Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Heritage Assists In Restoration of Stolen Property Lost in Holocaust

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen



Many descendants and survivors of the holocaust have listed their names with the Claims Conference [Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, a private New York-based organization that works to secure restitution for survivors and their heirs] . However, not all knew about this or did not think it was relevant to them.  A new twist on how people are being found, is from Israel-based social media genealogy company, MyHeritage.  MyHeritage is using the Internet to help match property stolen by the Nazis to heirs of the victims.  Behind the new push to use social media to help people to make restitution claims has been Gilad Japhet, CEO and founder My Heritage, A few months back, Japhet read a report about the Claims Conference's list of over 40,000 buildings, stores and factories that could not be matched with their original owners. Japhet matched some names on the list to the millions of names that users had posted on MyHeritage's family trees online. Japhet put together a team of five employees and had them write a computer program that automatically matches the names on the Claims Conference's list with those on the virtual family trees. So far, they have been able to match about 150 names on the list with names on the family trees.

Descendants can come forward to claim their family's assets until the end of 2014 if they find their original property on a recently released list by the Claims Conference, called the Late Applicants Fund.  Due to the aging of holocaust survivors many have died and with them much of the information that might have been needed for descendants to make a claim.  As the records become digitized they may find more families to make claims.

MyHeritage is doing this as a “mitzvah” and does not expect or desire any compensation for finding the people or any part of the restitution.

To read more about the story go to: http://tinyurl.com/ktap9ud


Thank you to Randy Hershaft, AP researcher who contributed to the story for alerting us to this story.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


 



[Turkey] JDC Archives Places Istanbul 1937-1949 Collection On Line

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen



The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee [JDC] Archives Istanbul Collection, placed on their website, documents from  JDC’s work from Turkey during and after World War II. This collection,  comprises over 47,000 pages on 14 microfilm reels and chronicles JDC work in Turkey from 1937-1949.  The collection is from the JDC’s Jerusalem office.  The records testify to JDC’s efforts to move the planning of rescue and relief operations to neutral countries such as Turkey.  The digitized records include: lists of survivors,  a list of deportees such an example is from a camp in Austria, correspondence with Jewish communities throughout Turkey, Romania, and Palestine,  documents regarding shipments of food packages to concentration camps such as Theresienstadt and Bergen-Belsen-an example is a post card from Rabbi Leo Baeck in Theresientadt acknowledging a package; cables and news releases; eyewitness accounts and more.   To read the release go to: http://tinyurl.com/mg7okk3
Original url:

To browse the collection go to : http://tinyurl.com/ltc5rg2


To view an actual record for example, click on the icon to the left of the title and the record appears.

Thank you to Rand Fishbein, Ph.D. Vice Chair, JewishGen Board of Governors for alerting us to this new resource.


Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

[Canada] 1842 Canada East and 1842 Canada West Censuses Released

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen
 

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced they have released the 1842 Canada East and 1842 West censuses.  To determine parliamentary representation in the first half of the 19th century a series of censuses were conducted. When the Union was created Canada West (present-day Ontario) and Canada East (present-day Quebec) legislators agreed in September 1841 to conduct a census to be completed by February 1, 1842.

The Canada East census was not a success and was redone in 1844 but only the 1842 census was preserved.  To read more about the Canada East census go to: http://tinyurl.com/pennpq8 Original url: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1842-Canada-East/Pages/about-census.aspx
A pre-printed form was used with headings written in French. LAC has English headings on the Canada West forms

Not all returns survived from the Canada West census. There were 17 census districts, divided into sub-districts. The returns for eight districts and 51 sub-districts have been preserved and are accessible through the LAC research tool. To read more about the Canada West census go to: http://tinyurl.com/ocbuhlt Original url: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1842-canada-west/Pages/about-census.aspx

There is still nothing posted on the LAC website about when they will release the 1921 census which was due out in June of this year.


Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


[Ireland] General Register Office Prepared to Email 'Research Copies' of BMD Certificates

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen



For those researching Ireland B,M,D, records after the commencement of civil registration in 1864 may find this of interest.  The General Register Office [GRO]  in Roscommon http://www.groireland.ie/about_us.htm announced it is now prepared to email 'research copies' of BMD certificates instead of sending photocopies through the post - the cost is 4€.  For those not located in Ireland this may be more convenient than sending it through the mail.  The General Register Office shifted from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry for Social Protection and is  totally restructuring and updating their website. This was confirmed by GRO's Bernadette Smith via correspondence with the Irish Genealogy News blog that they have started the practice of emailing the vital records when notified that is the preferred method of obtaining the records, it is not yet posted on their website.  To read the blog discussion on this go to: http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/new-website-and-email-facilities-coming.html

This may be confusing: The Health Service Executive runs the Civil Registration Service and www.certificates.ie , an online service for the purchase of 'legal quality' B,M,D certificates.) The cost for these “legal quality” certificates is €20 .  GRO Ireland's new online presence will be aligned with the Department of Social Protection's website.

The website for searching online  Irish records is: http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/]  If you click on “Research in Ireland” and then “What Is Available”, under Church records http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/irish-records-what-is-available/church-records they have a link for Jewish records at http://www.irishjewishroots.com/  This is not part of the General Register Office but an independent organization.

Thank you to Peter Calver and the Lost Cousins Newsletter for alerting us to this new service of emailing research copies of vital records.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

[USA] New Bi-partisan Bill HR 2720 Introduced Limiting Access to the Death Master File-SSDI

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen



While we thought Congress was not currently focusing directly on the Death Master File (DMF) and the commercial version known as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)—that changed on July 18 when HR 2720 was introduced by House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) and the ranking member, Xavier Becarra (D-CA).  The bill is named for a child who died --Alexis Agin Identity Theft Protection Act of 2013.  Named after a deceased child victim of identity fraud, the legislation would end the required publication of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) DMF.  The DMF is a publicly-available extract of certain death information in the SSA’s records, including the deceased individual’s Social Security number, first name, last name, date of birth and date of death.  The deceased’s father testified  last year at a hearing before Congressman Johnson’s Subcommittee that his deceased daughter’s Social Security number was fraudulently used when someone-not he as  parent-- applied for a tax return using the child’s Social Security number.  The father, an attorney in Virginia, has testified that he believes his daughter’s Social Security Number was obtained from a genealogy website that had the SSDI available for all to see.  Many question whether that was the source or someone in a medical setting who fraudulently used or sold the number as his testimony indicated that several parents whose children were treated for the same medical condition and had died, had their deceased’s child’s Social Security number violated.

The bill would mandate that, starting January 2014, only death information older than three years would be made publicly available by the Social Security Administration through the DMF, which will prevent criminals from filing fraudulent tax returns before the legitimate family files its return.  The DMF would continue to be available to entities who need the information to administer benefits or prevent fraud, so long as they have safeguards in place to protect the data. The bill would end all public release of the DMF by the Social Security Administration on January 1, 2019.

While the genealogical community has proposed a compromise last year where the majority of genealogists can wait 2-3 years we advocated exemptions for certain genealogists to be eligible for certification for immediate access for purposes such as tracking lost heirs, investigating family medical histories, repatriating the remains of deceased individuals to surviving relatives, and other compelling purposes;  These genealogists include: forensic genealogists, heir researchers, and those researching individual genetically inherited diseases. No such exemption is included in the bill.

The billmay be read at:


To read a bill summary prepared by Congressman Johnson’s staff, a bill analysis, and about last year’s hearings go to: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/socialsecurity/alexis-agin-identity-theft-protection-act-of-2013.htm

As of posting this notice no hearing date for HR 2720 has been set.  When a hearing date is scheduled you will be notified on this forum.

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

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


[UK] Archives Hub

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen



For those researching the United Kingdom, this is for you! The National Genealogical Society (NGS) "UpFront with NGS"  posted about a centralized resource for all UK archives called the Archives Hub  http://archiveshub.ac.uk/ .

 The Archives Hub allows the researcher to search archives across 220 institutions across the UK.  There is a search box where you place a word or phrase.  There is also a drop down box for titles and subjects or you can simply browse.  To start your search go  

The actual documents are not contained in the Archives Hub- instead a brief description of any archival material for the searched term will appear, and it will advise as to which archive has the material, a brief summary of the material and access to the material.

Archives Hub is funded by Jisc (Historically, JISC stood for Joint Information Systems Committee but over the last decade are now known as Jisc.) and is based at The University of Manchester.


Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee