Gary Mokotoff, EditorVolume 12, Number 4 | January 30, 2011
Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.
Yad Vashem Wants Help from the Genealogical Community
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority located in Jerusalem, has recently partnered with Google to make available 130,000 photos and documents at http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/yadvashem.html. They would like the genealogical community to comment on any suggestions, wishes to improve the site, or problems using the site. Make your comments in the “Share Your Thoughts” section of the page.
I beta tested the site a few weeks ago. It is possible to use spelling variants of town names, but the list is not as comprehensive as that for the Shoah Victims’ Names Database. Both Warsaw and Warszawa produce results. Sniatyn, the Polish spelling of Snyatyn, Ukraine, produces results, but not Snyatyn, the contemporary name. Varsovie, the French spelling of Warsaw, yielded six results and, in one case, the result would not be found if searching for “Warsaw.” Warsaw, Warszawa, Varsovie, Sniatyn, Snyatyn are all acceptable in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database.
If you find a photo where the individuals are not identified and you can identify them, post a comment for the picture. Be explicit when identifying people. Example: “From left to right: Bronka Mokotow of Przedecz, Poland, with her maternal grandmother, Golda Rozen, and the daughter of her sister Bluma, Galila Cukierman. All died in the Holocaust. Picture appears in the Przedecz yizkor book.”
Google and Yad Vashem plan to work together throughout the coming years to continue adding to the archive. Additional information about the project can be found at http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/pressroom/pressreleases/pr_details.asp?cid=664.
A Race Against Time: Yad Vashem Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project
Yad Vashem is again making its annual appeal for its Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project. It aims to memorialize each Jew who perished in the Holocaust by recording his/her name, biographical details and photographs on special forms created by Yad Vashem, called Pages of Testimony. Two-thirds of Shoah victims—four million people—are now in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database. Of the four million names, some 2.2 million come from Pages of Testimony and the remainder from various archival sources and postwar commemoration projects. Confirm that family members who were Holocaust victims are in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database at http://www.yadvashem.org/wps/portal/IY_HON_Welcome. On the same page is a link to submit additional names.
Additional information about the status of the project can be found at http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/1223/1224286170247.html.
FamilySearch Partners with Ancestry.com and FindMyPast.com
FamilySearch, the genealogy arm of the Mormon Church, has made an agreement with Ancestry.com to make available indexes for border crossings from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. The results are free of charge. The results on Ancestry.com are only through subscription or their free trial offer. FamilySearch now has Findmypast.com’s index to the 1881 and 1891 censuses of England and Wales. At both sites the identical index information is available at no charge. The actual census image can be purchased from Findmypast.com.
FamilySearch recently added 91 million online records—19 million images and 72 million index records. They are from Brazil, England, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland (parish registers), Wales, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and from the following U.S. States: California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, New England (naturalization index), New York and Rhode Island. A detailed list can be found at http://tinyurl.com/4q9lz7r. FamilySearch is located at http://familysearch.org.
Who Do You Think You Are? Identifies First Two Celebrities
The American version of the television show Who Do You Think You Are? has announced that the first two celebrities to be featured in the 2011 season are Vanessa Williams (February 4) and Tim McGraw (February 11). The show airs on NBC on Fridays at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 Central time). Other persons to be featured in the season are Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Ashley Judd, Rosie O'Donnell, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lionel Richie. The program traces the family history of the individual. Ancestry.com is a sponsor of the program.
Ancestry.com Running Sweepstakes
In conjunction with the start of the second season of Who Do You Think You Are, Ancestry.com is running a sweepstakes whose Grand Prize includes:
• $20,000 in travel money
• Up to eight hours of consultation time with an expert genealogist
• Help from up to five experts in fields relevant to your family history to help you learn even more
• An annual Ancestry.com World Deluxe membership for you and five family members
There will also be 20 First Prize winners who will get an Ancestry.com World Deluxe membership. Enter the contest at http://www.ancestry.com/wdytya2011, then log in daily through April 8, 2011 for more chances to win.
Conference News: Super Early Bird Deadline, Hotel Reservations, Discussion Group
The 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held from August 14–19, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. Persons who register for the annual conference by January 31, will be entered in a Super Early Bird drawing whose winner will receive a free 5-night stay at the Grand Hyatt. Register for the conference at http://www.dc2011.org/index.php/register.
It is now possible to reserve a hotel room for the conference with a link at http://www.dc2011.org. Book early. In the past, some conference hotels have sold out. The Grand Hyatt website is a bit confusing. After indicating what dates you plan to stay, they offer a number of choices, the most expensive first. Scroll down the page for the $199 conference rate. Also, if you plan to come before Saturday, August 13, or will stay after Friday, August 19, the room rate is only $99. What is displayed is the Average Room Rate, which will appear as less than $199.
There is now a Discussion Group for the conference. Subscribe to receive the latest announcements. It is also possible to post messages to the Discussion Group, for example, looking for someone to share a room. To subscribe go to http://www.jewishgen.org/ListManager/members_add.asp. When prompted, log on to JewishGen and on the page titled "Subscribe to JewishGen Mailing Lists," go to the Hosted Projects section to find the 2011 DC Conference. Click “Subscribe” to join the group.
Last Chance to Subscribe to AVOTAYNU: Five Issues for the Price of Four
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