Gary Mokotoff, EditorVolume 12, Number 39 | October 2, 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.
Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at http://www.avotaynu.com/nu.htm
Jewish Cemetery Restoration Projects in Eastern Europe
There are many projects which involved a group of individuals working toward restoring the Jewish cemetery in a town in Eastern Europe. Two organizations are attacking the problem at the country rather than a town level.
Lithuanian Jewish Heritage Project is working with the Lithuanian government to restore Jewish cemeteries in that country. Their goal is to bring together students from North America and Western Europe with youths from Eastern Europe to restore Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. They plan to map and index cemeteries; add plantings to the property; recover, clean and reset fallen tombstones; and erect commemorative monuments. Annual upkeep of the cemetery by local residents will create community involvement over the years. Additional information about the group is at http://ljhp.wordpress.com.
Poland Jewish Communities Restoration Project (PJCRP) has similar goals, in this case, to involve the youths of Germany and Poland in the restoration of some 1400 cemeteries and fencing of mass graves in Poland. They have already restored and rededicated cemeteries in Losice, Ozarow, Tarlow and Wachock. Recently they met with the mayor of Polaniec who has made the commitment that the town would fund the restoration of the Jewish cemetery there. PJCRP claims this is the first time that a town in Poland has ever funded restoration of their Jewish cemetery. Their website is at http://www.pjcrp.org/menu_eng.html.
Dead Sea Scrolls Online
Google, the company, has made a number of significant contributions to Jewish causes. One of the cofounders of Google, Sergey Brin, who is Jewish, may be behind these efforts. In 2009, he personally gave $1 million to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), an organization that has assisted, for more than 100 years, Jewish immigrants to relocate in the U.S. Brin emigrated from Russia when he was six years old. After the donation, HIAS created a slogan “If it were not for HIAS, there might be no Google.”
Last year, Google partnered with Yad Vashem to make available 130,000 photos and documents in the possession of Yad Vashem. (See Nu? What’s New? Volume 12, Number 4 – January 30, 2011.)
Now Google has partnered with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to place the Dead Sea Scrolls online. Five of the scrolls have been digitized so far. They are the Great Isaiah Scroll, Community Rule Scroll, Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, Temple Scroll, and the War Scroll, These scrolls can be magnified so that users may examine texts in detail. It also includes an English-language translation as you place your mouse over a portion of the test. Information about the project is at http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/.
FindMyPast.com Adds Prison Records to Manchester Collection
FindMyPast.com has added prison registers spanning 1847–1881 to its Manchester collection. This group of records also includes industrial school admission and discharge registers, ca.1866–1912, school admission registers ca.1870–1916, apprentice records ranging from 1700–1849, baptism and birth registers covering 1734–1920, cemetery and death records for 1750–1968, marriage registers covering 1734–1808 and finally, workhouse registers, which include admission registers, creed registers and discharge registers.
FindMyPast.com is a UK family history company that now offers access to more than 750 million records dating as far back as 1200.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Below are the only additions of images and/or indexes to FamilySearch that I have concluded may be of interest to Jewish genealogists. The complete list can be found at https://familysearch.org/node/1354.
To search indexes, use the search engine at https://www.familysearch.org. To view images, go to the same web page and then click the appropriate “Browse by Location.” Narrow it down to the country or state and then click the appropriate record collection.
Australia, Tasmania, Miscellaneous Records, 1800–2000 New image collection
Czech Republic, Censuses 1843–1921 Added images
Estonia, Petseri County, Surname Register Cards 1921–1923 New image collection
South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951–2004 Added images
U.S., California, San Mateo County Records, 1856–1967 Added images
U.S., Idaho, Cassia County Records, 1879–1960 Added images
U.S., Illinois, Probate Records, 1819–1970 Added images
U.S., Minnesota, County Birth Records, 1863–1983 Added images
U.S., Mississippi State Archives, Various Records, 1820–1951 Added images
U.S., Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files, 1813–1900 Added images
U.S., Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848–1935 Added images
Canada Gazette (1841–1997) Now Online
Library and Archives Canada has made issues of the Canada Gazette (1841–1997) available at its website. Often referred to as the official newspaper of the Government of Canada, the Canada Gazette has been an important instrument in the Canadian democratic process for 170 years. It has informed Canadians of the operations of government and encouraged them to participate in the legislative process. Additional information about the project as well as access to the search engine can be found at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/canada-gazette/index-e.html.
ProQuest Adds Jewish Newspapers to Its Collection
ProQuest has added two Jewish newspapers to its collection which it claims is the world's largest digital newspaper archive. They are the Jewish Advocate (1905–1990) of Boston and the American Hebrew & Jewish Messenger (1857–?) of New York. Later this year, the company will begin adding the Jewish Exponent (1887–1990) and Jerusalem Post (1932–1988). The collection is only available through libraries that subscribe to the ProQuest service. For more information about the Jewish newspapers, see http://www.proquest.com/en-US/aboutus/pressroom/11/20110927.shtml.
GenealogyBank.com, who claims to be the largest and fastest-growing provider of newspapers for family history research, has added more than 134 million newspaper articles this month. Its newspaper collection now contains over one billion genealogy records encompassing the years 1690 to the present day. The U.S. newspaper archives collection now offers over 5,700 newspapers from small towns and big cities in all 50 states to search for family history. A list of newspapers by state can be found at http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/newspapers/sourcelist.
Biggest and Best
Claims by companies that they are the biggest or the best reminds me of the story of the three tailors who had stores on the same block. They were so highly competitive that one tailor finally placed a sign in his window that stated “Best tailoring in the neighborhood.” The second tailor countered a few days later with a sign that said “Best tailoring in the city.” The third tailored pondered the problem and finally placed a sign in his window that said “Best tailoring on the block.”
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