Volume 6, Number 20 | January 22, 2006
More from Stephen P. Morse
What is probably a first on the Internet, Stephen P. Morse has linked a groom's index with a bride's index. The two New York City indexes of the Italian Genealogy Group can be accessed from the Morse site at http://www.stevemorse.org. Go to the groom's index and find a particular entry. Click on "bride" and the equivalent bride's index record appears. Note that IGG has not yet computerized the Manhattan bride's index, so it will not work for Manhattan marriages. I found a large number of cases where using the groom's name, the bride's name was not found. This seems to imply that the original bride's index is incomplete.
Morse has added a portal to the Microsoft map site at local.live.com described in the last edition of Nu? What's New? At the Morse site you can do things that are not possible from local.live.com directly. For example, you can get the images and maps based on longitude and latitude. That means you can now go to JewishGen's Shtetl Seeker site at http://www.jewishgen.org/ShtetlSeeker/ or the book Where Once We Walked, look up the longitude and latitude of a shtetl, enter it on the form, and get a satellite view of the shtetl.
News from Ancestry
This past week I was invited to Salt Lake City with 10 other genealogists to preview some of the plans of MyFamily.com, the parent company of Ancestry.com. The company also uses these sessions to receive feedback on what genealogists perceive their needs to be and in what ways they feel MyFamily.com is not fulfilling these needs. The session was quite upbeat about planned announcements for 2006.
MyFamily.com is going to give capitalism a bad name. Now that they are virtually a monopoly, they should default into the Microsoft-like mode of producing mediocre products that are full of problems and should care less about customer satisfaction. Instead, MyFamily.com is heading exactly in the opposite direction. Until recently I would describe them as a company that was trying to make a quick dollar (perhaps they were planning to have a public stock offering). Based on the meeting, their focus seems to be on customer satisfaction and quality products.
A remarkable example of this new direction is that when you subscribe to their service, you get a phone call within 24 hours from a customer specialist to find out "how it is going." If you are having problems, the specialist will devote time to walking you through the product and assist you in solving your problems. These calls could last for a half-hour or more. No, their motivation is not truth, beauty and the American way. They found that it is cost-justified by the rate of retention of customers.
Ancestry.com plans to announce shortly an every-name index to the 1910 census. When available it will mean that all the national U.S. censuses from 1790-1930 will have every-name indexes as well as images of the pages.
Ancestry.com provides free genealogical forms that can be downloaded. Typical are U.S. census forms at http://www.ancestry.com/charts/census.aspx. If you have trouble reading the columns on a census, these forms make it simple. Other forms includes Canadian and UK census forms, ancestral chart, research calendar, research extract, correspondence record, family group sheet and source summary.
For some time Ancestry.com has had the ability for users to correct spelling of names in their databases--transcription errors, birth or maiden names, and even incorrect original names. When a correction is made, both the original name and the correction are displayed in the index. Sometimes these corrections give clues as to possible misspellings of names of people you cannot locate. I recently was searching for a person named Terris and noticed a correction from Tenis. I then searched the surname Tenis for my Terris relatives.
FGS to Start a National Youth Family History Society
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is planning to found a National Youth Family History Society. The purpose is to encourage youngsters under the age of 16 to develop interest in their family's history and to assist those already involved.
Initial plans include:
* A series of lectures at the FGS annual conference to be held in Boston from August 30-September 5.
* Develop a junior version of Roots Magic software
* Develop literature to promote genealogy among young people
* FGS National Youth Awards for persons under the age of 19 who make significant contributions to a genealogical society.
Contact the project manager, Starr Campbell, at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
New Auschwitz Information Online
Yad Vashem has added to its Shoah Victims Database more than 69,000 names of people who died at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This is the database that includes Pages of Testimony. Apparently more Pages of Testimony have been added too. A friend who is looking for a breakthrough in the research of her paternal lines just found names of Holocaust victims with her surname from the town of her father's birth. They did not exist a year ago. To add to her excitement, the Pages of Testimony were submitted only a year ago, so it is likely the submitter is still alive. Most Pages were acquired by Yad Vashem 40-50 years ago and the submitters are no longer alive. The database can be linked to at http://www.yadvashem.org.
There is an extraordinary set of photographs in the book Auschwitz Album. Some of these pictures have now been placed on the Internet at http://isurvived.org/Lustig_AuschwitzAlbum.html.
Canadian Passenger Lists to Be Available in March
The National Archives Canada originally planned to start placing digitized images of passenger lists online by the end of 2005. The project has slipped to March. It will include almost every port of entry for the years 1865 to 1921. Currently there are no plans for the Archives to include a name index to these records. The Nanaimo Family History Society of British Columbia plans to index all passengers at Halifax and Quebec (Montreal is included in the Port of Quebec) from 1900 to 1921.
Pictures of Turn-of-the-20th-Century Eretz Yisrael
Remarkable pictures of Eretz Yisrael mostly from the late 19th and early 20th century can be found at http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~dhershkowitz/index2.html. They include pictures of Bethlehem, Galilee, Haifa, Hebron, Jaffa, Jericho, Jerusalem-New City, Jerusalem-Old City, Nazareth, Safed, Tel Aviv, Tiberias and many more sites. There are photos of Bedouins, Christians, Jews, Moslems, Turks and other groups.
The pictures date from 1831-1910.
Salt Lake Plaza to Be Used for Dormitories
Salt Lake City's most popular hotel for genealogists, the Salt Lake Plaza, will be partially used to house students of the Brigham Young University Business School effective March 1. Four floors, 70 of the hotel's 226 rooms, are being converted to dormitories. One of the meeting rooms will be turned into a student's lounge.
The annual Jewish Genealogical Trip to Salt Lake City will not be affected because a contract was previously made to reserve rooms. The trip this year is from October 19-26. Additional information can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/slctrip.htm.
The land on which the hotel was built is owned by the Mormon Church. Rumors were that the Church planned to demolish the hotel at the end of the lease period and replace it completely with a dormitory. Apparently a compromise was reached.
CAHJP Needs Financial Help
The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem needs additional private funding. They will have to vacate their current quarters in a few months which is going to force them to pay an additional $60,000 a year in rent and about $100,000 to move the archives and adapt their new quarters for the archives' purposes. The Ministry of Education will only cover a portion of the costs, and the rest must be raised from private contributions.
The CAHJP collection is substantial.
* 5,000 linear meters of documents, records and files
* 1,600 archives of communities, organizations and individuals
* 6,000,000 frames of microfilmed documents
* 800 lists and inventories of documents and files concerning Jews, held in other archives
* 10,000 photographs of Jewish personalities and sites
* 8,000 printed statutes, reports, leaflets, posters and handbills
* 1,000,000 newspaper clippings on various subjects
* 10,000 books and publications on Jewish history
You can learn more about the Central Archives and their collection at their web site: http://sites.huji.ac.il/archives
In the United States, tax deductible contributions may be made through P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, Inc., 317 Madison Avenue, Suite 607, New York, NY 10017.
40% of Ashkenazic Jewry Descended from Just Four Women
Just in case you were one of the few people who were not made aware through the worldwide press or genealogical discussion groups, it has been demonstrated through DNA analysis that 40 percent of Ashkenazic Jews may be descended from four women who lived about 1000 years ago. There are many versions of the story on the Internet. The Jerusalem Post version can be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1136361070927&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull.
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