Volume 8, Number 16 | August 26, 2007
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JewishGen Integrates Access to Jewish Community Data
JewishGen has taken another step in its plans to integrate access to the hundreds of databases located at its site. This time it has created a “JewishGen Communities Database,” which unifies and links together all of JewishGen's resources for a particular community. Before the integration of databases, searching for a particular town in such databases as the JewishGen Family Finder, ShtetLinks, ShtetlSeeker, Yizkor Book Project and others required independent searches. Now, a single search for the town provides access to all the information.
An example is the result of searching for information about the town of L’viv, Ukraine. The results can be found at http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~shtetm~-1045268. It shows—and provides links to—JewishGen Family Finder, Yizkor Book Project, ShtetLinks and JOWBR (JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry). Background information about the city includes its name at various times (including district, province and country), Jewish population in 1900, a list of nearby Jewish communities and a map of the area either from MapQuest or Google. It is not necessary to know the current name of the town; the database includes a large synonym list. In the case of L’viv, searching for Lemberg, Lwow or Lvov—all previous names for the city—leads to the entry for the current name: L’viv.
A description of the JewishGen Communities Database is located at http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen/pr/2006ShtetlMaster.htm. To search for information about a particular community, go to http://www.jewishgen.org/ShtetlSeeker/ShtetlMaster.asp. On the following page, click the JewishGen icon next to the Modern Town & Country name to bring up the full description of the town.
First Shipments of ITS Records Reach Yad Vashem and USHMM
The International Tracing Service located in Bad Arolsen, Germany, has begun to ship copies of its vast Holocaust-related archives to Yad Vashem and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This includes digital copies of approximately 13.5 million pages of deportation files, arrest records, and ghetto and concentration camp documentation. Future transfers will include the ITS Central Name Index, which is scheduled for delivery in the fall.
A news release prepared by USHMM states, “The arrival of the first part of the material permits the Museum to begin the process of making the documentation searchable. Currently, only a small fraction of the massive amount of material is indexed for computer searching. With the data in the museum’s possession, technical experts can begin developing software to search the collection. To further prepare for the archive's opening, several museum researchers have recently completed two weeks of on-site training at Bad Arolsen.” The Associated Press reports that USHMM is preparing a search engine it plans to make accessible soon on the Internet. It will allow people to search through a separate, limited index of the archive and get a sense of what kind of documents exist. That index describes the documents, where they came from and where they are stored. It could provide clues about whether the information users are seeking might be there.
The complete USHMM news release can be found at http://www.ushmm.org/museum/press/archives/detail.php?category=07-general&content=2007-08-21. An Associated Press version of the events can be found at http://www.wtop.com/?nid=104&sid=1227190.
Images of Pre-War Poland Online
More than 35,000 pictures of pre-WWII Poland, many of them Jewish scenes, are available at http://www.bagnowka.com. The site was developed by Tomasz Wisniewski, a professional researcher and tour guide who lives in Bialystok. The site includes images of more than 100 pre-war Jewish cemeteries AND contemporary pictures of more than 200 Jewish cemeteries. The simplest way to access information about an ancestral town is to use the Search engine at the lower right of the home page.
Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance: Malines, Belgium
The Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance in Malines, Belgium, has an excellent Internet site at http://www.cicb.be/. It includes a description of the various record groups in their archives, photos of the internment camp and general historical data. Malines was the Belgian town from which 24,916 Jews and 351 gypsies were deported to Auschwitz. Only 1,221 survived.
Stephen P. Morse Honored by APG
Stephen P. Morse has received the “APGQ Excellence Award” from the Association of Professional Genealogists for “his exceptional articles published in APG Quarterly last year.” The articles describe his “One-Step” search tools located at http://stevemorse.org. They assist genealogists by making it easier to find their ancestors within existing large genealogical databases. The award was presented to him at the recently concluded annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
Description of Julian and Gregorian Calendars
There is an excellent description of the history of the Julian and Gregorian calendars at http://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/division2/perpetual_calendar.php. The site also proposes revising the current calendar to fix all days, weeks and months in such a way that they would never change. Such a proposal has existed for decades but has never been implemented. The author proposes that it be named the “Benedictine Perpetual Calendar” in honor of the current Pope.
Family Tree Maker 2008
Getting a jump on the calendar, Ancestry.com has announced the availability of Family Tree Maker 2008. FTM is undoubtedly the most popular genealogical software system. The company states that the 2008 version is a completely redesigned system that includes the following new features:
* Interactive Street and Satellite Maps using Microsoft Virtual Earth
* View and search any web site from within FTM
* Create biographical sketches for each ancestor
* Upload and manage image, audio, video and other media files
* Create customized, illustrated family history books through Ancestry Press
Additional information is at http://www.familytreemaker.com/
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.
German SIG. Norbert Heyeckhaus’ Jewish Cemetery Database Project now has 18,000 records. Recent additions include the cemetery of Köln Bocklemünd with some 2,200 graves. Also included are all cemeteries from the Rhein-Lahn-Kreis including Bad Ems, Balduinstein, Bornich , Braubach, Burgschwalbach, Cramberg, Dachsenhausen, Diez, Fachbach, Flacht, Fruecht, Holzappel, Kürdorf, Lahnstein, Miehlen, Nassau, Nastaetten, Niedertiefenbach, Nochern, Osterspai, Singhofen and Wasenbach. The site is located at http://www.jcdp.de/login.php
German-SIG. Ashkenaz House is an organization that “comprise[s] a separate cultural group within the framework of former European Jewry and claims the right to commemorate our families and the Jews who lived in Germany for at least a thousand years.” They have an Internet site at http://www.ashkenazhouse.org. The site includes many pictures of pre-WWII synagogues, a list of 20th-century German rabbis, and other historical information.
Clearance Sale! Jewish Personal Names: Their Origin, Derivation and Diminutive Forms
In the days before the landmark works of Alexander Beider, Avotaynu published a book by the late Rabbi Shmuel Gorr titled Jewish Personal Names: Their Origin, Derivation and Diminutive Forms. The book shows the roots of more than 1,200 Jewish given names (Beider’s book has 15,000). It shows Yiddish/Hebrew variants of a root name with their English transliteration. Footnotes explain how these variants were derived. Also presented are family names originating from personal names. The book is popular to this day because it is a concise description of many of the most common Jewish given names.
Avotaynu wants to sell our remaining stock and is making the book available—for a limited time only—for $9.95 plus shipping. The regular price is $15.00. This offer is good only until September 16, 2007. Additional information, as well as ordering information, can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/gorr.htm. At the site is a sample page from the book and a list of all given names identified in the book.
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