Volume 8, Number 6 | April 1, 2007
Happy Passover to all!
Dick Eastman Predicts “A New Computer Revolution Is Rising Around Us”
In his daily e-zine about American genealogy, columnist Dick Eastman predicts that we are in the midst of a computer revolution, both in genealogy and in almost all other uses of personal computers. This revolution is moving away from desktop and laptop computers for storage of records to a web-based environment. Eastman notes that the implications to genealogy is significant. It will be a trend away from personal genealogy to collaborative genealogy. Genealogists will not be creating their “islands” of genealogical research but instead will place their work on the Internet to share and collaborate with other genealogists doing similar research. What makes such an environment possible today, Eastman says, is the “explosion of hardware speeds and the widespread use of broadband Internet connections.”
Seven years ago, a company called OneGreatFamily.com started this concept as a commercial venture. They still exist today, but they have had little impact on the genealogical community, because their small size never allowed them to develop the resources to get the message out to the public and develop a site capable of handling massive amounts of data. What triggered Eastman’s excitement about this concept was that he attended the Tenth Annual Computerized Family History & Genealogy Conference held at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Now the giants of the industry, including the Mormon Church, are getting involved in collaborative genealogy. Of course, the Church’s motivation for creating such a Family Tree of the Human Race is their policy that individual Mormons can posthumously baptize any person who is related to them, no matter how distant. Having a family tree that proves we are all related means that the posthumous baptizing of Anne Frank will be “kosher” some day if her fourth cousin three-times removed converts to the Mormon faith.
You can read Eastman’s column at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/03/a_new_computer_.html
Ancestry.com Cancels Access to Their Databases at Family History Centers
Ancestry.com has cancelled access to its databases at all LDS (Mormon) Family History Centers and the Family History Library. Previously, they were offering access at no charge to the Church. In an official announcement from Ancestry.com, it was stated that the company had been operating “without a formal licensing agreement in place or any compensation from the Church,” and attempts to create a formal licensing agreement have not been successful. Because of existing contractual agreements, a select number of databases will continue to be accessible inside the Family History Center. These include the 1880, 1900 and 1920 U.S. censuses, full name indices for the British 1841–1891 censuses (England and Wales), World War I draft cards, and a few additional smaller databases.
One problem this has created is that apparently persons who own individual subscriptions to Ancestry.com will not be able to access the databases from these facilities even with their user names and passwords. This may yet be resolved by Ancestry.com.
The Ancestry.com formal announcement can be read at Dick Eastman’s e-zine site at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/03/ancestrycom_ter.html
Ancestry.com Adds Canadian Border Crossings to Site
Ancestry.com has added Canadian Border Crossings 1895–1956 to its site; more than four million entries. Many immigrants found that the cheapest way to get to the United States was to sail from Europe to Canada and then cross the border into the U.S. Others settled in Canada and subsequently entered the U.S.. The Canadian immigration ship’s lists are not easily accessible, although many are now being indexed; therefore, the border crossing lists are currently the only information available about the immigrant passage to North America.
The contents of these records varied by year. Early 20th-century records were similar to American passenger manifests and include, among other items, the person’s age, nationality, place of residence, and where the immigrant was going. Records from the 1940s and 1950s of plane and ship crossings did not show much more than an address in the U.S. and nationality. However, some crossings by car showed extensive information about individuals, including exact date and place of birth.
The Canadian Border Crossings site is at http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=1075&offerid=0%3a7858%3a0. There is also a portal to the database at the Stephen P. Morse site: http://stevemorse.org.
More Than Half of Canadians Opt-In On Release of 2006 Census Data
Statistics Canada has announced that 56 percent of Canadians agreed to allow information gathered about themselves in the 2006 census to be made available to the public in 92 years. Those who failed to answer the question were treated as a “no” response. Historians and genealogists had hoped for a 90% affirmative response. Summary findings of the 2006 census can be found at http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/070313/d070313a.htm
Computer Workshops and Film Festival Announced for Annual Conference
There will again be computer workshops and a film festival at the annual International Conference for Jewish Genealogy, which this year is being held at the Hilton hotel in Salt Lake City from July 15–20.
There will be five beginner computer workshops on the subjects of the Internet, JewishGen, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The cost for each session is $15. There will be 13 more advanced workshops on a variety of subjects; cost is $25. A compete list can be found at the conference website, http://www.slc2007.org. Click the “Breaking News” button and read the March 15 entry.
For those who feel over-lectured, there are a large number (more than ten) film viewings throughout the conference period. In April, the complete schedule will be announced on the conference website. Some of the films planned are:
"Belzec: The Documentary" - A documentary about the extermination camp where at least 600,000 Jews were murdered in less than a year.
"West Bank Story" - An Academy Award-winning short film. Israeli soldier David and Palestinian cashier Fatima are an unlikely couple who fall in love amidst the animosity of their families' dueling West Bank falafel stands. A musical comedy about the hope for peace.
"Everything Is Illuminated" - Jonathan Safran Foer visits his Jewish roots in Ukraine and finds the family that saved his grandfather from the Nazis.
Ten of the planned films are described in the March 15 “Breaking News” item at the conference website.
U.S. House of Representatives Holds Talks on ITS Records
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs recently held public meetings about accelerating the process of making available to the public the records of the International Tracing Service. A number of persons spoke, all favorable to making the records available. Notable was the testimony of Paul A. Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. His testimony can be found at http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/sha032807.htm. Shapiro will be the keynote speaker at the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Salt Lake City this July.
The testimony of various persons can be linked to from the Committee’s home page at http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/sub_europe.asp?subnav=subcommittees. Look for the activity of Wednesday, March 28, 2007: Opening of the Bad Arolsen Holocaust Archives in Germany.
Meanwhile England became the fifth of eleven countries to ratify the recommendation that the records be accessible to the public. The first four are United States, Israel, Poland and The Netherlands.
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 SIG. Police registration forms for Prague have been placed online at http://digi.nacr.cz/prihlasky. Currently there are 325,000 entries and eventually all data for the period 1850–1914 will be included. The site is in Czech, and it is necessary to use the correct Czech letters with diacritic marks. Use a word processor such as Microsoft Word to correctly form the word, and then copy and paste it into the search field. At the site, click on "hledani" (search). Key words at the search site are:
novy dotaz = new inquiry
zuzit (a zaroven) = selection (and in addition)
zuzit (nebo) = selection (or)
a zaroven = and in addition
nebo = or
prijmeni = Surname
jmeno = first name (possible middle name in the next line with "a zaroven"
in the first column and "jmeno" in the second column)
rok narozeni = year of birth
obsahuje = contains
zacina = begins
konci = ends
je roven = „=“
je vetsi = is larger „>“
je mensi = is smaller „<“
hledat = search
Hungarian SIG: Bobby Furst has placed on the Internet digital images of vital record books not filmed by the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library for certain towns in the former Hungarian Empire. They are files in Zip form that must be downloaded and unZipped. The towns and their sites are:
Stropkov, Stakcin, Trebisov, Vranov are at:
Humenne is at:
Michalovce is at:
Secovce (including index) is at:
Kiraly Helmec (including index)is at:
Manhattan Brides Index 1866–1905 Now Online
The Italian Genealogy Group has added to their index of New York City vital records a bride’s index for the borough of Manhattan 1866–1905. They are working on additional years. The index can be accessed at http://www.italiangen.org/databaselist.stm or through the Stephen P. Morse site at http://www.stevemorse.org.
Library of Congress Places Historic American Newspapers Online
The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities today announced that "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers" is debuting with more than 226,000 pages of public-domain newspapers from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia published from 1900–1910. The fully-searchable site is at http://www.loc.gov/chroniclingamerica/. Of particular interest to Jewish genealogists are the New York Sun and various newspapers from Washington, DC.
Upon retrieving the digital image of the item, the system highlights in the newspaper article the location of the key words. Right clicking the image does not permit you to save it, but pressing the print key brings up a second image which can be saved.
Over a period of approximately 20 years, the project plans to create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 from all U.S. states and territories.
Central Archives for the History of Jewish People Moves
The Central Archives for the History of Jewish People has moved back to the Givat-Ram campus of Hebrew University. Their mailing address is unchanged: P.O. Box 39007; 91390 Jerusalem, Israel. The new phone number is 972-2-6586249 and the fax number is 972-2-6535426. They are located on the university’s campus at High Tech Village 3/4. E-Mail: email@example.com. Website: http://sites.huji.ac.il/archives
Avotaynu Shipping A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries
To those who ordered A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries at the pre-publication price, we will be shipping the book in about 10 days.
The book is a comprehensive text on Jewish cemeteries, providing historic, legal, traditional and mystical information in easy-to-understand format. Included are:
• A history of Jewish burial from Abraham to the present day
• A simple course on how to read Hebrew tombstone text and dates
• A detailed explanation of Jewish tombstone symbols
• History and location of famous Jewish cemeteries and Nazi camps
• Burial sites and biographies of 260 famous Jews
• Tombstone photography, rubbing and preservation
• How to approach people who vandalize cemeteries
• Strategies to prevent destruction of cemeteries by companies and governments
• Jewish law and tradition concerning cemeteries
• Information about ancient Jewish burials
• Jewish burial customs in Israel, the Arab World and Iberia
• Use of forensic science to find burial locations
The cost of the book is $39.00 plus shipping. Additional information, including the complete Table of Contents and a sample chapter, can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/Cemeteries.htm.
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