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

Volume 6, Number 19 | January 8, 2006

Happy New Year!

New Milestone for Nu? What's New?
There are now 7,000 subscribers to Nu? What's New? This e-zine was started by Avotaynu in February 2000 to provide the latest news of interest to people researching their Jewish family history. Back issues are available at http://www.avotaynu.com/nu.htm.

Speakers for International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Come from Many Countries
As many as 17 different countries will be represented by the speakers at the 26th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in New York on August 13-18, 2006. Speakers will be coming from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Some lectures include:
    "Untapped Polish Resources" and "The Ones Who Got Away: Polish Jews Who Left the Fold," by Anna Przybyszewska Drozd and Yale Reisner, director, Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogy Project, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
    "Deutsches Auswandererhaus: The German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven," by Dr. Simone Eick
    "Budapest: Hidden Library Treasures in Hungary," by András Koltai, Budapest
    "Records of Eastern European Jews in the Archives of Central Asia," by Saidjon Kurbanov, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
    "The Search for Roots of Ashkenazi Jews Outside the Pale of Settlement--the Caucasus Area," by Aaron Khatskevitch, chair, Jewish Historical Society for New Americans
    "Romaniote Greek Jewry: Insights Beneficial to Genealogical Research," by Marcia Haddad-Ikonomopoulous, museum director, Kehila Kedosha Janina Museum

These are the more exotic topics. There will more than 100 lectures on a variety of conventional topics designed to expand the attendees' knowledge of how to trace your Jewish family history.

For those who have made a serious commitment to researching their family histories, the annual conference is a must. It addition to lectures, the conference is where the various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) hold their annual meetings, where people gather for informal Birds of a Feather meetings to discuss items of mutual interest, and where people network to advance their knowledge of genealogical research.

Additional information about the conference can be found at http://www.jgsny2006.org.


Ancestry.com to Index 1911 Census of Canada
Ancestry.com plans to index the 40 million names in the 1911 census of Canada. They would not make a commitment as to when it would be available, but it is rumored that it will be in the first half of 2006. Indexing of other planned Canadian records include 1869-1907 Ontario birth registrations, 1858-1889 Ontario marriage index and 1869-1932 Ontario death records.

The fee-for-service company has now made available a U.S. Public Records Index (1984-present). It is a compilation of some 600 million public records spanning all 50 states in the United States. The actual records are accessible to the general public by contacting the appropriate agency. Each entry in this index may contain any or all of the following information: an individual's name, mailing address, telephone number and birth date or year. It is located at http://www.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?sourceid=831&dbid=8907. Stephen P. Morse has already created a portal to the site at http://www.stevemorse.org.


A Crack in the Romanian Archival Dike?
One of the few national archives that is genealogy-unfriendly is that of Romania. In the past, inquiries to the Romanian archival system have gone unanswered. The head archivist of Romania was invited to the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy held in Washington in 2003, but he canceled at the last minute. This despite the fact that many national archives are finding that genealogical inquiries are an excellent source of revenue.

A posting to the ROM-SIG Discussion Group indicates that the archives many be relenting slowly. Sorin Goldenberg of Israel reports that he requested of the Botosani regional archives the birth record of his grandfather's father and mother, born 1886 and 1890. In about a month he received a letter stating the records were found and transferred to the national archives in Bucuresti for approval. One month thereafter, the records arrived.

According to Rosanne Leeson of ROM-SIG, such success is unusual. She reports that the Botosani regional archives may be more genealogy friendly than other Romanian archives and the fact that Goldenberg gave the exact dates of birth may have helped to expedite the inquiry.


New from Stephen P. Morse
Stephen P. Morse has added a "Finding Birthdates and Related Persons" portal to his site at http://stevemorse.org. It uses http://www.privateeye.com to identify contemporary Americans giving their name, town, state, and possibly birth date and names of other members of the household.

I find such databases useful for filling in the blanks about collateral relatives who are known only by name. These sites will provide their birthday, although such information can be inaccurate. Before relying on a birth date, make sure there are a number of hits for the name that corroborate the information. By providing the names of other members of the household, it may help fill in the blanks as to names of children and spouse. Then by searching for these individuals you can pick up their birth dates.

As noted in the last issue of Nu? What's New?, it can also be useful to locate women whose married surname is unknown. If you know the woman's birth date, searching this database for any person with a specific given name born on a specific date may provide you with the married name of the woman after analyzing the results.

If you have collateral lines with whom you have little contact, use the Social Security Death Index to pick up death dates of persons and sites such as privateeye.com to acquire birth dates of these relatives.


About the United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad
The United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad is a government agency created in 1979 to preserve Jewish cemeteries, monuments and other holy sites primarily in Eastern and Central Europe. It has since expanded to be involved with non-Jewish sites too. It sees its role as one to:
* identify and report on cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe that are associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens, particularly endangered properties
* get assurances from the governments of the region that the properties will be protected and preserved.

Projects that are valuable to genealogists include surveys of all the Jewish cemeteries in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia. They have also initiated preservation projects of some Jewish cemeteries, for example, the Jewish cemeteries in the Polish towns of Karczew, Ozarow and Wyszkow. Non-Jewish projects include restoration of 28 wooden churches in Slovakia.

Their latest report is "Jewish Cemeteries, Synagogues, and Mass Grave Sites in Ukraine". It includes a list of synagogues, cemeteries, mass graves, and Holocaust memorials that were surveyed in Ukraine (listed alphabetically by oblast, then town). Contact individuals, institutions and organizations are also included.

Their web site is at http://www.heritageabroad.gov.


A Guide To Jewish Genealogy in the United Kingdom
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain has just published A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in the United Kingdom. The 144-page book includes chapters on using public records, marriage records, burial records, hospital records, Mormon Family History Centres, yizkor books, computers and the Internet, resources in London and the home counties and resources in the rest of the UK by town. Every resource facility identified has a description of the site, address and often e-mail and web site addresses. There is an extensive bibliography; many of the books relate to the Jewish presence in specific towns.

More information including price is available at http://www.jgsgb.org.uk. JGSGB has published a number of other books which are described at the Internet site.


Avotaynu Catalog
Avotaynu's 2006 catalog of books and other products will be mailed out in late January. If you wish to be added to the mailing list, complete the form at http://www.avotaynu.com/order.html.


It Isn't Genealogy but Here Is a Remarkable Map Site
Google has offered, for a number of months, Google Earth at http://earth.google.com that provides satellite photos of many of the major populated areas of the Earth. Whether it is Liege, Belgium; Niagara Falls; or Bangkok, Thailand, the site displays detail photos that are so clear you can often see cars on roads.

Bill Gates has now one-upped Google with Microsoft's "Windows Live Local" at http://local.live.com that shows sharper satellite images, but more remarkably, aerial photos of many of the areas. It currently maps only the United States and provides aerial photos for only a portion of the country.

Type "Statue of Liberty" in the "Where: address, city or other place" box, and the site displays a satellite view of Liberty Island. Then click "bird's eye" in the left portion of the screen and, voila, a closeup view of the Statue. Click N(orth), E(ast), S(outh) or W(est) and the image rotates to give a northerly, easterly, southerly or westerly view of the Statue.

Now try it with any street address in the U.S. If the "bird's eye" words do not appear, it means that particular area has not been mapped yet.

It Also Isn't Genealogy But...
Antiquarian book dealers sell out-of-print books. Sometimes recently out-of-print books can be sold at prices that are greater than the original price. An original edition of Where Once We Walked, which when available cost $69.50, sold for more than $200 prior to the availability of the revised edition. Miriam Weiner has informed me that her Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova, which is now out of print, is being offered on Biblio.com for $1,679.79! There are no used copies available at Amazon.com.


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