Volume 8, Number 2 | January 28, 2007
Pressure Grows to Release Arolsen Records
In the past two weeks there have been conflicting stories about how quickly the records of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany, will be released. An initial report stated it could take years because of the bureaucratic plan to have all 11 nations that must sign off on the release independently approve the measure. One spokesman said it was an internal matter to each of the countries involved, and they would look with disdain at any attempt to pressure them into speeding up the process.
Now the latest statement is that there will be an unscheduled meeting shortly to determine how quickly the files can be opened to the public. The meeting will be held in March in The Hague. This will be followed two months later by the annual session of the commission that controls ITS.
It would appear that someone got concerned about the risk of delay and decided that rather than have each of the 11 countries take its time making a decision, they will meet together and come to a decision that can be approved by the ITS commission.
You can read the plans in greater detail at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070124/ap_on_re_eu/nazi_archive_1
Online Petition to Release U.K. Censuses After 70 Years
The British government is offering its citizens the opportunity to sign a petition that would reduce the census release period from 100 years to 70 years, thus making the 1911, 1921 and 1931 censuses available immediately. British citizens only can add their name to the petition at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/CensusInfoFreed/
Two Additional Israeli Burial Societies Now Have Data Online
Two additional Chevrot Kadisha (burial societies) in Israel now have online information about persons buried in Israel. Ashdod Society is at http://www.ashdod-kadisha.co.il/. The Tirat Carmel (near Haifa) is at http://www.mdt.org.il/search.asp.
Already online are sites for Petah Tikvah, Safed and Tel Aviv. Most are in Hebrew only. The Israel Genealogical Society has an up-to- date list of Chevrot Kadisha with websites at http://www.isragen.org.il/ROS/ARCHIVES/Hevra%20Kadish.html
Family Tree "Chain Letter" Started
A twist to the idea of building a family tree has been started by a new company called Geni.com. An individual places a family tree at the site including the known e-mail addresses of living persons. Geni.com then contacts these people and encourages to make additions to the tree including the e-mail addresses of people they add. The chain goes on and on. Each tree is private to the contributors to the tree.
Family members have the ability to add a profile which can be viewed by clicking their name in the tree. This helps them learn more about each other and stay in touch. Family members can also share information and work together to build profiles for common ancestors.
Additional information can be found at http://www.geni.com/company/about_us
News from the SIGs
SIGs are Special Interest Groups primarily focusing on geographic areas of ancestry. You can subscribe to their Discussion Groups at http://lyris.jewishgen.org/ListManager. A log in is required. You can link the SIG home pages from http://www.jewishgen.org. There are also more than 80 Jewish Genealogical Societies throughout the world. A list of societies can be found at http://www.iajgs.org/Member-Index.htm.
Austria-Czech. Blumen der Erinnerung (Flowers of Memory) at http://www.lettertothestars.at has a database of Austrian Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Information provided often includes date and place of birth as well as date and place of death. Its search engine is located at http://www.lettertothestars.at/suche.php. You can search by first name, last name and town of origin. Nu? What's New? previously described another site, Dokumentationsarchiv des oesterreischen widerstandes (Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance), at http://www.doew.at/english/content.html in its Vol. 3, No. 3 - February 24, 2002 edition at http://www.avotaynu.com/nu6.htm#v03n03. Either site has content not found in the other.
Gesher Galicia. In 1839, a group of Protestant ministers from Scotland went on a trip through the Holyland and Eastern Europe for the purpose of surveying the Jews in the area to determine if they were ripe for proselytization. They published their findings in a book titled Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland in 1839. The book gives insight as to how Jews lived in the various areas at that time and is good background information for the genealogist/historian. It is now available at the Google book site. Go to http://books.google.com and search for "Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry". That is sufficient to isolate the book. View the Table of Contents to find a geographic area of interest.
Two Valuable Indexes for Jewish Genealogy
There was a posting to a JewishGen Discussion Group that a person had just discovered the existence of the DOEW database of Austrian Jews murdered in the Holocaust described above. Nu? What's New? announced its existence in 2002. It reminded me that Avotaynu makes available two very valuable Jewish genealogical indexes; one for free, the other for a fee.
All back issues of Nu? What's New? are available on the Internet at http://www.avotaynu.com/nu.htm. On that page is a Google search engine that searches only the Avotaynu web site, including all back issues of Nu? What's New? The e-zine is in its eighth year of publication. We have published nearly 150 editions. Use the search engine to see if there is anything previously published that can help your research.
Avotaynu also offers all back issues of AVOTAYNU on CD-ROM. It contains all articles that have appeared in the journal from 1985 to 2005. In the past 22 years more than 2,000 articles of interest to persons tracing their Jewish family history have appeared. You can view the titles to these articles at http://www.avotaynu.com/indexsum.htm
The CD includes a powerful search engine that permits multiple word searches, Boolean (And/Or) functions, wildcard and proximity searches. This time-saving method of doing research allows searching for every occurrence of a particular town, surname, or research topic of interest in the more than 3 million words published in AVOTAYNU since 1985. Every result is displayed on the screen and a Print function allows you to print articles. If you have been a loyal AVOTAYNU subscriber for years, the CD will allow you to find those references you have missed, forgotten about, or merely scanned.
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Otto Frank Letters Found at YIVO Institute
Estelle Guzik, a past president of the Jewish Genealogical Society (New York), working as a volunteer archivist at YIVO Institute has found a set of letters written by Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank. The documents were part of the collection of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) which has its archives at YIVO.
Frank wrote the letters between April 30, 1941 and Dec. 11, 1941 (when Germany declared war on the U.S.). The Franks began their two years in hiding in an attic above his Amsterdam office in July 1942.
Additional information can be found at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1582101,00.html
A Case Study in Persistence, Patience and Networking
Three important elements of genealogical research are persistence, patience and networking. Here is a very recent example.
Those of you who are AVOTAYNU subscribers for more than a year are familiar with the story of Evelyne Haendel, the child survivor of the Holocaust, whom I helped find family and return to Judaism. Well, the saga did not end at that point. After finding maternal relatives, Evelyne and I focused on her paternal side.
Her father was born in
Just about a month ago, there was a posting to the JewishGen Discussion group
that three books identifying Jewish refugees from
asked a person in
recalled that the great-grandson of Isaac who had shown the family pictures had
also mentioned that there had been relatives who went to
is published biweekly
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