Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 13, Number 29 | July 7, 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.
There will be no edition of Nu? What’s New? next weekend. I will be attending the 32nd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.
Belgian Deportation Orders Index Now Online
The index to nearly 6,500 people for whom deportation orders were issued in Belgium during the German occupation in World War II has been published online by the FelixArchief (Antwerp City Archives). It can be searched at the archives’ site—which is in Flemish—at http://zoeken.felixarchief.be/zHome/Home.aspx?id_isad=317258, but Gershon Lehrer of Antwerp has made it accessible in English at his own site. He also includes a description of the collection. His version is at http://tinyurl.com/LehrerDeportations.
This is not a list of people deported, but a list of people for whom deportation orders were issued. For example, I know of a mother/son who left Belgium for France, were arrested in Nice, sent to Drancy and then to Auschwitz to their deaths. Their names are on the list.
Information in the index includes name, date and place of birth, country of birth, and various file numbers (inventory number, file id, alien file id and access number). Married women may be shown by their unmarried name. The search engine is unusual in that it simultaneously searches all data fields. Searching for “Frankfurt” results in persons whose surname starts with “Frankfurt” as well as persons who were born in Frankfurt. Town names are in Flemish. Paris, France, is shown as Parijs.
Warsaw Jewish Museum Receives Major Donations
Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews, scheduled to open its doors in late 2013, has secured several million dollars in new donations. Jan Kulczyk, a Polish oil tycoon, announced a gift of 20 million Polish zlotys (about $6 million) earlier this week. The California-based Koret Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture has made a $7 million donation.
The museum expects to become Europe’s largest Jewish history museum and an institution that will “take its place alongside the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as one of the most important institutions of its kind.” Additional information about the contributions is at http://tinyurl.com/WarsawMuseum. The museum’s website is at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.pl/en/cms/home-page. They publish a monthly newsletter which can be subscribed to at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.pl/en/cms/newsletter.
Jewish Atlantic World Site Has 5,000 Photographs
A diverse collection of Jewish gravestones, buildings and other artifacts can be found at Jewish Atlantic World located at http://cdm.reed.edu/cdm4/jewishatlanticworld. There are more than 5,000 photographs of which 2,628 were the results of searching for “Jew.” Geographic regions include in the Caribbean: Barbados, Curaçao, Jamaica, Recife, St. Eustatius, Suriname. In Europe: England, Germany, Netherlands. In North America: Charleston, Newport, New York, Savannah. Click the “Browse” button to get an overview of the nature of the collection. A list of cemetery locations is at http://cdm.reed.edu/cdm4/jewishatlanticworld/cemetery-location.php.
Ancestry.com Now Has 2 Million Paid Subscribers
As a demonstration of the growing popularity of family history research, Ancestry.com announced it now has 2 million subscribers. The corporate announcement can be found at http://tinyurl.com/Ancestry2Million.
FamilySearch Sets a Record Too
On July 2, FamilySearch volunteers tried to achieve a goal to index and arbitrate 5 million new records. They more than doubled the figure with 10,340,879 records processed. A total of 46,091 people participated, itself a record. The complete report is at https://familysearch.org/blog/familysearch-indexers-leave-legacy-record-setting-event.
Ancestry.com Offers Free Access to Early American Records
I jokingly tell my genealogist friends with deep roots in the U.S. that to a Jewish American genealogist the Revolutionary War was the period when the Bolsheviks overthrew the czar, and the War of 1812 was Napoleon’s attempt to conquer Russia. That is because most Jewish Americans owe their heritage to Eastern Europeans who came to the United States after 1880 (after the late 1830s if you are of German Jewish heritage).
So this announcement will have value to just a few of the readers. Until July 8, Ancestry.com is offering access to “nearly 65 million carefully selected historical records from the 13 original colonies and more,” including:
• U.S. Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889–1970
• Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900
Of greater interest is their collection of Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage & Death Announcements, 1851–2003 located at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=50000.
A Panicked Subscriber
Last Thursday I received a call from a panicked Nu? What’s New? subscriber. He had linked to the MyHeritage.com site from an article in this e-zine, and accidentally switched the language to Hebrew. Not knowing the Hebrew language or alphabet, he did not know how to get back to English. Many multi-lingual sites have little flag icons that allow you to switch from one language to another, but MyHeritage.com’s site can be viewed in 38 different languages (and at least 8 alphabets) which would make their home page a bit crowded with icons. I solved his problem by going to the MyHeritage home page on my computer—which was in English—locating the language switching link, and told him to click the second word on the right at the top of the page. It did not work. Then I realized that Hebrew is written from right to left, so I told him to click the second word on the left. It opened up the window which permits switching languages.
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