique database is maintained and updated by the tireless team of Max Heffler and Ernie Fine and this quarter they have added in the names from the following
communities:
  • Bivolari, Moldavia - 344
  • Derecske, Hungary - 271
  • Lukow, Poland - 173
  • Siemiatycze, Poland - 1165
  • Tluszcz, Poland - 168
  • Turiysk, Ukraine - 455
  • Zborow, Poland - 821
 And on the subject of necrologies, we continue to look for volunteers able to assist us in transliterating the many lists we have and make the lists available to the public. If you are familiar with transliterating, Excel and have some time to help out, I would more than very pleased to hear from you.

Now to the April figures. During this last month we have added these 8 newprojects:
  • Glinyany, Ukraine (In the Diaspora and in the Homeland) 
  • Kremenets', Ukraine (Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora - Booklet 3)
  • Kremenets', Ukraine (Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora - Booklet 4)
  • Kremenets', Ukraine (Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora - Booklet 14)
  • Kremenets', Ukraine (Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora - Booklet 15)
  • Lodz, Poland (Lodzer Yiskor Book)
  • Lodz, Poland (Yiddish Lodz; a Yizkor Book)
  • Ostrolenka, Poland (Book of Kehilat Ostrolenka; Yizkor Book of the Jewish Community of Ostrolenka)
Added in 22 new entries:
  • Andrychów, Poland (Memorial Book of the Communities Wadowice, Andrychow, Kalwarja, Myslenice, Sucha)
  • Joniskis, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kartena, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Katloverne, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Katautiske, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kaunotavas, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kavarskas, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kazlu-Ruda, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kazokiskes, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kazyliai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Keturvalakiai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita) 
  • Khbodky, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kiduliai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kovli, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kutrtzy, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Kvedarna, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Labanoras, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Labinava, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Laibiskes, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Lampedziai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Lanciunava, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
  • Laukeliskiai, Lithuania (Pinkas Lita)
We have continued to update 23 of our existing projects:
  • Czestochowa, Poland (The Jews of Czestochowa)
  • Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland (Book of the Jewish community of Dabrowa Gornicza and its destruction)
  • Dotnuva, Lithuania (Letters from Dotnuva)
  • Gorodets, Belarus (Horodetz; history of a town, 1142-1942)
  • Grudki, Poland (Horodok; in memory of the Jewish community)
  • Kaluszyn, Poland (The Memorial Book of Kaluszyn)[French]
  • Katowice, Poland (Katowice: the Rise and Decline of the Jewish community; Memorial Book)
  • Khmelnytskyy, Ukraine  (The destruction of Proskurov)
  • Kolbuszowa, Poland (Kolbuszowa Memorial Book)
  • Kolomyya, Ukraine (Memorial Book of Kolomey)
  • Kovel', Ukraine (Kowel; Testimony and Memorial Book of Our Destroyed Community)
  • Lenin, Belarus (The community of Lenin; memorial book)
  • Lowicz, Poland (Lowicz; a Town in Mazovia, Memorial Book)
  • Lviv, Ukraine (Lwow Volume: Part I)
  • Ostrow-Mazowiecka, Poland (Memorial Book of the Community of Ostrow-Mazowiecka)
  • Rafalovka, Ukraine (Memorial book for the towns of Old Rafalowka, New Rafalowka, Olizarka, Zoludzk and vicinity)
  • Ratno, Ukraine (Ratno; Story of a Destroyed Jewish Community)
  • Sokoly, Poland (Sokoly: In the Fight for Life)
  • Svir, Poland (Our Townlet Swir)
  • Tarnogrod, Poland  (Book of Tarnogrod; in memory of the destroyed Jewish community) 
  • Tykocin, Poland (Memorial book of Tiktin)
  • Vileyka, Belarus  (Memorial Book of the community of Vileyka)
  • Zelechow, Poland (Memorial Book of the Community of Zelechow) [Polish]
To access the Yizkor Book project, please click here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aging survivors give up precious Holocaust relics

For Yad Vashem campaign described as "race against time," thousands of survivors' personal relics are collected and preserved.


Click here to read the entire article.