Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 9, Number 17 | July 13, 2008

Avotaynu Books “Temporarily Out of Stock” at Amazon.com
Amazon.com has changed virtually all books published by Avotaynu to read at their site:
"Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information."

These books are all in stock at Avotaynu. Amazon.com has not ordered a book from us in about two months despite known orders made by Amazon customers.

In the previous issue of Nu? What’s New? (http://www.avotaynu.com/nu/V09N16.htm) I noted that, as a test, I ordered A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia from Amazon. In reply to a subsequent inquiry, Amazon informed me that “Sometimes, unexpected fluctuations in supply can add time to our original availability estimate. We have learned that the item ‘A Dictionary Of Jewish Surnames from Galicia’ is now back-ordered, and our supplier does not know when they will have more in stock...”

I now have received another form e-mail from Amazon asking if I still want to keep the book on back order. Their message stated:
“Still want it? We'll keep on trying. To keep your order for this item open, please click the link below. Otherwise, we'll cancel your order on August 10 2008, if we haven't located it by then... While we do our best to adhere to our delivery estimates, our inventory is constantly changing based on information we receive directly from our suppliers. Occasionally, unexpected fluctuations in supply, delays during shipping, or changes in release dates for new products will add time to our original delivery estimate.”

Amazon had requested Avotaynu to bill them for orders terms: Net 90 days. Previously our terms were cash in advance. We refused.

Meanwhile, this past week we received an order for a book we published and have in stock called Jews-Officers in the Polish Armed Forces, 1939-–1945. We recognized the company placing the order as an Amazon reseller. They sold it to their customer for $80.00. The retail price from Avotaynu is $30.00.


Theresienstadt Database at Czech Site
A database of victims of the Theresienstadt concentration camp is now available at http://www.holocaust.cz/cz2/victims/victims. It sometimes includes photos of the victims as well as copies of documents, including death records. According to Alex Calzareth, who posted a message to the Austria-Czech SIG site of JewishGen, the web site indicates that the Theresienstadt death records are copies of the records held in multiple volumes in the Czech National Archives in Prague. Most records contain the individual's birth place, occupation, citizenship, last address, address in Theresienstadt and cause of death. There are also boxes for the names of the decedent's parents and the names of relatives living in Theresienstadt, along with their address and dates of birth. Information on the individual's last marriage, such as date and place and number of children from the marriage many be included in a few cases.

Calzareth notes that much of the data about the individual is also available at the Shoah Victims Names database of Yad Vashem at http://www.yadvashem.org/wps/portal/IY_HON_Welcome.


Plans for Online Access to British Vital Records Stalls
The project to scan, digitize and index birth, death and marriage records for England and Wales from 1837 to 2006 (Digitization of Vital Events -DoVE) has stalled. In 2005, Siemens IT Solutions and Services was awarded a three year contract to undertake this project. The contract with Siemens expires at the end of July, and Siemens and the British government have mutually decided not to extend it.

Siemens has currently delivered more than 130 million records— approximately half the total number of General Register Office (GRO) records of births, deaths and marriages. Siemens has undertaken to complete the birth records (from 1837 to 1934) and death records (1837 to 1957). These are the record types most requested by members of the public applying to GRO for copies of certificates, often for the purposes of family history research. The digitized records are now being used internally by GRO to process these inquiries.

The project to produce the digitized index and make it available to the public online is dependent on the completion of DoVE. Additional information can be found at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/aboutus/lookingahead/Digitisation_of_Vital_Events.asp#0


Central Archives Wants Family Correspondence
The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem is interested in acquiring personal or family correspondence written from Eastern Europe to relatives in the United States, Israel or elsewhere, especially for the years preceding the outbreak of World War II. They will accept the original or photocopy. Contact the archives at archives@vms.huji.ac.il for additional information.

The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People was established in 1939 as a repository of records of hundreds of Jewish communities throughout the world, as well as of local, national and international Jewish organizations and the private collections of many outstanding Jewish personalities. The Archives now hold the most extensive collection of documents, pinkassim (community registers) and other records of Jewish history from the Middle Ages to the present day. Their web site is at http://sites.huji.ac.il/cahjp/


Jewishdata Information Now at WorldVitalRecords.com
Jewishdata.com has given WorldVitalRecords.com rights to access the more than 500,000 records it has extracted from hundreds of Jewish cemeteries across the United States, Canada, Germany, and Israel. The database also includes thousands of Declaration of Intention (citizenship) documents filed by Jewish immigrants as well as rare books and other records. A news release indicated the data is now available at http://worldvitalrecords.com, but searching that site indicated the data is not yet there.

Some of the more popular databases in the Jewishdata collection include Jewish cemeteries at Cypress Ave., Ridgefield, NY (100,000 images); Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY (52,000 images); Jewish cemeteries in Newark, NJ (23,000 images); Jewish Cemeteries in Montreal, Canada (23,000 images); Jewish cemeteries in Israel (14,000); Jewish cemeteries in Germany, some going back up to 700 years ago (10,000 images).

Both WorldVitalRecords.com and Jewishdata.com are fee-for-service sites. Members of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (New York) have access to the Jewishdata.com site as a benefit of membership.


Cook County (Chicago) Vital Records Service Now Online
Vital records of Cook County (Chicago) are now online at http://www.cookcountygenealogy.com/. The site provides the person’s name, date of the event and record number. For $15.00 you can download the actual record. The site provides birth records more than 75 years old, marriages more than 50 years old and death records more than 20 years old.

Stephen P. Morse has created a superior portal at his One-Step site http://stevemorse.org. It allows for a soundex search, and, in the case of marriage records, to retrieve the name of the spouse.

Free registration is required to do a search either at the Cook County site or through the Morse site. Additional information can be found at http://www.cookcountygenealogy.com/MoreInfo.aspx.


Israeli Phone Book Access Now Possible Through Morse Site
Stephen P. Morse has restored his portal to the Israeli online Bezeq telephone book. It was removed some years ago when the Israeli site added restrictions to its search requirements. The Morse site has a number of advantages for persons who are unfamiliar with the Hebrew alphabet.

1. The Morse site is entirely in English (with Hebrew translations for convenience of Hebrew-speaking users), whereas the Bezeq search form is entirely in Hebrew.

2. The Morse site permits entering the name, street, or city in Latin letters and have them transliterated into the Hebrew letters required by Bezeq.

3. The Morse site permits selecting the city from a list rather than having to type in the name of the city.

4. The Bezeq site gives the results entirely in Hebrew. The Morse site translates and transliterates the results into English as appropriate. Specifically, the first and last names in each result found are transliterated into English, and the original Hebrew spelling is displayed as well. The city in each result is translated (not transliterated) into English. And the names of the specific telecom company searched are translated into English.

5. The Bezeq site results contains links to get the phone number and map which are in Hebrew. The Morse site results page also contains these links, but they are in English.

The Morse One-Step site is at http://stevemorse.org. The Bezeq site is at http://www.b144.co.il/default.aspx?_private=0.


More About Steve Morse
Anyone who has met Steve Morse would conclude he is both brilliant and personable. We can now add “humble” to his personality traits. In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I stated that Morse once told me he “invented the PC,” and I pointed to an article in PC World that confirmed this fact.

Morse has written to me stating that he no more invented the PC than Al Gore invented the Internet. Steve objected to the word “invented.” He said “architect” was a more appropriate word. So was Morse the “architect of the PC”? Steve also objected to the word “PC.” More appropriate, he stated, would be the word “processor.” So to be PC (Politically Correct) one should say that “Stephen P. Morse was the sole architect of the 8086 processor which underlies every PC, Mac or Linux computer.” 


Annual Jewish Genealogy Trip to Salt Lake City
For the 16th consecutive year, veteran Jewish genealogists Gary Mokotoff and Eileen Polakoff will be offering a research trip to the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City from October 23-October 30, 2008. To date, more than 400 Jewish genealogists from the U.S., Canada, South America, Israel, Australia and Europe have taken advantage of this program. The group size is limited to 40 people and more than 20 alumni have already signed up.

The program offers genealogists the opportunity to spend an entire week of research at the Library under the guidance and assistance of professional genealogists who have made more than a three dozen trips to Salt Lake City. Each attendee has access to trip leaders every day except Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Library for on-site assistance and personal consultations. There is also a planned program that includes a three-hour class on day of arrival introducing the participants to the facilities and resources of the Family History Library in addition to a mid-week informal group discussion of progress and problem-solving. For those new to genealogy, a beginners’ workshop on the first morning of the trip will introduce them to the wonderful world of Hamburg immigration lists, U.S. passenger arrival lists, naturalization records and census records.

Social events include a mid-week Sunday brunch for camaraderie and discussion of successes (and failures); attendance at the Sunday morning broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; informal group dinners; and group planning parties.

Additional information can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/slctrip.htm. It includes a picture of the Class of 2007.

Help Grow the Shoah Victims’ Names Database
Yad Vashem wants volunteers who are willing to contact local institutions and individuals to grow the Shoah Victims Database whose principal documents are Pages of Testimony. With the aid of promotional materials Yad Vashem has developed, volunteers will reach out to survivors and their families and assist them in registering the names of Jews who they know were murdered in the Shoah. This will be done through synagogues, Holocaust centers, Jewish Community Centers, Jewish student organizations, senior centers and social service agencies. To volunteer send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il with the subject heading "Names Volunteer"

To submit a Page of Testimony, there is a link on the left portion of the screen from the Basic Search page at http://www.yadvashem.org/lwp/workplace/IY_HON_Welcome. Click the words “Submit Additional Names.”

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