Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 13, Number 13 | March 25, 2012
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.
Site Identifies Jewish Cemeteries of Lithuania
Maceva (Hebrew for “tombstone”), a non-profit Lithuanian organization, has developed a website at http://litvak-cemetery.info that identifies 272 Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania most of which are abandoned and desecrated. The primary focus of the organization is “to collect, catalogue and publicize information about these cemetery sites throughout the country. Maceva photographically documents remaining tombstones and translates all legible gravestone inscriptions.”
Clicking on the name of a particular cemetery will lead to a page that provides up to three links. “Link to IJCP” takes you to the International Jewish Cemetery Project of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies which provides additional information abut the cemetery. A “Link to Heritage” shows photographs of the cemetery, and “Digitalized” provides the detailed information including photographs of individual tombstones and names of persons buried there. Some of the completed projects are on JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry.
Working in conjunction with local municipalities, permanent memorial plaques will be installed which will provide information about the site and community. The goal is to share information regarding the site with those who now inhabit the area, especially about the history of the Jews who formerly lived in the neighborhood. Through this information sharing, Maceva seeks to gain the support of local residents to help care for these Jewish cemeteries.
Current projects include translation of gravestones from the Pabrade Jewish cemetery, translation of gravestones from the Dieveniskes Jewish cemetery, and sorting pictures from Utena Jewish cemetery.
MyHeritage.com Gets into 1940 Census Race
MyHeritage.com will be offering images and eventually a searchable name index of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census free of charge starting April 2, 2012. Thus they join Ancestry.com and a consortium of three organizations—Archives.com, FamilySearch, and Findmypast.com—to make the census available. Last year, the MyHeritage acquired the parent company of American-based FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com. The census will also be available at their sites.
As portions of their index to the census are made available by the company, it will be matched against user trees at MyHeritage.com, and there will be free, automatic alerts about 1940 census records matching their family tree. Additional information about 1940 census plans can be found at http://tinyurl.com/8x33jpg.
MyHeritage.com also preannounced two products to be available in April 2012. MyHeritage SuperSearch™, will be “the industry’s fastest and most powerful family history search engine,” and users will be able to search the 1940 U.S. Census on-the-go with a new version of the MyHeritage Mobile App for iPhone, iPad and Android to be launched during the first week of April.
MyHeritage.com is based in Israel with a U.S. office in Provo, Utah.
Finding Your Roots Season Premiere Tonight
Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a program that had a brief appearance last year on the U.S. Public Broadcasting System will be a 10-part series this year on Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS. Its theme is comparable to the popular Who Do You Think You Are series where celebrities are trying to find their family history. Professor Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
The program will feature the family histories of Kevin Bacon, Angela Buchdahl, Cory A. Booker, Geoffrey Canada, Margaret Cho, Harry Connick Jr., Robert Downey Jr., Adrian Grenier, Sanjay Gupta, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, John Legend, John Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Yasir Qadhi, Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, Ruth Simmons, Martha Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Barbara Walters, and Rick Warren.
The program’s website is at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/.
Conference Reminder: Early Registration Ends March 31
March 31 is the deadline for early-bird registration rates for the Paris conference. Afterwards, the registration cost goes up 20€ for singles or couples. Register at http://www.paris2012.eu/products.
Back Issues of Aufbau Now Online
Aufbau, a publication for German-speaking Jews, has been completely digitized and is available on the Internet. Issues from 1934–1950 were digitized by the German National Library and can be found at http://deposit.ddb.de/online/exil/exil.htm. Issues from 1951 until it stopped publication in 2004 were digitized by Leo Baeck Institute and its digitization partner, Internet Archives. They can be found at http://www.archive.org/details/aufbau. The issues are unindexed; however an index to personal names that appeared in the publication between 1941 and 2003 is available online from the Aufbau Indexing Project located at http://www.calzareth.com/aufbau/search.html. The database contains about 57,000 names.
The German National Library issues have a full-word search engine, but (if my Goggle translator interpretation is correct) currently it is not working. The Leo Baeck issues do not have search capability. Attempts to use the search ability of the browser were futile because apparently it searches all issues, which takes too much time. (I quit after a half hour.) Read the instructions for the Calzareth database before using it. The results of a search provide a link to one of a few pages that includes the name. The instructions provide hints as to how to find the name.
JewishGen Family Finder Approaches 500,000 Entries
The JewishGen Family Finder will likely reach a half-million entries some time this year and will top 100,000 contributors some time in 2013. The database identifies ancestral surnames and towns being researched by the submitter. Consequently, it links searchers with other genealogists researching the same surname, surname/town or town. JGFF is located at http://www.jewishgen.org/jgff/.
Pennsylvania Birth and Death Indexes
There is a very crude death index (1906–1961) and a birth index for 1906 only at the State of Pennsylvania site. A description and link to the two indexes is at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/public_records/20686.
Russian Veterans of World War II
Ann Rabinowitz reports on JewishGen that there is a searchable database of Russian veterans of World War II located at http://english.pobediteli.ru/. The database provides the last name, first name, and father's name as well as the date of birth.
Salt Lake City’s City Creek Center Opens
Those familiar with downtown Salt Lake City are aware that the main shopping centers were torn down a few years ago to be replaced by a new City Creek Center. The Center officially opened this past week and sports a number of well-known retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Tiffany and Coach. Their website at http://shopcitycreekcenter.com notes 18 dining facilities from McDonalds to Cheesecake Factory. A news article about the Center can be found at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/53624199-79/accessories-creek-clothing-footwear.html.csp.
The 2014 annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is planned for Salt lake City.
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/1607. This site provides links directly to the collection described. Note that announced new collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date.
Although the announcement states this week’s additions include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, Czech Republic, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and the U.S., the detailed list stops at Italy.
Australia, Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981 Added indexed records to existing collection.
Australia, Tasmania, Miscellaneous Records, 1829-1961 Added images.
Brazil, Marriages, 1730-1955 Added indexed records.
England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, 1.5 million indexed records added.
England, Marriages, 1538–1973 472,000 indexed records added.
Estonia, Population Registers, 1918-1944 New image collection.
Finland, Marriages, 1682-1892 Added indexed records.
Germany, Saxony, Bautzen, Citizen Rolls, 1496-1923 New image collection.
Germany, Württemberg, Schwäbisch Hall, Probate Records, 1803-1925 Added images.
Italy, Messina, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1820-1865, 1 million images added.
Italy, Treviso, Treviso, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1871-1941 Added images.
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