Volume 6, Number 11| August 14, 2005
Second Castle Garden Database Online
If your ancestors arrived in New York before 1892, they did not land at Ellis Island in New York harbor but arrived at Castle Garden, the immigrant processing center at the southern tip of Manhattan. For some time Ancestry.com has had an index to New York arrivals from 1851-1891. Now the Battery Conservancy, a non-profit organization, has placed online a Castle Garden index to passenger arrivals from 1830-1892. It is located at http://www.castlegarden.org.
Using fairly unusual surnames, I matched the competing indexes and found neither was more comprehensive than the other. Furthermore, even when one index had more records than the other, the lesser index included persons not contained in the greater list. Examples are (Surname, Ancestry Count, CastleGarden Count):
Kleiman, 37, 25
Wolfowicz, 1, 2
Schmukler, 23, 26
Wilner, 95, 63
Where the Castle Garden database has the larger count, I confirmed they all were during the period 1851-1891. (The larger count could also have been due to the greater number of years covered.)
The Castle Garden (CG) site has an advanced search engine that is valuable for common surnames. It limits the number of hits by allowing the searcher to define a range of arrival years, gender, exact age, ship name, port of departure, country of origin, occupation and destination. Ancestry.com allows the user to qualify the search by birth year, a range of arrival years (less flexible than the Castle Garden environment), port of departure, port of arrival and gender.
The CG advanced search engine has the peculiarity that the name of the person being sought is not an option. You must first search for the surname and then use the advanced search ability to further qualify the request.
The site claims to have records through 1913. Using a fairly common name, Goldstein, their database only included names through 1897. Using 1897 as a sample, all Goldsteins who arrived that year appear in the Ellis Island database.
Enter Stephen P. Morse. Morse has created a portal to the CG site at http://www.stevemorse.org. There are a number of advantages to using this portal to the database.
- It does not have the two-step requirement to use the advanced search ability.
- It is possible to search by year of birth and age at time of arrival.
- Morse permits specifying how many hits you want at a time; the CG site always displays only 10.
- Finally, Morse allows specification of the sort sequence in which to display the results before performing the search; the CG site allows it only after displaying results. Furthermore at the CG site, it is not obvious that the sequence can be changed. Only by clicking on the heading of a particular column can the task be accomplished. It is not explained on the displayed page.
Morse has also added another feature. You can browse all the names in the database in alphabetical order. This might help locate persons whose names are misspelled beyond the initial letters of the name. After searching by name, click on the Passenger ID number of a person to start the process.
JewishGen Adds Enhanced Search Features
As a method of saying "Thank You" to the many people who support JewishGen through contributions of at least $100 per year, JewishGen has created a number of Enhance Search Features for their All Country Databases. These new features include:
- Filter searches for data updated since a specific date.
- Combined multiple search criteria, using Boolean "and/or" searches. For example, you can search for all persons whose surname sounds like "Katz" and first name Starts-With "Abr". Or you can search for family groups containing a particular set of given names, within a particular town.
- Search in the Jewish Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) Cemetery Database by given names which allows you to find tombstones which do not contain a surname
In addition, the following capabilities are available to all, including non-contributors:
- Search by a specific given name (first name), as well as surname (last name), town name, and full-text search.
- Filter searches by geographic regions and sub-regions such as guberniya or district.
- Ability to specify search criteria for each field and use a "sounds like" feature.
Other value-added services available to contributors include additional e-mail addresses for use within JewishGen and the JGFFAlert which notifies you via e-mail if someone adds a listing to the JGFF that could be a potential match to your own. More features are expected in the future.
If you use JewishGen more than a hour a week, you should express your "thank you" by contributing at least $100 (that's $2 an hour). Contributions can be made at http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/. As JewishGen grows and provides more databases and more functionality, the cost to maintain the site also grows.
Canadian 1911 Census Now Online
As a result of a recently passed law regarding access to historical censuses (reported in the last edition of Nu? What's New?), the 1911 Canadian census is now online at http://www.collectionscanada.ca/archivianet/1911/index-e.html. Library & Archives Canada (LAC) anticipated passage of the law and made the census available to the public just a few short weeks after enactment.
There is no name index. You must know the town where the person lived and search by town. For large cities, the district and subdistrict must be determined. There is extensive documentation at the site to assist in locating a particular page in the census, and if you are not very familiar with the area of interest, it is recommended that you read the documentation first.
If you cannot find the records for your area of interest, search of the LAC database of Post Offices and Postmasters. This database is located at http://www.collectionscanada.ca/archivianet/020109_e.html.
Searching Online Eastern European Directories
Logan Kleinwaks has developed search engines for ten online directories of Poland, Galicia and Romania. They are:
- 1926/1927 Poland and Danzig Business Directory
- 1928 Poland and Danzig Business Directory
- 1930 Poland and Danzig Business Directory
- 1923 Poland and Danzig Commercial Directory
- 1912 Galicia Telephone Directory
- 1901 Galicia Industry Directory
- 1925 Romania Business and Organizational Directory, Vol. I (Bucharest)
- 1924/1925 Romania Business and Organizational Directory, Vol. II (rest of Romania)
- 1938/1939 Warsaw Telephone Directory
- 1885 Posen (City) Address and Business Directory
He created the indexes by scanning the pages of the directories using OCR technology. The search can be accomplish using Regular (Exact) spelling, Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex or what he calls "OCR-Adjusted." This last search option checks for words that have a similar printed shape as the search term and, therefore, are the most likely to be mistaken for it by the OCR process. When using the Regular search, it is necessary to use the correct native spelling including diacritic marks. Thus the name Mokotow produced no hits but Mokotów produced 28 results.
The search results produced are the image's numbers on which the name appears. The search engine is located at http://www.kalter.org/search.php. The directories are online either at the Library of Congress or Digital Library of Wielkopolska. Kleinwaks provides links to the directories.
French-Jewish Libraries Develop Online Catalog
Four major French-Jewish libraries have combined resources to develop an online catalog. They are :
- La Bibliothèque de l'Alliance israélite universelle
- La Bibliothèque du Séminaire israélite de France
- La Bibliothèque Medem-Maison de la culture yiddish
- La bibliothèque musicale juive
The catalog is at http://www.rachelnet.org. The site is both in French and English.
Paris Police to Open Their Archives to Shoah Memorial Archives
The Paris Police Department has signed an agreement with the Shoah Memorial in Paris that each will share their respective archives on the occupation and collaboration during World War II. According to Serge Klarsfeld, the police archives contain "tens of thousands" of priceless documents, including arrest warrants classifying Jews by name, address, profession and nationality taken during the roundups in 1941. There are also records of the day-to-day running and accounts of the Drancy transit camp through which most of the 76,000 Jews deported from France to Nazi death camps passed; long lists of confiscated possessions; and the plans and reports relating to many other police operations, including further mass round-ups of Jews.
Next Year's International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
The 25th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy held in Las Vegas last July is now history. It was a great success. Mark your calendar for the 26th International Conference, which will be held in New York City from August 13-18. The conference hotel, the Marriott Marquis, is located in the center of the tourist district. I have heard rumors that the keynote speaker will be the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein. It will be quite an event. It is not unreasonable that more than 2,000 people will attend, so when the Jewish Genealogical Society (New York) announces that the hotel is accepting reservations, book your room early.
Ancestry.com To Make Available Every-Name Index for 1920 Census
Ancestry.com is preparing to launch the first every-name index to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. The current index only lists the heads of households and members of the household who do not have the same surname as the head of household. The formal announcement will come in Ancestry Daily News. You can subscribe to this free e-zine at http://www.ancestry.com/learn/.
Two Opportunities To Do Research in Salt Lake City
There are two opportunities to join a group to do research at the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in the next two months.
From September 7-10, the annual "Conference for the Nation's Genealogists" of the Federation of Genealogical Societies is being held in Salt Lake City. It features more than 100 lectures on various genealogical subjects and exhibits by more than 50 vendors. More than 1,000 genealogists, mostly from the U.S. and Canada, will attend the event. Additional information can be found a http://www.fgs.org.
If you did not get your Jewish genealogical "fix" at the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy held in Las Vegas in July, come join Eileen Polakoff and me on our 13th annual Jewish Genealogical Research Trip to Salt Lake City from October 27-November 3, 2005. To date, more than 300 Jewish genealogists from the U.S., Canada, South America and Europe have taken advantage of this program.
The program offers genealogists the opportunity to spend an entire week of research at the Library under the guidance and assistance of professional genealogists who have made more than two dozen trips to Salt Lake City. The program includes a specially arranged three-hour class on the day of arrival introducing the participants to the facilities and resources of the Family History Library, a mid-week informal group discussion of progress and problem-solving, and daily access to trip leaders from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Library for on-site assistance and personal consultations. For those new to genealogy, a beginners workshop on the first morning of the trip introduces them to the wonderful world of Hamburg immigration lists, U.S. passenger arrival lists, naturalization records and census records.
Additional information, including a picture of the Class of 2004, is available at http://www.avotaynu.com/slctrip.htm.
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