Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy
Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 6, Number 1 | February 13, 2005

Morse Adds New Capability to Ellis Island Database Search
When the Mormon volunteers extracted the Ellis Island Database and found they could not read the initial letter of an immigrant's last name, they substituted ellipses (...) for the letter. This consigned your ancestor to oblivion because the ellisisland.org site does not permit searching with non-alphabetic characters. Stephen P. Morse has resolved the problem by permitting searches without a last name at his One-Step site, http://stevemorse.org.

The ability to find ancestors with indecipherable initial letters of the last name only works on his White or Gray Forms (not his blue form), although the ability to search with no last name works on all three.  It is very important that as much other information about the person is supplied such as the initial letters of first name, approximate age and year of arrival, gender and ethnicity. The search takes a long time and there is a risk of the Ellis Island computer timing out (canceling the request). Also consider doing the search early in the morning or late at night U.S. time.

What Do Sam Horowitz and Peying H Kim Have In Common?
One of the hot topics in the United States is the increase in outsourcing of jobs, that is, using people from other countries where labor is cheaper to accomplish tasks. Actually this has been happening in the U.S. and other countries for many years. We are moving more and more toward a global economy. I tell people that China will never declare war on the United State because they would no longer have a market for selling their goods. Maybe the solution to world peace is dependence on each other.

Outsourcing even is having an impact on genealogy. Ancestry.com could not conceivably have placed indexes to the U.S. census on the Internet if they had to pay American labor prices. Instead they use companies in Korea where labor is cheaper.

But, alas, there is a consequence. The Koreans are not that familiar with the English language, and certainly not with Eastern European geography. So if you search the 1930 census in New York State for people who were born in Korea, the first names to pop up on the screen are Sam Harowitz (sic) and Peying H Kim. Further down the page are Benjamin Rabinowitz, Morris Levy, and Wolf Shapiro. When you look at the actual census document, they in fact came from Kovno, a district/town of Lithuania. The Korean data entry operators never heard of Kovno. Being nationalistic, they stated that Sam, Ben, Morris and Wolf were born in Korea!!

Winter Issue of AVOTAYNU to the Printer
Avotaynu is making a special offer to Nu? What's New? readers who do not subscribe to our journal AVOTAYNU. If you subscribe for the 2005 year, we will include--for free--the Winter issue described here. There is a special subscription site at http://www.avotaynu.com/journalnwn.htm. If you use our regular site, the price is $7.00 higher. The offer expires February 28, 2005.

The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this week. It is always my favorite because it is our "human interest" issue. In it we publish articles about how genealogy affected people's lives in addition to our regular articles that help advance our reader's knowledge of genealogical research.

They say if you want to hold a reader's interest, make the opening sentence of your article an attention grabber. Some of the articles in this issue fill that category. Here are a few:
"Four years ago, the birth of my 12th child, added to the loss of my job because of budget cuts, left me feeling as though I was wading through mud."
"About two years ago, not long after I was seduced by the siren call of genealogy, I decided it was time to research my maternal side, having spent my initial six months of genealogical endeavor in pursuit of my paternal connections."
"A short episode illustrates how I became attached to Jewish genealogy long before I understood the meaning of the term."
Others have interesting titles such as "How I Found Out I Was Not Related to Jan Murray" and "The Ben Gurion Connection"

The most fascinating story to those who have previewed the issue is one about how Jewish genealogists with roots in Butrimonys, Lithuania, restored the town's Jewish cemetery and two Holocaust-era mass graves with the help of local populace. The graves contain the remains of more than 1,000 Jews who were shot by the special killing squads of the SS (Einsatzgruppen) as they progressed through Lithuania. It was so well written and fascinating, we devoted 12 pages to the article.

The issue is an unusually large 80 pages.

If you do not subscribe to AVOTAYNU, do it now and receive an additional issue of our quarterly for free. Go to http://www.avotaynu.com/journalnwn.htm.

Central Zionist Archives Website
The Central Zionist Archives in Israel has developed an online catalog of their holdings. It is located at http://www.zionistarchives.org.il. It includes reference to more than 220,000 files, 50,000 maps, 300,000 photographs and 3,000 posters. Images of 5,000 photographs and 100 scanned files from their collections are also available at the site.

There is a specific section for family history research located at http://www.zionistarchives.org.il/ZA/pIndexE.aspx?I=1070&Src=2. Topics covered in this section include:
  * General information on the genealogical service available at the CZA
  * Resources on legal immigration to Palestine/the State of Israel
  * Resources on illegal immigration to Palestine and Cyprus detainees
  * Database and files of the Jewish Agency’s Relatives Search Bureau
  * Resources on Youth Aliyah
  * The 1939 Jerusalem Census
  * Resources on enlistment to the British Army in WWII
  * Personal papers held at the CZA and collections of genealogists at the CZA
  * Books and newspapers sources

I had difficulty finding anything in their collection. Virtually any search argument I tried yielded no results. The words “Warsaw” and “Warszawa” gave no results in their photograph collection. I then requested all photographs from 1939 where the image was online. This produced a huge list with descriptions in Hebrew. That may be why I could not produce results. The search engine is monolingual, either Hebrew or English, mostly Hebrew. A picture of a Rabbi Goldman (in Hebrew) produce no result for “Goldman” but was retrieved with the Hebrew equivalent of “Goldman.”

CZA is the archives of the Zionist movement. Its records cover the years 1880-1970 and document the growth of the Zionist movement worldwide, the development of the Jewish Home in Palestine and various aspects of the history of the Jewish people in the last 120 years.

The Archives contains the historical records of the World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod, as well as the archives of the World Jewish Congress and various other bodies. The CZA also holds the private papers of individuals active in the Zionist movement and in the development of Palestine and Israel.

New Book: The Old Jewish Cemeteries of Newark
Avotaynu has published a new book about the cemeteries of Newark, New Jersey. Titled The Old Jewish Cemeteries in Newark, it traces the establishment of the Newark-area cemeteries from the middle of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century. Consequently, it describes the nature of the Jewish society in the area during that period. Intertwined with the description of the historical development of the various cemeteries are tales about the lives of the Jews who are buried in the different sections and the lives of their descendants. The book is unique in that it traces the history of the Jews using cemetery records, obituaries, and the memories of their descendants. Included in the book are copies of old documents and pictures.

Since there are no longer any offices for the cemeteries, readers will find very helpful the diagrams of the five cemeteries, with lists of the sections and the dates of their establishment.

Author of the book is Alice Perkins Gould whose roots are in the city. The book is 108 pages and sells for $19.00. Ordering information and the Table of Contents can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/Newark.htm.

The Latest from Ancestry.com
Boston passenger lists are the next batch of American immigration lists to be indexed by Ancestry.com. These will cover the period 1891-1943 and the company has already completed the years 1891-1907; more than one million names. They have also indexed New York City Births, 1891-1902. The indexes are accessible at http://www.ancestry.com. It is a fee-for-service site.

They are also in the process of indexing and displaying the original government index card for New York City Petitions for Naturalization, 1796-1934, in various federal, state and local courts. The years 1796-1902 are completed. Portions of later years are indexed but not linked to the images. There is an index only to federal Southern District (New York) Court, 1906-1959, at http://www.italiangen.org/southersearch.stm.

Grave Locator for Government Cemeteries in U.S.
There is an Internet site where you can search for burial locations of veterans and their dependents in U.S. Veterans Administration national cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries and various other Department of Interior and military cemeteries. It is located at http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/j2ee/servlet/NGL_v1. A successful search provides the following information about the deceased: date of birth; date of death; date of interment; burial location; address and phone number of cemetery; and, in the case of military personnel or relative, rank and branch of service.

Group Trip to Lithuania 
Every year, for the past eleven years, Howard Margol of Atlanta, Georgia, has taken a group of genealogists to Lithuania for more than a week of research and touring of the country. This year it will be held from June 28 to July 7. The trip includes visits to the various archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sightseeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl or shtetlach of interest. Margol is a former president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and active in growing access to Lithuanian Jewish records. He is on a first-name basis with the heads of the various archives. For details and a full itinerary of the trip, contact Margol at homargol@aol.com.

Comments of Articles in the Last Issue of Nu? What's New?
In the last issue, I identified a site that contained genealogical information about more than 170,000 individuals, mostly Dutch. I received e-mail from two organizations who stated that the author of the site, Levie Kanes, got much of this information from websites of other Dutch genealogists without their consent. This was stated by Ben Noach of the Genealogical Department of the Center for Research on Dutch Jewry and Reinier and Dirkje Bobbe of the Netherlands of the Center for Research. The website of the Dutch Jewish Genealogical Data Base (DJGDB) can be found at http://dutchjewry.huji.ac.il/maineng/upload/genealogy/main.html. There is also an In Memoriam database at http://dutchjewry.huji.ac.il/maineng/upload/remember/main.html

In the last issue, I noted that Ancestry.com has passenger arrival records for Galveston, Texas. Stephen P. Morse notes these records are also available free at the Texas Seaport Museum website at http://tsm.pearland.com/ The years covered are 1844 to 1944 (with some gaps due to a fire). Morse has a One-Step front end for this list at http://www.stevemorse.org/.

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