Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 12, Number 43 | November 6, 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
U.S. Social Security Death Index Having Its Wings Clipped
The long-term implication is unclear, but the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) will no longer use as a source protected death records provided by the individual states. Furthermore, the Social Security Administration will remove approximately 4.2 million records currently on the SSDI because those entries were made based on information from state death records. They also anticipate this will mean one million fewer records added annually unless another source is used.
The Social Security Administration stated it would continue to compile information from a variety of other sources including death reports from family members, funeral homes, hospitals, federal agencies, postal authorities and financial institutions.
The SSDI is a valuable resource for genealogists, not only as a source of birth and death dates of family members. It can also lead to locating living members of the family. In 2005, I assisted a child survivor of the Holocaust to find living members of her family by locating her uncle in the SSDI, which led to obtaining his death certificate from the location where he died, which led to the cemetery where he was buried and ultimately to finding his living children.
The announcement can be found at http://www.ntis.gov/pdf/import-change-dmf.pdf.
USHMM Collections Now of Ancestry.com
Four U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum collections are now available on Ancestry.com at no charge at http://search.ancestry.com/search/group/USHMM_Collection. The collections contain information on thousands of individuals including displaced Jewish orphans; Czech Jews deported to the Terezin concentration camp and camps in occupied Poland; and French victims of Nazi persecution.
The collections are being made available through the World Memory Project launched in May 2011. The project is recruiting the public to help build the world’s largest online resource on Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of non-Jews who were targeted for persecution by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. To date, more than 2,100 contributors from around the world have indexed in excess of 700,000 records. Anyone, anywhere can contribute to the project by simply typing information from historical records into the online database. Additional information about the project including how to participate in the extraction of records can be found at http://www.worldmemoryproject.org.
The World Memory Project utilizes proprietary software and project management donated by Ancestry.com, which hosts its own online archival project to transcribe historical records. Once Museum records are transcribed, the indices are hosted exclusively on Ancestry.com and are permanently free to search. The Museum provides copies of documents upon request at no cost. The original documentation remains in the Museum’s archival collection. The news announcement can be found at http://tinyurl.com/6mnpnl8.
At Last: A Good Roman Alphabet Israeli Telephone Lookup
A search engine for Israeli phone numbers at http://IsraelPB.com appears to do an excellent job. The Bezeq directory at http://english.b144.co.il/default.aspx yields only three Mokotov listings and no Mokotow entries. The IsraelPB.com site produced 20 Mokotovs and the identical result when searching using the original Polish spelling of Mokotow. Provided is the address and telephone number.
Ancestry.com Adds More Than 50 Million New Birth, Marriage and Death Records
Ancestry.com has added 53 new historical vital record collections to its nearly half billion U.S. vital records. The new additions encompass 23 states, include more than 50 million historical records dating from the 1600s (some of the oldest U.S. records available) through 2010 and have been made available through partnerships with state and local archives, county offices and newspapers. A complete list, by state, of the U.S. vital records available on Ancestry.com can be found at http://www.ancestry.com/vitals.
Some of the new collections include:
• Connecticut, Deaths and Burials, 1650-1934
• Maryland, Births and Christenings, 1662–1911
• New Hampshire, Death and Burial Records, 1654–1949
• New Hampshire, Marriage Records, 1637–1947
• New Jersey, Births and Christenings, 1660–1931
List of British National Archives Record Groups Online
The UK National Archives has placed a number of record groups online. Most military oriented (example: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve: Records of Service, WW1). They recently added 15,000 World War I nursing service records online. It may not be of great value to Jewish genealogists. Only one woman named Cohen and one named Levy is in the database. A complete list of record groups online can be found at http://tinyurl.com/3cmmqgq.
BillionGraves.com Now Has Jewish Burials
Last May, I reported a new website, Billiongraves.com, that is encouraging people to download its iPhone app and start clicking away at gravestones in cemeteries. The images are then uploaded to their site where anyone can transcribe the name of the deceased into their database. At that time a search for the surname “Cohen” produced no results. Today, just five months later, searching for Cohen produces 72 results. The search engine has some sort of soundex-like ability but no wild-card capability.
JewishGen Advanced Education Course: Using JewishGen for European Research
JewishGen is offering an Advanced Education Course in “Using JewishGen for European Research.” The course lasts from November 11-December 11. The course is interactive and collaborative. It is Internet oriented and focuses on finding family records in Eastern Europe.
Downloadable lessons include an overview of JewishGen; its search capabilities and component databases; Jewish customs, geography and history as they affect family research; the methodology of foreign research; Jewish European research sources; and how to hire a researcher to search for records.
Tuition is $100. Full details are at http://www.jewishgen.org/education.
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/1369.
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.
Norway Census, 1875. Added index records to existing collection.
California, County Marriages, 1850–1952. Added index records to existing collection.
Iowa, County Births, 1880–1935. New index collection.
Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1921. Added images to existing collection.
Czech Republic, Land Records 1450–1850. Added images to existing collection.
Hungary, Civil Registration, 1895–1980. Added images to existing collection.
Texas Deaths, 1977–1986 0 70,672 New image collection.
Wales, West Glamorgan, Electoral Registers, 1839–1925. New image collection.
Scottish Census Street Index Books
The ScotlandsPeople website at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ has added census street index books for the main towns and cities in Scotland for the 1841–1911 censuses. It provides the same function as the Enumeration District Finder on the Stephen P. Morse site for American censuses, that is, given a street address in a city in Scotland, determine the enumeration book that contains the census information for the location. The announcement can be found at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/Content/Help/index.aspx?r=551&2094.
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